birthday cakeListening to: This Mortal Coil (Blood)

This birthday was a big one. One that ends in a zero. I decided to ease myself into it by throwing a birthday party six weeks before the actual day, to give myself both practice saying my new age and another reason to drink besides The Usual List of Stressors. About 24 of us met up at 3Forty Grill in Hoboken, a gorgeous, dark, waterfront lounge where you pay for ambiance with $12 martinis (tip: Thursdays are half-price martini night!). It was a tequila-shot-and-gin-soaked good time until around midnight, when hell let loose its host of overly coiffed and scented, “Look at me! I’m drunk!!” 22-year-olds. It went from fun to miserable in about a minute and a half. The punks even ate some of my birthday cake! Outrageous. Back in my day we’d ask first.

Fast forward to the day before my birthday. My mom and daughter made me chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing (yum!) and the family sung Happy Birthday to me a day early (scheduling difficulties). So that’s 2 Happy Birthday songs, and it’s not even my birthday yet.

Now the actual day of my birth, today. My parents just left after a 5-day visit and I’m slowly reclaiming my space. They arrived last Saturday and immediately succumbed to some sort of sinus/cold/infection/sniffly thing, spending the majority of their time here under steam tents, the faint smell of eucalyptus clinging to their hair as they hacked and sneezed their way around my apartment. They went through my boxes of Kleenex, tea, and cold remedies like locusts. Whatever birthday money they threw my way is going to be used to restock my supplies. So I spent the first couple hours of my birthday washing sheets and towels, and sanitizing all surfaces. You could perform a highly sterile kidney transplant here now (if you were into DIY surgical procedures).

I got my third Happy Birthday serenade at around 9:30a, a sweet version of the Happy Birthday song delivered over cell phone by Caroline. My next Happy Birthday song was from a few members of the Applebees wait staff. The Applebees version is more like something a drill sergeant would scream out at newly-shaved boot camp detainees. Kind of jarring, and, I have to say, underwhelming from an “enthusiasm” point of view. The Applebees crew just wasn’t feeling it.

During my Birthday Nap later that afternoon Kristen called to sing Happy Birthday to me. That brings me to 5 Happy Birthday songs.

The third celebration in the 2007 Series took place at Roots Steakhouse in Summit. My friend Leslie and I have been wanting to case out the bar for weeks. We heard it had a good scene on Thursday nights, though one blog review I read said it tended toward a “cougar” crowd. I’m glad we checked it out anyway, because we had a great time. The bar itself is gorgeous – lots of wood and glass and comfy bar chairs. Low lighting (great for the cougars, though I only remember seeing a few) and reasonably attractive men, and we loved the bar tenders. Dave, who usually works on Wednesday nights, was by far our favorite. When he found out it was my birthday he comped my drink and served me this yummy birthday dessert: ice cream with a candle in it, and four of the best chocolate cookies I’ve ever had (though that might be the gin talking). Leslie almost sang Happy Birthday to me, but ate a cookie instead. Wise choice. Always go for the cookie. I’m counting her intention to sing as the 6th Happy Birthday song.

My fourth and final celebration was dinner with Joan and Rob. They brought a bottle of Champagne which went really well with the spicy Thai food. We were waiting for our check when the lights in the entire restaurant starting pulsating like a disco. The mood music was replaced by a weird, calypso-y version of the Happy Birthday song and the smiling staff sang Happy Birthday to me (two choruses!) and set a dish of fried ice cream in front of me. The entire restaurant was forced to celebrate with me. They certainly couldn’t do anything else with the lights strobing and the volume up at 11. That makes a grand total of seven Happy Birthday songs and four celebrations over the course of six weeks, which all adds up to me still being old as shit.

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