I had my birthday and I turned 36 years old, who could believe it? My body yearns downward more and more, reaching for the earth. Everything’s sagging. The other day my old man was vacuuming and I was furiously applying night cream and it struck me as funny. I don’t mind aging, not really. Sometimes I get sad about the state of my butt or whatever, but mostly I feel okay. I know I’m going to die and so long as it’s not a shark attack or drowning or a serial killer I guess I’m just going to try to roll with the punch when it comes. What is more boring than wishing to be younger, than “clinging to one’s youth as if modernity were one’s own private monopoly”? To quote Adorno.
All this brave talk will surely go out the window when I inevitably receive my terminal diagnosis, but I like to hope that my yoga practice will see me through. Deep breaths, everyone. Nothing lives forever. Not you, not God, not polar bears. Your fresh little children will wither and die in sorrow and loneliness just like everybody else. Your bones become dust, then nothing. Your grave invaded by small scurrying creatures and darkness. Your name erased from the minds of man.
In conclusion, I had a great birthday.
In case I haven’t told you yet, it’s important that you know that we have devised the ultimate birthday plan for those who dislike birthday plans. What you do is, whoever’s birthday it is gets to do whatever they want for 24 hours, and the other person (if you are partnered; if not god help you) “joyfully facilitates.” On its surface this method seems to be about hedonism, and it is, but on a deeper level it’s really about trying to live fully in the moment, for just one day. None of us live in the moment, because it’s impossible. Dudes study for years to become Buddhist monks just to start learning how to do it. But for your birthday, you are supposed to take a deep breath and let go of everything that prevents you from living in the moment in your normal life:
– worrying about what the other person might want to do
– worrying about work you should be doing
– planning of all kinds
It’s like you try to make a 24 hour period that exists outside of Time. It’s surprisingly difficult. We implemented this plan last year to great fanfare and its continuation this year was, for me, even better. We got up at 7:00 a.m. and walked the dog together and then went to breakfast, something I always want to do but am usually not able to do due to having different morning sleep-in needs than my partner (on his birthday, for example, I lie awake next to him for hours, fighting my selfish desire to thrash around and cough until he is forced to wake up). The breakfast place I wished to attend was supposed to be closed but when we biked past it IT WAS OPEN AND THERE WAS NO LINE. This was the first of several birthday miracles. Then we went downtown and got more coffee. Everywhere we went, the old man loudly told people it was my birthday and they gave us free stuff. The cool guy at coffee said “did you know if it’s your birthday here you get a free coffee? IT’S A RULE.” Then we went to Powells and I bought a stack of academic satire novels. After this we walked past the Pendleton store and I made a joke about buying a ring there, and we went in and not only does Pendleton actually make rings but all their rings were on sale for 30% off the 50% existing sale price. Second birthday miracle! Then we got quarters and played Super Mario Bros. at the videogame arcade for awhile so I could relive my childhood. After dying so many times I was finally proven right that the Mario joystick was broken: third birthday miracle! Then we went to the sushi train where we had not been since the rehearsal dinner for our wedding lo these many years gone by, and we ate sushi, and were given an unexplained extra plate at the end. Not a birthday miracle, but odd enough to remark upon. Then we rode our bikes back home and took a nap and then took the snoopy to the dog bowl place with the fennel forest where he can run and sniff and we can look at all the industrial shipping stuff going on down below. Then we went to my favorite restaurant and I ordered everything I wanted. Then we went to the bluffs and all my friends met me with cake and whiskey and I got drunker than I have been since high school, but woke up feeling great: fourth birthday miracle.
The next day it was back to the grindstone but much like bacchanals in ancient Thebes, the day-out-of-time leaves you feeling refreshed and better able to grapple with the shrill shrieking void of the universe than you were before.
School started. A lot’s been going on I guess but most of it is too boring to blog about. I’ve been applying to jobs. I’ve been working out real hard at the gym now that I can finally update my jogging playlist due to getting a new computer.
I really want someone to pay me to write a book about movies and zombies and stuff. Or like maybe I should start a snooty hipster magazine and publish whatever I want in it. Or maybe I should marry the King of Jordan.