“I Don’t Wanna Grow Up”; Tom Waits
Let me know if the YouTube isn’t available.
At some point today I will have been outside my mothers womb for exactly thirty-eight years.
I’ve always had a weird relationship with my birthday. The things we are used to doing when we’re older are taught to us when we’re younger… “Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man” and all that. I had my first real birthday party when I was eight.
I dated a woman who had her first birthday party when she was eighteen, her family had left — “escaped” in her words — the Jehovah’s Witnesses a few years previous to our connecting. She had the same basic hangups. It was interesting meeting her and first discussing our backgrounds… I grew up in a Marxist Collective, she grew up in the Witness Program and both had the same objections to Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Birthdays and generally Being Happy.
It seems to me Everyone has some issues with their birthday, even beyond the getting older parts. From what I can remember from Elementary School birthdays become very political affairs once we start noticing someone having a post-birthday glow in homeroom — no one’s quite as popular in Homeroom as the days around their birthday party… then there’s the pre-party group “I hope she invites me” toadying and the post-party selected “she invited me and not you” gloat.
I can just barely remember the first birthday party my mom put on for me after we escaped the Collective. Four or five kids I barely knew showed up to my ninth birthday with parent-wrapped board games which, until that moment, I had never played before… I don’t think I had even touched a board game until then. Probably my favourite birthday party was my thirtieth, I wrote a post about it on my Original Blog. It was pretty messed up.
Then there was, I think it was my eighteenth birthday, when my brother got the band to play Kashmir for me… that was pretty sweet.
Something I’ve Never, Ever, been good at has been remembering the dates of Other people’s birthday. They just never register. Even my own family… I wasn’t Sure about my younger (full) brother’s birth date until I was in my late teens. I’m still not sure about the dates for my three younger (two halves and a step) sisters or my step-brother. My Jehovah Girlfriend and I dated for three years and I was always confusing her birth date with someone I had dated in high school. That was never, ever, good. Especially since her experiences had the opposite effect of making her hyper-aware of anniversaries and birth dates.
Last year I invited a bunch of people over for wine, beer, cheese and nachos and during one of the conversations Birthdays came up and I remembered it was my birthday… that day.
I’m taking my birthday off this year. It’s just me, some not-Too-bad Chinese Food and the SuperBowl. We were supposed to go to Ottawa for Real Chinese Food and a Movie last night but, while I was busy being ninety minutes late meeting my parents for the ride to The City, my grandparents showed up at mom’s place and wouldn’t leave. I think they’re starting to get fed up with their Assisted Living Home.
After dinner we sat down to watch the first period of the Maple Leafs / Senators game and my grandfather started the same conversation about hockey he has been starting sporadically over the past eighteen months. Somehow I’m responsible for Every Thing wrong about the Ottawa Senators, specifically the play of centre Jason Spezza. Good times. It’s something I posted about last year on my Other Blog… which I’m in the process of starting again.
If I can get there on time we’re going to try to get to Ottawa again next weekend.