It’s strange to have taken my birthday back from Hallmark and my family and friends and the rest of the world. No calls, no cards – honestly, just the way i like it. Even without receiving a single gift I got a lot of things that i wanted for my birthday, and some things that i didn’t but got anyway.
In New York i rubbed shoulders with Ani Difranco, almost knocked into Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, made eye contact with Rufus Wainwright, and split a drink list with Rabi, among other wonderful things. For me the day started at five-fifteen waiting for a late taxi that almost made me late for my train, which was moot anyhow, as my connecting train (and all of NJ transit) was down for the morning. I had to score an unlikely Greyhound ticket to make it into the city in time (just barely) for my first event. As a result, I missed ten or fifteen minutes of Malcolm Gladwell’s wonderful speech, partially about the difference between talented mimicry and dilligent practice, and for the rest of the day i quite punctually absorbed lots of information from people whose diligent practice has resulted in moments of cinematic and musical perfecion. It might not have been on my birthday, but i can’t think of a much better birthday to have.
Yesterday i drank way too many little solo cups of beer, wine, beer again, and some more wine with better than 50% of my friends at Sippin’ By The River. It was fun at points, but ended with six hazy, tortuous hours i only recollect in the vaguest sense of the word. The last thing i remember very clearly is talking about Garbage with Erika’s sister, but afterwards i have had confirmed involved me making out with someone who i really never intended to make out with and almost drowning in my shower because i couldn’t figure out how to turn off the water. Elise further confirmed that i did invite about a dozen people to our house for martini’s and The Simpsons, even though we neither have ingredients for martinis or reception for the Simpsons. It was a wonderful example of excess which, having lived through it, will probably make for an interesting story to tell in years to come.
The merry part of making your birthday a nearly week-long event is that there is no pressure to make a single 24-hours perfect. A day of low-key shopping is finely balanced against a madcap NYC adventure, and a lazy afternoon with your girlfriend is almost a contradiction in comparison to a wild day of alchoholic sampling, but they were all my birthday, a birthday that was finally mine and no one else’s, and quite possibly my favorite one yet.