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August 17, 2008

Can we just forget my birthday?

August 17. Day 48.

"Could we forget my birthday? I mean, keep it simple. Nothing crazy or expensive. No presents. Just flowers. Please?" I turned to Mr. A with today's only request as we left my Mama's house, where we'd just had lunch with friends visiting from far away.

Every birthday so far, Mr. A has totally surprised me and put a smile on my lips that still resurfaces when I think back. Last year, he took me to my father's house in Texas and a trip to New Orleans. The year before, when we were living in different East Coast cities, horseback riding in Brooklyn, tango in the East Village, a scavenger hunt, and ice cream for dinner. The year before, jet skiing in the San Diego bay and dancing in a tiny piano bar.

Maybe my request this afternoon makes it seem like I wasn't very into all that. Or maybe like I don't appreciate it. Are you crazy? I loved it!!

What's different this year is my overall mood. I'm turning twenty something soon (a lady never tells), and I'm feeling a little blah about the whole thing. After 23, which was a dud (a bunch of people I hardly knew, partying at a bar), I've been fairly excited about my most recent birthdays -- hitting 24 (golden birthday), the quarter century mark, so on. Well this year, -- and no, I'm not turning 29, which, incidentally, I'm told is as twice as bitter as 30 -- this year, this age, I wonder... What could turning a year older possibly signify? It will be the age I turn in my PhD. That's a big deal, because I never thought I'd get this far. But besides that, what will I remember this year for? Probably, a healthy mix of work and play. It will be one year that will blend into many as that chunk of life called 'adulthood' begins to unfurl. I might go to Morocco, and perhaps Cyprus. I might have some professional victories, run into an old friend, get a memorable haircut, talk my way out of a ticket. Banalities. What I most hope, in fact, that it is a mercifully banal year, with no deaths or diagnoses or tragic mauling accidents.

So I'd like to ring in this next year quietly. Here is my plan: Wake up late, walk in the sunshine to a nearby cafe and have a frappe. Do something to celebrate the late summer afternoon, and the fact that such afternoons will stretch all the way into late October in this corner of our planet that I call home. I will also see my family, since most of the past ten years I was in different countries or cities for my birthday. For dinner, something simple, like pizza. Warm, gooey pizza. Or maybe chicken kabobs. Something routine and fresh. Because there's no reason that day should be any different than the rest.

Gained: Nothing, I hope, because that's what I'm asking for.
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