Saturday, February 09, 2008

it's my party, i can cry if i want to

(This post brought to you by the yu/stern canadian club, with much thanks from yours truly)

i'll bet you think you've been a fool before.

never fear, as i have now out-fooled you, whoever and wherever you may be.

i would like to preface this with some context, so bear with me a moment as i indulge in some extremely unattractive and immature self-pity: today was my birthday. and i think i can finally say that i had an adult birthday in that nobody knew it. mind you, i had planned it this way: i had too much work to do to do anything celebratory, and even had i wanted to celebrate it, i really had no one to celebrate it with. so i thought i would just have a nice, quiet, normal day. i was glad it fell on shabbos and not during the week, because then hadassah might have thrown me a party (as they are sometimes wont to do, although really, i'm kidding myself) and that would have been embarrassing. no, my plan for today was to just have it be like any other day.

and it worked.

and let me tell you, it sucked.

it rained today, for most of today, because it being february, that's about my luck. i spent most of the afternoon sitting in various people's apartments, talking about nothing, and i guess that was sort of nice. it was the canadian shabbaton, and i have never seen a quieter one. they all knew each other very well, clearly, and it was fun to watch them know each other very well, to see how they all knew each other's great-aunts. it is the only shabbaton i have been at in recent memory during which, for one meal, no one at my table really talked at all. we whiled away the afternoon and we said havdalah and i came back up to my room to confront the different assignments i have to complete. i sat down on my bed, turned on my computer, opened up my word processor, and stared at the page.

and stared.

my mother called to wish me a happy birthday. i felt nauseous. "happy 19!" she said.

"thanks, mom," i said.

"okay! bye now!" she said.

"okay, bye mom," i said.

i hung up the phone and promptly cried myself off the bed.

every inch of me rebelled. "it's not FAIR!" whined a voice in my head. "why am i alone and doing homework on my birthday? why is nothing special happening? why do i feel so crappy? why is it raining? how did i manage to get this old without achieving anything meaningful? what's the matter with me?"

i think i am the general crier in my family.

now, i know this is a ridiculous sentiment for many reasons. i am not alone. i know many good people, such as you. thank G-d, i come from one of the awesomest families in the world. i am not living in a third world country. etc. there are many, many things worse than having a pathetic birthday. but i subscribe to the humble philosophy that it takes something that you know in your deepest of deep hearts is not even worth really being upset over to make yourself truly miserable, because even you know your misery isn't justified.

so i wallowed in self-pity for awhile. and then a voice - a cursed voice - at the back of my head reminded me, "the canadian club has popcorn indiana downstairs right about now."

now popcorn indiana, for those of you who don't know, is popcorn drizzled in chocolate, white chocolate, peanutbutter, what have you. it is very good stuff. for those of you who also don't know, it is difficult, when you have been crying in mascara, to look like anything other than what you are, chiefly, a bloodshot-eyed vampire searching hungrily for people's souls to suck from their bodies.

but i was in my direst mood, and even though i was not particularly hungry, damned if i was going to let chocolate popcorn pass me by like the rest of my youth. so i threw on a jean skirt and a blogger sweatshirt, scrubbed up my face best i could, and marched, shoulders first, down to the back lounge where the popcorn (and the six members of the canadian club) were lounging, half-heartedly debating whether to watch 'once' or 'wedding crashers.'

of course, being the only non-canadian there, i attracted some attention.

'hi,' said one girl.

immediately followed by:

'oh no! what happened to you?'

well, so much for sneaking in and sneaking out again.

'oh, nothing,' i said. 'bad contacts.' and i smiled in a convincing way.

she looked at me suspiciously, and the devil in me suddenly threw caution to the treadmill.

'listen, it's my birthday, and it's been kind of rotten,' i said to her. 'haven't you ever had that happen before?'

'IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY?' she gasped.

then they all turned to look at me.

'well, now i feel like i'm at chuck-e-cheese's,' i attempted weakly.

'well, if it's your birthday, this can be your party too,' said the head of the canadian club, while various other members of the canadian club exchanged incredulous glances.

and so that is what i did. i sat with the canadian club for half of a mostly decent vince vaugh movie, listening to them all make snide remarks to each other and occasionally inserting my own even though i did not know them and they knew each other very well. eventually i gave it up as a waste of time, because there were many papers i was supposed to be writing, and in my worldwide self-pity i had cleaned out a veritable tankard of popcorn indiana. thus i released the canadian club from my grip and am now here, not writing up a profile for the magazine i promised i would, because darn it all, i just don't want to.

i am sure the canadian club will be walking around with question marks over their heads for weeks.

as for me, if this birthday is any indication, i am in for a long, long year.


Blogger katrina said...

Don't be so hard on yourself, Fudge. I, too, tend to get weepy around my birthday, but the Canadians sound like a quiet group, and by next week they will probably be talking about how they all know each others' great-great aunts, too. And next year on your birthday, make a big fuss out of it. That's what I do. Happy birthday!

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canadians are usually fairly nice, and are used to taking in waifs, so don't worry about them making fun of you. And I'm glad you learned this now instead of waiting for your husband to remember your birthday without reminders, which he will not, since pretty much all husbands are guys. So this is the choice for the rest of your life:
A) Ask for a big whoop-de-doo(and possibly plan the thing yourself) and have a blowout party,
B)Don't mention your birthday, and no one else will either

Enjoy and have a great year!


8:27 PM  
Blogger Shoshana said...

Happy Birthday! I hope your year gets better from here :)

8:50 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Aww...!! :( Happy Birthday!!

As someone whose birthday has been ignored and forgotten every year but one since my Bar Mitzvah (summer babies always get screwed), I empathize. Come over to us, we'll throw a pity party! :)

7:21 AM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Now you know how I felt when I turned 40!

Seriously, birthdays are no-win scenerios. The only thing to do is hit the auto destruct and hope you take some Klingons with you.

Happy Birthday.

(for the record, I pulled a grandma-rose and called "in advance" so I wouldn't forget).

9:18 AM  
Anonymous A. Nony. Mouskowitz said...

A tale is told of a mother who never made a big deal of her birthday while her kid was growing up. The result was that said kid didn't call said mom on her birthday, much to the dismay of said mom. The moral of the story is this: Sometimes you don't get what you don't ask for. So listen to your Aunt Tuesday, and, when future birthdays approach, do everything short of putting up a billboard! :)

12:38 PM  
Blogger Scraps said...

I've also had my share of disappointing birthdays. Like Ezzie said, it stinks to be born in the summer.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Stubborn and Strong said...

perel, i always make a big deal for my augest birthday, i always make party at my house because i know people will forget my birthday if i difn't tell them and when i told people about my party people will make more effort to come. It is win-win situtation, i get attention from people who i love and people won't feel guilty that they forget about it. By the way, you never told me your birthday date. See your conquence?

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hear it for the August babies!

You know, there are more of us than there are of anyone else. So why do we get ignored?

5:42 PM  
Blogger outofAMMO said...


happy birthday.

7:55 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

"So why do we get ignored?"

We get ignored because we're not in school having parties with hats and cupcakes like all the other first graders born between Sept and June.

I want my hat and cupcake!

7:33 AM  
Blogger M.R. said...

i subscribe to the humble philosophy that it takes something that you know in your deepest of deep hearts is not even worth really being upset over to make yourself truly miserable, because even you know your misery isn't justified.

Dorothy Parker, in "A Telephone Call":
...I must stop this. I musn't be this way. Look. Suppose a young man says he'll call a girl up, and then something happens, and he doesn't. That isn't so terrible, is it? Why, it's going on all over the world, right this minute. Oh, what do I care what's going on all over the world? Why can't that telephone ring? Why can't it, why can't it?

5:41 PM  
Blogger RaggedyMom said...

I never pegged you for an Aquarius. So that is interesting.

Also, I think 19 has to be a lame birthday because it falls right between two that seem more 'significant'.

I think that growing up, I cried at some point on every single one of my birthdays. Summer birthdays are totally the pits. Like that inevitable day in mid-June when the teacher says, "Today we're celebrating all of our summer birthday children TOGETHER!" Ugh.

Then I went on to have 2 of my kids born during the summer. And they each share a birthday with a well-known blogger. Hmmmm.

Happy Belated Canadian Birthday!

5:02 PM  
Blogger iguana said...

Didn't shua send you a present or something? And didn't he call you? Oh, well. The party with our canadian friends must have blocked your memory.

Go July babies! I was born in july.....

2:00 PM  
Blogger Erachet said...

(summer babies always get screwed)

So do september birthdays! Don't worry Fudge, I completely understand. Birthdays tend to be overrated, because even though you know you have nothing exciting planned, you still expect something exciting and completely surprising to jump out of the bushes because, gosh darn it, it's your birthday, for crying out loud! WHY IS THE WHOLE WORLD NOT CELEBRATING AND SHOWERING YOU WITH LOVE AND PRAISE???

At least, this is how I usually feel. :D But perhaps I'm too narcissistic. Oh well. But I do very much understand the disappointment of non-exciting birthdays, or even birthdays where your family does something but not your friends, or your friends do something but not your family, or everyone does something but you still feel kind of down inside. You know what I mean?

I think we should randomly surprise people and celebrate their un-birthdays because birthdays themselves usually end up being somewhat depressing and almost never fulfill one's expectations of the most perfect day ever.

At this point, happy un-birthday, Fudge! :D

11:59 AM  

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