Today is my birthday. For one day out of 365 and a quarter days I get to have my cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, I have a lot of wonderful friends who want to give me more cake, and as much as I appreciate the thought, effort and financial exchange, I don’t want to eat their cake too. At 49, my metabolism isn’t what it used to be.
My husband Tom asked me what I wanted for my birthday. “Your homemade jambalaya and a funny card,” I answered. I’ve now made it to the age where that answer doesn’t secretly mean: “And dinner at a really expensive restaurant this weekend. And something sparkly. And flowers.” I can’t afford the money or calories for the dinner, we’re not going anywhere that requires any bling, and in just two days that bouquet will be dead and stinky. However I will probably give my husband the pseudo-silent treatment if that funny card is something lame like a zany cat hanging upside down.
My kids asked me what I wanted for my birthday. For a few years now, I’ve been giving them the same answer: “I want you to be really REALLY nice to me all day.” Too bad this isn’t the kind of gift that just keeps giving. But it’s still what I wish for every year when I blow out my candles.
I have friends who want to buy me gifts, and I try to nix that one before it pops out of their well-meaning mouths. Here are my reasons:
1. I’m trying to get rid of the crap I already have. I don’t need new crap to add to it (not to say that your gift is crap, but frankly the formula is: GIFT + TIME = CRAP).
2. If you give me something, I will feel inclined to buy something on your birthday, and I’m pretty broke. It’ll probably be something from the Dollar Tree in the line of that lame and zany cat hanging upside down and it will immediately fall into your crap category. Let’s just not do that dance.
3. If you buy me something, I will have to send you a thank you card. That means $3.95 plus tax for the card and the 44 cent stamp, and that’s about the price of a venti café mocha from Starbucks, which I can’t afford. There’s also the time to drive over to the drug store, park, pick out something better than a lame and zany cat hanging upside down, and then the real clincher – trying to think of something funny to say on it when I’ve already used up my funny trying to write this damn blog.
For the three previous years, between work and getting my MLS, I was very VERY busy on my birthday. So busy that I didn’t answer the phone or look at one email. Throughout the day I heard various slightly off-key voices singing: “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Cathy. Happy birthday to you.” I didn’t want to take the time to figure out how to turn the volume down, so I just put a pillow over the answering machine. No offense to any of you who sang to me last year. I wasn’t talking to you. Your voice is lovely.
It took me over a week to get to the emails, and I don’t think I even answered them. I believe I was just visualizing a virtual high-five as a response. The Facebook messages were long gone out of the Facebooksphere by the time I read them. I felt like a very bad friend.
This year I’m answering the phone (and unfortunately hearing the entire happy birthday tune without the ability to fast-forward), glancing at emails and reading my Facebook responses. Although I’m still very busy this year (rather than very VERY busy) it is a high quality problem to have a lack of time to read birthday wishes from your friends. I am lucky to have so many great friends, or at least people who claim to be my friend on Facebook.
My good friend Lisa just popped over with some flowers and a card. Fortunately the card has a pair of Renaissance angels instead of a lame and zany cat hanging upside down. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the flowers will be dead and stinky in a couple of days, and she could have got herself two Starbucks venti café mochas for the price.
I think I’d better not inform my good friend Lisa about my latest blog.