Is listening to Coldplay an indicator of aging? If so, the birthday that looms before me, growing closer with each annoying buzz of the a.m. alarm clock, must be for real: I’m veering away from the fun 20s living with the roommates emulating the coffee shop — albeit welfare-state — set vaguely reminiscent of fake TV fare such as Friends and barreling full speed ahead into, well, okay: kinda’ old.
Holy shit, if we’re talking scary ’90s TV, I’m Thirtysomething, only this time’s for real. Argh!
But alas, it’s true, I’m no longer on the young side of my third decade. In fact, in a matter of days I shall be smack dab in the center of my 30s, with youthful escapes — out until all hours partying with friends, flirting with people I don’t know, paying rent instead of a mortgage, caring for nothing more attention-intensive than a house plant (and even those have died … sorry Basil…) — being replaced by…
Oh wait, erm. Okay, well, ah… not being replaced so much as, er, happening with less frequency. Heh.
I have to admit that for me, my birthday seems more like New Year’s than the night last week I’m still trying to fully piece together via eyewitness accounts, various news reports, receipts, flashbacks and strangers coming up to me like they know me…
So, as I do every year, with varying levels of scrutiny, I find myself taking stock and looking to where I’d like to be this time next year, (somehow “Take over the world” is always No. 1, yet annoyingly enough, I’m still not. quite. there.) and where I’ve been.
2006 started out with a backwards glance to a decade earlier, in full-on rose colored glasses mode, with a shot of absence (as in “makes the heart…”) for flavor:
West Coast, 1996, sex, drugs, rock and roll…and mice. Lots of them, rivers of them taking over the Oak Street flat; stepping over the crackheads lounging on the front steps as we’d make our nightly Noc-Noc jaunt; Café Abir, Muddy Waters, The Grind, Jeremiah stamping my card on Tuesday nights for lots of free joe when he wasn’t working at Royal Grounds; graveyard shift at Sparky’s with Phil, Jason (yes, that Jason), Kelly…
I vaguely remember marking the occasion of my 25th by getting my nipples pierced, dancing all night, and inhaling enough methamphetamines to keep me wired long enough to piece together a massive quarter-century manifesto, scrawled throughout the night of the 15th and, I thought, a masterpiece until, in the cruel, cold, sleep-deprived daylight it was revealed to have devolved into repetitive scrawling “fuck you fucking fuck motherfuckers fuck,” eventually deconstructing until it was something akin to, but not nearly as noteworthy as, “All fun and no play makes….”
These days are the same in many ways — my character stays pretty much the same no matter what the year, locale or hair color — but I also feel a bit like I’m standing on a precipice.
Which could be kinda’ cool, if I were a windsurfer or something, but as it stands right now I’m pretty sure I’ll feel better once this coming weekend is over… after the hangover subsides, that is!
In the meantime, in the spirit of the glass being half full and all that gobshite, I offer up the following up-to-date inventory of why, old as I may be, I rock and shall continue, until further notice, to get out of bed on a daily basis (excluding hangovers and avian flu):
Gray hair: none (that I know of). And neither I, nor anyone else, will ever know for sure. In fact, my to-do list includes making a living will so as not to become a tool for the religious right should the next car that runs me down hit a bit harder and I end up in Shiavo-esque drooling state on national TV. Included in said document will be a provision for someone to come to my bedside every six weeks to cover any roots and/or gray, pluck eyebrows, give age-renewing glycolic peel and full makeup should I have smudged it while attempting to revegetate brain in order to beat down Frist-like jackass purporting to diagnose me via video feed.
Wrinkles: none, save for the big, ugly one that appeared across the entire expanse of my forehead in high school. In order to make myself feel better managed to do at-home brainwash that I’d actually been abducted by aliens, and that’s where they put my bigger, far superior brain. Unfortunately, I must have gotten alien intern as superpowers seem to consist of sniffing out closest Starbucks and being wildly attracted to mentally unstable, substance abusing, impoverished, jerk-like men.
Mice: There seems to be — knock on wood — only one at my current residence, and he’s teeny-tiny. At least, he was …
Job: Holy shit, I’m employed! Not only that but I actually like where I work, and the people I work with while, at the same time, am paid enough to live on. And, it doesn’t involve schlepping food, drinks, packages or my soul.
Philly: Not my favorite city, but residing in the City of Brotherly Love has it’s own perks (cheesesteaks notwithstanding…). Oh sure, I work in the ’burbs, which comes with its own irony, but this is home. In fact, in those very ‘burbs the original life plan was hatched with compatriot-in-crime Kristin as we made mud pies by the creek and plotted our next escape. (You’d think being brought home in the back seat of a patrol car after running away again would have made a lasting impression…)
Sadly, we never made it to NYC together, never made our love nest with Baryshnikov (making the final season of Sex and the City that much more painful), never got to live the life we envisioned for ourselves from kindergarten.
At least, not totally, not for me: the old toe shoes from over a decade of ballet hang in my parents’ house, I’m halfway to NYC with the amount of time I spend there, and I’m still holding out for the Baryshnikov to my idealistic, hard-headed Gypsy runaway.
In fact, it’s the last part that makes the cliff I may or may not be standing on seem not so bad: there’s hope.
2005 nearly kicked it and everything else out of me, but somehow it’s still there, and that’s the reason, I think, I’m still doing what I’m doing, living my life, not changing a thing for anyone. (Which, I should add, is vastly different from learning what might be best to stop doing, such as the realization while I may get as wild, crazy and out of control as a rock star when I’ve had a bit too much to drink, I do not, repeat, do not have the fame and fortune to back it up…)
There’s just one thing that worries me: Will it literally come crashing down when I slow down?
Granted, I’ve already established the anti-gravity fund in the form of an old glass milk jug full of change (by the time I need it, it should be full, right?), but, I can’t help but wonder if eventually the real world’s going to catch up to me, and just when I think I’ve beat the odds I’ll wake up to find my ass is at my knees, my boobs and belly have melded into one shapeless mass and my chin is where my alleged cleavage used to be!
As it stands, I can practically feel my eyelids begin to droop and the corners of my mouth purse and stay that way when screaming children are around …
Is it only a matter of time?!!?
To be on the safe side, I’ve stocked my Amazon.com Wish List with plenty of age-defying products and goodies, should anyone feel the need to mark the upcoming anniversary of my birth with material goods.
Yes, it’s a whorish plug for stuff, but damnit, why the hell not? he he!
4 thoughts on “It’s My Birthday! Gimme’ Stuff!”
Happy Birthday Erica! I’d get you something, but I’m totally broke from the move. 😛
Wow, Erica, that was an awesome post. Have you ever written so extensively about yourself before? You should try to work this into a personal essay or creative non-fiction.
Thanks Mags, use of your couch in SF is all i need to be happy!And thanks Karin, too! Other than journalism, my published stuff has all been creative nonfiction…I feel a new perspective for this semester’s writing workshop coming on!
Okay, if you say so. Then effing come out and visit already!