If you are a member of an internet social network (or an online dating site), you know that your birthday is revealed. On some dating sites, people lie like no one's business, but on Facebook or Myspace, people just sort of put the dates up there and go about their business. Now and again, I notice that one of my friends on Facebook has a birthday, and I write a little note out to this person, most often, someone I have never met but who is a friend of a friend of a friend who accepted me as a friend or who asked to be my friend. I have over 300 "friends" on Facebook, and I know more about someone of them than I do my own sister.
But on birthdays or if you put out a little note that things are going well or not so well, you get back responses. Today, I woke up to a nice little queue of birthday wishes from my pals. I also found out that a very famous writer and I are exact birthday twins, both born on October 18, 1961. We've managed to have a little dialog with each other, something that wouldn't have happened in the literal world. I also now know why his books always were so clear to me. He's seeing the world with my timeline.
In general, though, I am not a big fan of birthdays. This goes way back to my early life when they just seemed to be a hassle, struggle, and big deal. One year, I remember I had to promise not to get out of control if I had a birthday party. If you don't know me in person, I have, euphemistically, a "big" personality. On a six-year-old, this isn't such a great thing, and I could whip any number of kids into a wild pack of raging creatures. Who wants that?
Birthdays were always a promise of something, and when you think about that promise too much, nothing good can come of it. Now, I try to sort of slip under the wire, not announcing it weeks in advance as many of my friends do. In fact, my friend Ann holds her birthday for an entire year. If we ask her why she's acting like a princess, she will say, "It's still my birthday!" No matter that it is March and her birthday is August 3rd.
And from the age of 21, I stopped looking forward to the progression of time. At that birthday, I knew the inevitable was happening. Every year was one lick closer to the unknown, that undiscovered country no one bothers to come back from to give us reports. Turning 21 showed me that things would only get more intense and difficult, no matter that I could drink to numb the existential pain.
Poor Michael. He's stuck with me and my birthday grumpiness. He is right now making me an omelet, and we are going to work out and then go up to Sonoma for the day, tasting wine and eating at The Girl and The Fig. I am going to snap out of it right now. I'm going to stop worrying about the ravages of time. I'm going to enjoy the day, open the cards and presents my friends and family have sent. I'm not going to wish for the birthday party that I didn't get to have some years, because what I really want is right here, and I don't need a birthday party to show me that.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org