Today is the birthday of The Beast, which means that it’s eight weeks until Christmas. I know this because he was eight weeks old when we got him, that date of arrival being the day after Christmas. It’s not complex math, but it is math nonetheless.
Birthdays are markers of time. What is it that makes an anniversary important? That one-year mark? Why do we track them? And celebrate them? Or, in the case of sad anniversaries, sometimes we simply note them. But we’re just acknowledging another rotation of the earth around the sun. And something that happened on that exact day in a prior rotation. Put that way, I’m like, “Why do I care?”
I’m not so good with time. I can only remember the year my father passed away based on the fact that I broke my foot at the end of that year. And I only know the year I broke my foot because I walked for two and a half miles to go see then Senator Obama’s speech at American University. It was the day that Ted Kennedy endorsed him. That was for 2008 election. I remember because my physical therapist said that I was cured after he found out I walked that far. It was slow, but I did it.
So time for me is related to events, and how those events relate to something else I can pin a date to. I need to do some kind of backwards, inside out calculations. With an abacus. I only know how old I am only because I know how old the Big Guy is, and then I add thirty. As soon as I lose track of his age, I won’t know how old I am.
It took me about fourteen years before I could remember the year we were married. It was amusing at first, but then became embarrassing. So I had to work really hard to remember the actual numbers–without backing into it. Sometimes I still forget.
I am amazed and impressed that ancient peoples created calendars to mark the comings and goings of time. They figured it out and made events and myths about the named epochs–which we call years. Maybe they were driven by preparations for different seasons. But that story only makes sense if you live in a part of the world with seasons. I bet I could study this.
Anyway, they say that a dog year is equivalent to seven human years. And that is DEFINITELY a ridiculous concept of time. I still got The Beast a special treat. And I sang him happy birthday and told him he was a good dog. He didn’t really care about the date. But he ate the treat. Woof!
Our neighbors moved a few months back. It’s only a few blocks from here, and they really needed more space. Their new house is terrific. The people who moved into their old house are very nice.
But it’s just not the same. It’s like there is a hunk of film spliced out of the reel. Something is missing.
My dog misses their dog. He’s gone up to their porch to check if his pupster uncle is there. He never is. He doesn’t live there anymore. Or maybe The Beast is just waiting for the door to open. One day they were having a party and he pushed into the house and beelined to the brie wheel on the table which he proceeded to eat in a single gulp. The kids were amazed by his audacity. It might have been their favorite story, ever. I know this because they have told it to me more than once. So maybe the dog’s standing on the porch because he wants more cheese.
I miss watching the kids running to the car in the morning on the their way to school. Sometimes they were in a big hurry and there would be backpacks flying and open jackets and someone carrying their coffee in their almost free hand. Sometimes it would be less frenetic and we would have a short visit. The kids would all ask to come across the street to pet the dog. Even though they had one of their own that they didn’t actively pet. It was always a charming part of the morning. Sometimes I would bitch about The Spouse. Sometimes she would bitch about hers. Always in a loving way. That’s what neighbors do. Listen to each other bitch about loved ones.
I miss the extended family. Grandma’s and sisters and nephews and cousins. After a while, they all knew me. And I knew them, too. I’d get called over for a glass of wine at the tail of a family party. One day The Spouse brought over the leftover ginger ice cream I made. It was Christmas Day. Another day we were all snowed in and they saw that someone made me a fancy mojito. IN THE WINTER. You know how Facebook makes you jealous of your friends? So I sent the Big Guy over with a summer drink to make them feel less envious. The flow of goods and services frequently criss-crossed the street.
My friend and former neighbor had a birthday party. There was cake. There was dancing to favorite music–Hall and Oats and Skee-lo and some 80s music that I must have slept through but that everyone else knew. And there was love. My neighbors are spliced out of the daily reel, but still have important scenes. I miss seeing them every day. But am glad I still see them.
My birthday is the day that I get way sucked up to. In the office, people say “happy birthday.” They want to take me to lunch. Send me cards. Acknowledge the date of my birth. And at home, it is the absolute suck-up fest. I become wonderful. The day is wonderful, because I was wonderfully born on it. It is all wonderful, and all me.
The 14-year-old was wondering and wonderfulling on my birthday.
Him: Happy Birthday. You are the best parent in the world.
Me: Well, I’m your best parent. And also your worst.
Him: No, you’re just great. And it’s a great day because if it wasn’t for this day, many years ago, I wouldn’t be here.
Me: So is it YOUR birthday?
Him: NO! It’s your birthday.
Hmmmmm, it seems that even when it’s about me, it’s not. Well, he’s wonderful, too.
p.s. speaking of wonnerful, the Doc is going off on a R&R journey until mid-August. I will return to my thinkin’ when I return.
Don’t know if there was any drinking of Bacardi* at the White House when George W. Bush celebrated his 60th birthday. But interesting to me, is that Curtis Jackson III, shares the President’s July 6th birth date. Better known as 50 Cent, Curtis blew out 30 candles on his recent cake.
Makes you think what else these guys–President of the United States of America and buff-and-tough rapper–have in common. I mean other than the obvious; their rakish good looks (GW, 50) and pumped physiques (GW, 50).
Well for starters 50 grew up in the ‘hood and moved to the Connecticut suburbs. GW started in the Connecticut ‘burbs and moved to da hood.
Another thing, both balance their popularity on their cred. 50–no matter how rich and suburban–needs to be the tough, gun toting gangsta to sell his CD’s, movies, games and gear. GW–no matter the relationship between Iraq, WMD and Bin Laden–needs to maintain his tough, gun toting international gangsta image to sell his policies and Republican party revolution. Critics think that these are bad image for their fans/supporters to emulate or respect. Other people don’t think that it is so damaging.
Who woulda guessed that these two men, 30 years apart, would be so alike. Must be something true about sharing the constellation of the Crab.
* See/hear if you don’t know the song. I predict that grandmothers will be dancing to this song at weddings in 10-15 years. You read it here first!