Technically, I've Been 52 for 10 Minutes
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The witching hour has passed. My mom and dad sent me a birthday card that brought me to happy tears. Several "happy returns of the day" emails have already arrived. I'm planning a low-key day tomorrow (which is unusual for me on my birthday, but I'm glad of it).
Birthdays have always been odd birds for me.
When I was a kid, we didn't have the money (nor did my parents probably have the energy) for a birthday party every year for each of the four siblings. I didn't know this until I was an adult (and didn't even notice it as a kid), but my parents "rotated" the birthday party thing among the four of us.
Every year, there was the birthday meal with the family (you got to pick what you wanted -- I nearly always picked corn-on-the-cob and watermelon -- and wasn't that picky about the rest), but there was only a party every fourth year (actually, every fourth year or so -- I suspect that any deviation from this pattern might have been affected by $$ on hand).
I remember my 11th birthday very well -- it was one of my party-years. I got Radio-Shack Walkie-Talkies as my "big present" (they lived in a prized shoe-box for years), and I, along with the select group of friends who were invited to the sleep-over in the big Coleman tent in the back yard that hot mid-Summer's night, scrambled through the neighborhood until sometime around 11 pm, dodging behind bushes and between buildings, clicking the "talk" button on the WTs, and whispering urgently: "I'm behind the parsonage -- Do you read me?"
As an adult, I went through a period of time where I hated my birthdays. I always seemed to want a big celebration, but I found that parties were exhausting rather than exhilirating, because I was too much of a Cancer-Cusp to fucking leave people to their own enjoyment. I spent so much time fussing over horsey-douvers and "making sure everyone was having a good time" (futile, stupid, and tiring) that I never really enjoyed the party.
On my 30th birthday, I gave up cigarettes for the first time since I'd started smoking at 15. (My partner and best friend joined me in this endeavor -- which is how I found out that it is not such a good idea to spend your birthday with two other people who are just as cranky as you are.)
Then, in my mid 30s, I discovered the joys of the nude-beach party.
This is how it goes: Hit the beach at Sauve's Island early in the morning, tell everyone where I'll be in a generalized way ("Look for us south of the bushes where all the pervs hang out"), bring all the shit that I need to enjoy the day ("Guitar? Check. Food? Check. Beverages? Check."), and leave everyone else to come and go at their leisure (or not at all), and take care of their own needs. Stay from near sunup to near sundown. Go home tired and sunburned and sated, with sand up my crack. This worked out very well for me, for a number of years.
On my 40th birthday, at said nude beach, I shaved off the hair that I'd grown down to sandy-cracked-ass-level, and went bald for about a year.
On my 50th birthday, having moved away from area of said nude beach, and lamenting lack of a such a critical commodity in my new town, my partner and friends suggested that I have a nude-beach party at our home.
We screened off our back yard entirely (thankfully, not difficult to do -- plus our neighbors to the rear at the time were both legally blind), and everyone who was invited was required to be naked thoughout the duration of the party (protection from barbecue sparks and sun/wind/rain was permitted, but body-hiding was not).
It was remarkably unremarkable (although I will say that only 11 of the 33 people invited actually attended -- not bad, really).
After the first five minutes or so, you didn't even notice that you were playing Mah-Jong in the nude. Or cooking in the nude. Or playing music in the nude. Or hugging in the nude.
It was ver' nize.
Last year, I had a dawn-to-dusk movie festival in which I showed/viewed some of my favorite films -- the schedule was posted to invited friends in advance, who dropped in throughout the day to share video goodness with me. Princess Bride, Dangerous Liaisons, Waiting for Guffman, Into the Woods, Groundhog Day, and selections from Joe vs. The Volcano and Men in Black were featured. I would have shown Magnolia, but there's only so many hours between dawn and dusk, even on Solstice. I ate my favorite food (lobster) and drank champagne.
This year, I've planned NOTHING. Nada. Zip. Zero. And that feels right somehow.
A dearly beloved friend and my one true beloved Beloved will be with me all day, and if the weather holds, we will probably fire up the grill.
I might wander downtown. And I might not. I might watch a movie. And I might not. I will definitely sleep until I'm done sleeping, and pet the cat. It's nearly certain that I will drink beer. Barring a complete catastrophe, I will also have a long, hot bath.
That looks like a very good day in the making, I think.
I was born on Summer Solstice under a full moon. An auspicious, if intense, beginning.
This year, Solstice didn't fall on my birthday, so I gathered for ceremony today and ritually released what I want to be complete with, and embraced the What Next for the coming season.
I'm feeling centered, and calm, and pleasantly tired from all the work I've been doing lately. I've been slowly typing away on this entry, and now, technically, I've been 52 for one hour and ten minutes, so I'll close with this:
"I'm behind the parsonage. Do you read me?"
Posted byPortlyDyke at 1:10 AM