My birthday last Sunday was a massive nothingburger, and it hurt me deeply. I did receive three gifts -- thoughtful ones, coincidentally all from Florida. My aunt sent me an "Anthony Rizzo #1 Fan!" shirt, my cousin Rose sent a TCM classic movie quiz book, and Henry sent me Joely Fisher's memoir.*
Linda, who is suffering cognitive issues, managed to remember, and that touched me. One of my late mother's friends, now in her 80s, got me a card exactly on time. That made me feel special.
• John called a few days before and freely admitted he just forgot. He flipped his calendar page, and there it was, my birthday! After more than 35 years of celebrating it together, I guess I was supposed to find this amusing. He told me how upset he's been about losing Taylor, the bartender/manager of his favorite bar. Sick of the virus and Illinois' restrictions, she packed up and moved to Florida (where life is, apparently, cheaper). I guess I'm supposed to accept this as a good reason. He also promised that, after Thanksgiving, we'll get together somewhere outside to celebrate. No we won't. After Thanksgiving it will fucking be December. Up until this week, we've had an unseasonably warm and dry autumn. We could have comfortably dined al fresco when it was in the 60s and 70s. But he was too sad about Taylor and the closing of his favorite bar to consider this.
35 years. He forgot. Oh, and by the way, he had a birthday during the pandemic and I celebrated it.
• Kathleen sent me a chirpy little IM on my birthday (after she saw the reminder on Facebook). It's been such a "weird" year that she's decided to "spring" my birthday dinner on me when I least expect it. Right. Why didn't she put that message in a Hallmark card and drop it in the mail? She fucking forgot. We're not having any dinner together, outdoors in the snow.
Meanwhile, her son reached out to me and asked me to record a little message for Kathleen's upcoming birthday. I did it, and I have her gift here. I will take it to the post office.
• Joanna really wishes me happiness this year. She didn't even pretend to have remembered before the Facebook reminder. She had a birthday during the pandemic and I celebrated it.
• My oldest friend, now in California and without a car, just couldn't get to the post office. But she did text and phone. Her birthday is December 11. I have her present right here, and will mail it next week.
• Mindy just completely forgot. I don't know who reminded her, because she doesn't do social media. But Sunday night I got a cryptic text telling me my gift would be "available for pick up" some time this week. I wonder where I'll have to go in the snow to pick it up. Her birthday was November 1. I sent her a pair of books. For the past three weeks she's being promising to schedule a Zoom call to thank me and catch up. Three weeks.
I know, I know.
There's a pandemic and everyone is worried about what to do about their families over Thanksgiving. The freak in the White House put every citizen's safety and security at risk as he held our nation hostage for more than two weeks, spread conspiracy theories and held up the transition.
But all those things apply to me, too. I've been scared and stressed, just like every other American with a fully functioning brain. And I manage to remember and celebrate my friends.
I will get over this. But it will take time. I am trying not to feel as though I just don't matter.
*I don't really know who Joely Fisher is in her own right, but she's Carrie Fisher's half sister, and Henry knew I recently read brother Todd Fisher's memoir of his famous family.