I Am 29
I am actually having a party this year. Well, not a party as in cheesy decorations and pointy caps (at least, I hope those things aren't involved; if they are, I will use my rights as birthday girl to filch two pointy hats for myself and make them into a pointy bra). But we are going over to my parent's for supper; Dad's making Italian for me, and I am not allowed to bring anything. Not even ice cream! There will be an ice cream cake that I will not be involved in making. *angst* And then everyone will sing "Happy Birthday" and "Sto Lat." The last time everyone was up our house for supper, my grandmother-in-law lamented that we always have parties and sing "Sto Lat" for everyone but me. (And I am the most boisterous singer of "Sto Lat" except for Mom-Mom herself!) So that's how this came to pass.
When I was a kid, Maryland schools still started back after Labor Day, so my birthday always fell in the first week or two of school, and the classroom volunteers never had the birthday parties organized by that time, so alone of my classmates, I never got a classroom birthday party. (I know. Don't you feel sorry for me?) Even the kids with birthdays over the summer got a collective party at the end of the year. I don't recall ever missing it or even being aware of any sort of unfairness in that, but then my self-esteem was dragging in the mud for the first half of my life anyway, and I probably just thought it was the natural order of things.
My parents had a birthday party for me when I was, I think, two. I remember it only because the remnants of the blue balloons they'd put up hung on the wall in the garage for years. And there were photos of me being passed around by the various then-employees of The Piece who by and large made up the guest list. Then I had a birthday party in middle school--the end of 8th grade, maybe? The one time in my life when I had a solid core of girlfriends, all writers and creative types. I remember it mostly because I was a new vegetarian and didn't want meat to be served, but my parents ordered pepperoni pizza anyway. When I turned 16, I think, my inlaws had a cake and pointy hat for me, which I remember because there are pictures of me making ridiculous faces while wearing it.
When I turned 18, Tropical Storm Floyd hit Maryland (so 11 years ago, exactly, on this day!) We lost power early in the day, and I remember laying on the floor in my parents' old family room ("old" because they've since had an addition on the house, and it looks nothing like the house I grew up in) doing a matrix puzzle from the UMBC newspaper, The Retriever Weekly. We went to Olive Garden for supper after the storm passed because we had no power, and we wouldn't get power back for eight days. Flushing the toilet with water brought in from the pool through a hose passed through the basement window remains one of my life's weirder moments!
When I turned 21, one of my friends from The Piece (where I was working by that time, carrying on the old family tradition) took me out to Power Plant Live in Baltimore. So yes, I have been to a nightclub in my life. A couple of times actually, all experiences I'm not keen to repeat. A guy asked if he could buy pot from me. Well, no, because I don't use the stuff, and he was also clearly a narc. My friend credited the fact that I always look "bohemian" for why he approached me out of the blue like that. Some things don't change at least! Anyway, I was cajoled into trying a shot called a Snake Bite that was supposed to be very potent and, of course, I liked the taste of it and would have probably drank a whole glass of the stuff. Which would not have been a good idea. My tastebuds are wonky and don't care for sweet foods but love things that are bitter. I would not have survived very long in the wild because I would have happily munched on all of the poisonous plants.
In subsequent years, Bobby always took care of me on my birthday. We're not showy people, so never a lot, but enough. :) He made a special supper or sometimes we went out, and he usually brought home flowers that I kept around even after they'd been brown for a week because I could never bear to throw them away. (Then, one day, I would come into the room and find they'd been inconspicuously removed. I am less weird about that now that we compost because I think of the flowers as feeding next year's vegetables rather than moldering in a landfill.)
And that brings me to this point, embarking on the last year of the third decade of my life. It should be interesting, if nothing else!