It’s storming outside and I just ate eight strawberries. I’m trying to keep my thoughts company, but the strawberry seeds are getting stuck in between my teeth. I keep pacing the room like I’m mulling over a Calculus problem, but the truth is I haven’t looked at a Calculus problem in over 16 years. The sound of the rain against the window makes me want to take a shower. I check my phone and notice I have 72 new e-mails. There’s half of a Michelle Branch stuck in my head now and it’s telling me only crazy people fall in love with me. So I do what any insane person would do: I hop in the shower.
We used to play tennis. We were both bad at it, but I’d like to think you were better at it than me because I sucked at every sport and had no muscle. (Still don’t.) That and back then I always automatically thought you were better at any sport than me. We mostly just wanted to see each other so we could laugh and talk about boys, especially our crushes. Crushes was a taboo topic around our parents. Well, mostly it was your crushes because I was too proud to admit I even had a crush on anybody. You would always get it out of me though. You were good at playing detective. The ‘rents would keep chatting when we got back to my house so you and I would pretend to be asleep on the floor in my room so your dad would let you sleep over. He got irritated every time we did that, but he always caved. We were best friends and he liked that you were best friends with someone like me. The one reason your dad liked us being best friends ended up being the one reason why we are no longer friends, let alone best friends. Now I don’t know where you live, who you are, or which one of those boys you ended up with.
We used to play tennis. You were good at it and I was horrible at it by comparison. You were on the team at school and you found out I couldn’t serve the ball. You made a face every time, but you never made fun of me for my lack of dexterity. You were active and would be bouncing off the walls at my house if we didn’t go to the courts and play. Our moms would chat the night away because they were best friends. (Still are.) We mostly just wanted to visit with each other and play our roles of big sister and little brother. I wasn’t afraid to play terribly in front of you, even when you made fun of my music, which you secretly liked too. We were siblings. You’re picky with your meat and you’re picky with your girls. Now you’re married to the girl of your dreams and I went to your wedding about two years ago and you spun me around for one dance and I couldn’t be happier for you.
It’s my birthday month. No, it doesn’t mean I celebrate myself for a whole 31 days. It just means my birthday lands on a day this month that is between 1 and 31 and can be equal to or greater than 1 or equal to or less than 31. 😉
As you can see from my photographic evidence, on my birthday this year my mom made me a birthday non-alcoholic beverage that was kind of like a virgin mojito. There is honey, mint and lemon in it and it is delicious. She also bought me a tiramisu cake. I got some ‘happy birthday’ texts/e-mails/birthday cards from a couple of friends/co-workers. Then I went out and redeemed my birthday freebies from Panera, B&B Theatres, and Sephora. Finally, I branded myself with a temporary tat just because. The free pastry I tried this year from Panera was the Bear Claw and I paired it with a caffè mocha. Both were fantastically yummy and bitter and sweet in all the right places at all the right times of consumption. No joke. I am looking forward to the day I get this combo again on a non-birthday day. I got to share my free large popcorn from B&B Theatres with my mom and she didn’t want any of the free soda, so I had a free large Dr. Pepper to myself. (In case you were wondering, I was not able to finish all of that soda.) At some point I will try my free birthday cream I got from Sephora. All in all, it was an enjoyable pandemic birthday.
BUT it also lead to my birthday melancholy. And I’m not talking about the virus. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m not the kind of person who absolutely has to have a birthday party with all that jazz. I’m simply making some observations about birthdays. Just want to make that clear. I do have a lot to be grateful for, but I went through my annual birthday melancholy because the last couple of years it has become a barometer for who are the friends in my life who truly care about me. The measurement was who would remember my birthday on their own and simply wish me a ‘happy birthday.’ It sounds stupid, but that was the only measurement, despite the fact that I know I have friends who are just bad at remembering birthdays, but have been there for me throughout the other days of the year.
What brought this melancholy on was Facebook. There’s an option on Facebook to put your birthdate and then on your birthday you would at least get a ton of messages pouring in from your Facebook friends due to the Facebook reminder. But I’m stubborn and chose not to follow the trend and so decided not to post my birthdate on my Facebook. My thought process is I don’t want to get ‘happy birthday’ messages on Facebook as a way for people to have a cheap reminder for when it is my birthday, therefore not “counting.” So when I get a text or e-mail instead, I’ll know this friend took the time to remember my birthday on their own or maybe they wrote it down somewhere on their personal calendar or something. The point is it’s more personal this way than Facebook. I know I’ll get a lot more birthday wishes if I put it on Facebook, but when I don’t without the Facebook reminder, that’s when the sadness sets in and turns into melancholy. I know it’s silly to feel this way, but that’s how I’ve been feeling every year on my birthday now.
It’s so weird because I look back on my past birthdays and I know I’m feeling this because I used to get several texts and even birthday hangouts where a group of us girls who all had birthdays in July would go out and do something fun together to celebrate. That was in my 20s. Before that I had birthday parties and birthday dinners with my closest friends. I guess in my head I start wondering what happened to those friends and those days. So this year I wanted to take a picture of everything I got to treat myself on my birthday and I got to thinking if I lose every single friend I ever have one day, at the very least I have a way I can celebrate on my own. Because no matter what, I will always support myself to live, to keep going, to keep trying to make sense of this crazy thing we call life, whether there’s a Facebook reminder for that or not.
Lewis Carroll was the one to come up with “I believed in six impossible things before breakfast.” I’ve been thinking of this quote a lot lately because if there ever was a time to use your imagination, now would be it. While I don’t have any kids, I’m sure it’s an especially useful piece of advice if you do. When you are stuck inside your home for most of the day, one of the only things that can prevent your brain from going completely insane is using your imagination.
Maybe it doesn’t have to happen all before breakfast, but now is a good time to start imagining six impossible things every day as a brain exercise when you get bitten by the bored bug. I wonder if we all did that and had this online forum where everyone could pull together all their ideas for impossible things in one place we could solve climate change and world peace in no time. Of course this would only work for people who are still employed and have the free time to jot something down. Those who are not employed and depend on a current paycheck are going to be busy figuring out where their next paycheck is going to come from.
And not everyone takes well to books and jotting ideas down in a notebook, but I’m serious though. Nothing would be taboo. This isn’t the time to worry about taboo. Anything to help someone live his or her life better during a pandemic would be welcome. Because that’s what impossible things are. Not just unicorns and vampires and ghosts and UFOs. But ways the unemployed could get paid and local businesses could keep going without customers and without the need to open up for example. Or making 400 lasagnas to give to people who need a meal or two, like the article I read about this woman doing exactly that the other day.
In this world where we see many uninspiring things going on day by day, it is truly inspiring to read about someone willing to be the first to do something everyone else is afraid of realizing. Everyone is afraid to sacrifice for others, especially when they feel their own needs aren’t met yet. But even those who are getting their immediate needs met have trouble sacrificing for others. I don’t know what exactly that says about us as a human race, but I do know one of my six impossible things is people willing to sacrifice for others without a promise to gain anything in return. What’s your six impossible things?