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Saturday, 29 June 2013

A Birthday That's Strange for its Lack of Strangeness

Today is a completely normal day for me, and the only thing exceptional about that is the fact that it's my birthday. Now, most people would have made plans, had cake, partied...something. I sat at my computer exactly the same as I do any other day. It's just the way I roll - or don't roll as the case may be. Zero complaints, believe me. I like normalcy and routine. When I shake thing up it's because I'm in the mood for it, not because it's a particular day.

The funny thing about birthdays - at least that I find funny - is that we often end up doing what others want for us on those days, rather than what it is we really want to be doing. People want to do the whole grand gesture thing, spending time and money on the cake ceremony, even when it's something we're not that keen on. We tend to let them, just because we want to avoid hurt feelings. Thankfully my daughter is very similar to me in how she likes to spend her time, so she's the last person to push a celebration on me.

The closest I came to celebrating was to have ice cream, which of course I'll pay for later. Milk products are not my friends, any more than vegetables or fruits are. I won't get into the nasty details for now. I do love ice cream, though, and maybe one day I'll be smart enough to buy the little tablets that will help me process it better before I'm dumb enough to dig my spoon in.

Now my ex, who's apparently going to be our roommate for a while, has a surprising habit of actually remembering my birthday, and he did this year, too. I'm quite confused by this behaviour, as he can't remember his own mother's birthday usually. We've been separated for more than five years, but every year he remembers it. Sure, I remember his, but then I usually remember his mother's, too, along with anyone else who is directly in my life, as long as I know when it is.

I have received lots of birthday wishes so I'm not feeling neglected in any way - from friends and co-workers, as well as from my daughter who shouted a very funny all-caps Tweet at me right after midnight. We have that kind of quirky relationship. We thought about pizza or something, but I'm not a big fan of it. If I were going to eat something special it might be Chinese food maybe. Frankly I don't want to go to the effort of finding a lost wallet that has $50 in it right now. We're pretty sure our ferret stole it, just like he hid a loose $5 bill. Pepper has been known to grab it and try to run off with it, and this time he may very well have succeeded. Tomorrow is soon enough to clean up the apartment and go through his stash of stolen goods.

These are the best kinds of birthdays, these quiet ones. I'm not obligated to go anywhere or smile. I don't even have to wear anything other than my usual sloppy attire - bike shorts and a t-shirt at the moment, although pajamas aren't out of the realm of daily wear for me. I don't know if it's typical for writers to be this reclusive, but I don't like direct attention or being on display. I don't want to be on TV, and I blush if my name is even mentioned on the show I produce (which it has been by the host a couple of times).

Writers may want to become famous as writers, but we certainly don't all want to be in front of a camera. The funny thing is, I have been quite a few times. I've been on the news, I've been in a commercial, I was on TV as both a figure skater and a highland dancer, and I think there were a couple of other times, too. When I was out in Edmonton a few years ago, there was a big fire that destroyed the house next to my parents' house - there were explosions involved, too. Reporters were crawling around the conflagration, interviewing people. Once I let the firefighters know there were explosive gases in my parents' garden shed, I ducked down the lane to get away from the reporters. A strange dichotomy, perhaps, since I put a large part of my life on display with my writing, particularly in the case of this blog, but there you have it. There are just certain kinds of attention I don't want, and a big production for my birthday is one of those things.

Instead I feel like Brain the mouse, from Pinky and the Brain. "What are we doing tonight, Brain? Narf!" "The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Trying to take over the world." Well, except that I'm not actually trying to take over the world. Talk about getting unwanted attention then!

Birthdays, as I get older at least, are a bit like New Year's Eve to me. There's the impulse to make resolutions, set goals, and make promises to myself that I may or may not keep. At this point in my life everything is completely uncertain, and none of those things can be done. I do like to look back and see the things I've actually managed to get done in the last year, but I haven't even bothered to do that much this year - well, until I started thinking about it just now. The list is almost the same as it was for New Year's, with a couple of nice additions in those 6 months. Started a new business enterprise, started produced the show, started writing for another site, and I think that's about it. There's probably other stuff, but I tend to forget things like that.

The strangeness of today isn't something that feels strange to me, though. It's mostly other people who find it odd. To be honest, I'm usually just grateful when it's over, and I'm like that with a lot of 'special' occasions. If you read my post on Valentine's Day you'll see what I mean. I get really weird and awkward about stuff. When I turned forty my ex and I talked vaguely about having a party together, because his would have been less than a month after mine. It was mentioned once and then we both forgot all about it. I can't imagine that we'd have gone through with it, though, even if we'd remembered. That was two years ago, and the urge to celebrate birthdays has decreased to non-existence now.

So, for now, I'm going to spend the remaining hour doing the same thing I doing every night - trying to take over the virtual world in a computer game. Narf!