Today's the day. Ten years from today, I'll be forty. Ten years ago today I turned 20. I had just moved back home from school for the summer, was involved in the single most ridiculous romantic affair of my life (which is really saying something), and working as a telemarketer for Reader's Digest.
I guess things have improved.
I remember my 21st birthday a little better. Well, I do and I don't. I remember coming home from work and my usually aloof father giving me a MGD. I remember my two best friends coming over (neither of whom I am in touch with anymore) and taking me out to the Driftwood Inn, where many beverages were consumed and the night ended when I did the running man right off the bar. That one followed rather hilarious, if I may say so myself, artistic dance interpretation of Hendrix's Purple Haze. The next day I had to be at work, driving a truck for a local produce wholesaler. That was a very difficult day.
Since then, naturally, birthdays have been less interesting. Last year, I think I just went out to my usual place, Revolution Cafe, and sat around in the hot Texas night. I probably did the same thing the year before that. A couple years earlier, some of my fellow grad students took me out to bars like Fitzwilly's and the Dixie Chicken. Some time in my early twenties there was a group outing to a Cubs game.
But usually, birthdays are fraught with personal doom and danger. I've had my appendix taken out on my birthday. I've been dumped 3 times on my birthday. I was fired from a job once on my birthday ... by my uncle ... at the family furniture store. I've had serious bike accidents on my birthday. In general, I'm afraid of my birthday, especially this one.
We'll see how it goes, but so far all is calm. Then again, it is 10:18 AM as I type this, so there are still a bunch more hours to survive.
The transition from 20-something to 30-year-old went well. Last night I checked out the grand first screening of Ohio Citizen Action's new documentary about the problems with Mittal Steel and health effects in Tremont, Slavic Village, and other neighborhoods near the immense mill. Then it was off to Cleveland Heights, where I invented a new game for my friend's kids to play. I also invented a complicated player ranking system, rules for ranking challenges, and decided it would be best if only 2 people played the game while 1 or 2 others kept score in a formal way I invented. I also decided I was immune from rankings, as I was the inventor, the game was named after me, and it would interfere with my self-granted title as "perpetual king" of the game.
Then they went to bed and my friend and I grilled some trout and made a tasty little soup out of my City Fresh bok choy, some coconut milk, some hotter-than-anticipated chili paste, a little mustard seed, and some minced garlic. I preferred the fish. Then I went home, shortly after midnight and receiving a "Oh, it is your birthday ... Happy Birthday! .... Ooh, you are old!!!" comment. Went to sleep in my nice and chilly, recently turned on AC apartment, and woke up to write you all this.
Now I think it is off to the Tremont farmer's market, then maybe to the art walk in Little Italy for the afternoon.
4 weeks ago