In case you were curious, having a birthday on a holiday is not much fun.
I get the occasional super-optimistic type who thinks a Halloween birthday is rad. Their eyes light up with vicarious excitement: You! You are the gatekeeper. It’s as if they think this accident of nature gives me carnival director privileges over Halloween festivities; that rainbow colored goats and winged midget ponies will ride to frolic before me, followed by costumed revelers. Where da party at? they will ask.
But I’ve learned over the years, that in spite everyone’s intentions, including my own, “my” day inevitably becomes upstaged by Halloween day. My birthday cheers comes late, and as an afterthought:
A) Years of repeated failure have dimmed my expectations. As a kid, we learned to do my birthday party the week before, because day of, no one would show up.
B) The whole idea of celebrating the day you were born is fairly idiotic. I’m older today, ARRG! Panic attacks and OCD fits seem more appropriate than gifts and cake.
C) I work in a restaurant; I’m expected to be a birthday celebration robot night after night. Yes, people genuinely expect strangers to make them feel special on their birthdays because their friends suck at it. Oh and the birthday song? I don’t want to hear that shit ever.
D) I adore Halloween. It is after all, silly dress-up playtime for adults‒ kind of amazing. At least I’m giving up my birthday to a cool holiday.
When I was younger, to keep the nagging expectation thing at bay, I used channel my energy into having memorable Halloweens. One of my favorites was when my roommate and I dressed up as Bill and Ted, complete with a cardboard box phone booth. We walked across campus to downtown inside our phone booth box‒with more than a few people calling out how “excellent” we looked, of course. Somehow we got the phone booth past the bouncers and into the packed bar, where we parked it in the corner.
Yet as always, our mischief certainly didn’t aid my goal in getting birthday love. Dressing as a dude (the Keanu half of the equation), in a cheap wig and ugly thrift store vest, wasn’t exactly the way to gain attention, particularly the male kind, at the bar. After all, the phone booth was more stylin’ than my costume was:
This year, I was even more upstaged than normal. It was another event that came in orange and black, ironically: the Giants World Series victory parade. We figured, why not be a part of history and hop on that boat? I had my camera loaded up and ready to go, hoping to get some shots of funny outfits and fan antics. Yet as a million other people had the same idea, getting in to the city proved far too challenging. As we were sitting in traffic I had an epiphany: it’s my mother *&#%@ birthday. The last thing I wanted to do was be sitting in traffic. In fact I didn’t really feel like doing anything.
We went to breakfast instead. I’m rarely up before 10 am so this was something fun for me. I had in front of me a big plate of eggs, sautéed spinach, tomatoes, potatoes and a biscuit (oh boy! the naughty stuff).
“We fail,” LC said, looking dejected. He unfortunately felt responsible for the not-so-specialness of my day.
“It’s not that big of a deal,” I stabbed my fork into his stack blueberry pancakes in blatant thievery.
“What do you want to do later? There’s still plenty of time,” he said. “Do you want to try to get into the city?”
I shrugged. Damn those pancakes were good. The closest thing to cake I’d had in a long time.
Nom, nom, nom.
“I’m fine with not having to do anything for once, honestly.”
It ended up being a blissful day of nothing in particular, with minimal computer use substituted by lots of warm snuggly couch time. We watched the parade on TV, realizing our luck in not having to deal with the cold, crowds of rowdy drunks and porto potties. Maybe we’d head down the street later and see what was happening, we thought. But as night fell it started to rain. I took a nap instead.