In which I get all potty mouth and optimistic on my birthday

3 Sep

Good morning and Happy Labor Day.

Labor Day became a federal holiday in the United States in 1894. I didn’t realize until I did a little research that the holiday was fast tracked by Congress after the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike. The folks in Washington were hoping to avoid further conflict by making Labor Day a national holiday.

I was only ever a member of one union. When I was teaching, I joined the teacher’s union. That’s right, I was one of those “bottom feeders” Rush Limbaugh talks about. But let me tell you, when you face a classroom of teenagers all day long, day in and day out, you really need to feel like someone has got your back.

Anyway, this blog isn’t about unions, except for the whole Happy Labor Day part. So, what is this blog about? How should I know? This is one of those steam of consciousness things I do. No telling where that stream will take me.

My birthday was last Tuesday. I took Monday and Tuesday off from work and had myself a long weekend. That was nice.

On the morning of my birthday, I rode my bike downtown to Chamblin’s Uptown.

I don’t really do commercials in this blog, but can I just say, I love Chamblin’s Uptown? It is an amazing used bookstore plus a wonderful cafe. It was the closest I’ve come to a “Paris-esque” experience since I returned from Paris. But really, I see Chamblin’s as being more like Greenwich Village must have been in its boho hey day.

Admittedly, I am a bit of a literary romantic. Guilty as charged.

I managed to spend seventy bucks on books, and since it was my birthday, hooray for me. Then I sat in the cafe, drank a bottomless cup of coffee (not literally. A bottomless cup holds no coffee–but you know what I mean, right?), ate an egg and cheese croissant and wrote in my journal.

Here’s what I wrote:

It is my motherfucking birthday!

What is significant about this opening line–besides the sheer poetry of it, is that I was actually feeling a little bit elated that it was my birthday.

I don’t get all that bummed out about birthdays, I am usually indifferent. I don’t want anyone to make a big deal out of it, but I do appreciate a simple acknowledgement–a simple, “Happy Birthday!” from a friend is sufficient. But elated? And this was before I had consumed one cup of coffee for every year of my life.  (Or so it seemed.)

Here’s the weirdest part about being so happy about it being my birthday–I wasn’t jazzed because I had just turned 54 as much as, I was excited that I am just beginning my 55th year of life.

I may be 54 on paper, but I have actually completed my 54th year on this planet–at least in this incarnation. (Not necessarily an endorsement of reincarnation, just leaving the door open…)

I know what you’re thinking–you’re thinking I was all a quiver over those senior citizen discounts that will start rolling my way. Yeah baby–cheaper movie tickets, Early Bird specials and the like.

Hey, someone wants to give me a discount for reaching a certain age, Ima gonna take it. But that had nothing to do with my elation.

Frankly, I can’t totally explain it. I just know that, for some reason, recognizing that I am beginning a new year of life, feels rich with possibility.

Maybe it is because my 54th year was such a special one. I stepped out of my comfort zone, actually left my house after dark on more than one occasion, worked on and performed in The Coming Out Monologues, met some amazing new friends, went to Paris. I didn’t see any of that coming when I ended my 53rd year of life and began my 54th. It was just another birthday.

I have a secret fear of being happy. (I guess it isn’t all that much of a secret since I just wrote it.) I can’t say when it began or why, but I do have this inner voice that tells me, “If you are happy, you will be smacked down!”

If things go well, then they are bound to go wrong.

You’re so in love, you get married, but you take your honeymoon voyage on the Titanic.

Or, something like that.

But somehow, passing through the time portal into my 55th year seemed like a really cool thing to be doing. For some reason, it made me happy. I know that life isn’t going to be perfect, but when it isn’t, maybe I shouldn’t take it so personally. Maybe I’m not being smacked down because I am happy. It’s just that, shit happens.

Sometimes good shit happens too!

Happy Motherfucking Monday!

2 Responses to “In which I get all potty mouth and optimistic on my birthday”

  1. Pamela N Red September 4, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    Have you seen The Bucket List? I think it’s a great movie for middle age men to watch. Happy birthday, potty mouth. ;o)

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