Happy Birthday. You’re f*&^ing 30.
Happy Birthday. You’re fucking 30.
You’re fucking 30 and it’s not even the weekend. Which means, unlike other fortunate souls, you have to spend the entire day completely sober until you can mope back to your apartment like a defeated marathon runner and un-cork that bottle of red wine you’ve been staring at for the past week.
Goddamn this fucking alarm. Without missing a beat, I quickly reach over and yank the clock out of the wall and toss it head-on into the crumbling brick across the room. I smack my arm back down against my sheets with a dramatic ::thud:: and let out a devilish moan. I haven’t even opened my eyes yet, but I can already feel the Dawn’s rays trickling in through my windows’ yellowing wooden blinds, coaxing me to roll over and relinquish myself to my closet sized shower and the monotonous day ahead. Grimacing, I violently throw my sheets over my head and as the sheets gently fall to my face, I feel as if I could just disappear. The darkness settles in over my eyes as I drift off. What would happen if I just didn’t show up to work, if I threw my phone into the East River, packed a bag, and booked a one-way trip to Rio? But, then reality hits. None of that shit would make a difference. I would still be single, broke, and as of 3 a.m this morning, officially old.
* * *
The first time I realized that Never Never Land was a lie and that all kids eventually grow up was when my childhood friend, Becky, whose last name escapes me at the moment, stood me up at the lunch table to sit with her 5th grade heart-throb, Eric Styman. What kind of name is that anyway? Eric? The only other Eric I ever knew was the one from The Little Mermaid and to be fair, he didn’t exactly treat Ariel like the angelic princess that us little girls all knew she was. Not only did he ignore the beauty and obvious intelligence of this gorgeous red-headed sea-nymph the entire movie, but Prince Asshole pigeon-holed this delicate creature into the friend zone because of her vocal disability. I mean, what is that saying to impressionable children everywhere who find delight in singing crustaceans and comic seagulls? That in order to be loved by another human being you have to be faultless? And what’s worse, The Little Mermaid imparts to all little girls that they must become someone they’re not for the individual that they desire. Do you really think that Eric would marry Ariel as a mermaid or find some way for them to be together? Perhaps call on Ursula himself? Yeah, no, I didn’t think so.
Anyway, I digress. The point is, when Becky abandoned me and left me to eat my PB&J alone at our lunch table, I knew that things would never be the same again. I knew that with each birthday Becky would become less and less the childhood friend that I had come to know and more and more the boy crazy pre-teen that Tiffani Thiessen played on Saved by the Bell. With time, she would eventually desert our favorite pastimes such as climbing neighborhood trees, making forts in the thick woods behind our parent’s townhomes, or even partaking in our famous late night sleepovers where we gorged on as much soda and candy as we could until we finally passed out. Granted, that this change didn’t happen over night, but sure enough, by the time we entered 7th grade, Becky’s transformation was complete and she had chameleoned into a self-centered, love-obsessed, annoying teen. After that, our friendship trickled off and we found ourselves with new groups of friends. Her with the popular kids who wore the latest fashions and were all the rage with the prepubescent boys on the football team and me with the tomboys who would rather play football than date the limp dicks on it.
Eventually I would like boys, but that time would come later for me. I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t want things to change. I enjoyed not caring about what others thought of my clothing, who my friends were, or if I still liked to go putt-putting. But, unfortunately, there comes a time in a young girl’s life where she stops thinking about climbing trees and starts thinking about which shoes to wear with what dress. You can’t explain the moment this happens to you. It’s abrupt and sharp, like a light going on in a room. You find yourself immediately drenched in self-doubt and flooded with an uncomfortable awareness of your appearance and stature. And there is no warning about when or where this may occur. You just wake up one day, carry on as usual and then, BAM, it hits you like a ton of bricks and all you want to do shrink away into a dark corner. I remember that moment. And every time I think about it I get a shiver down my spine knowing that was when I went from being a naive, happy child to a younger version of the cynical, self-depricating, woman I am now. I wish I could go back. But, as far as I know, time traveling really isn’t a realistic solution to the age old problem of adulthood.
Who in the hell would be calling me at 6 am? Without opening my eyes, I stretch my arm from my cocoon and fumbled aimlessly for my cell. Fingers stretched, I thumb violently around my bedside table, cursing every high pitched ring of my cell. I wonder what friend of mine has a death wish. Finding my phone, I pull my arm back into my cave and crack an eye.
“Mom!” I exclaim out loud. “Come on, you can’t be serious.” I don’t even bother to answer. I’m not ready to hear the happy-go-lucky “Happy Birthday” show tune that has been crammed down my throat the last 29 years. And I especially don’t want to hear it a 30th time and if I do, I can almost guarantee it may be my last. I’d rather just carry on my day in complete ignorance and forget the fact that I am now a part of a new age bracket in Vogue Magazine.
Annoyed I throw my sheets off my head and zombie my way to sitting up. Already exhausted from a night of no sleep and the dread of the day ahead, I consider going down the street to my neighborhood Bodega and getting a piping hot cup of coffee. Only problem is that I am probably the only New Yorker alive that doesn’t drink coffee or own one of those fancy Nespresso machines. I wouldn’t even know how to work a coffee machine even if I had one. Or for that matter, even know the difference from the thousands of different types of brews that there are and be able to choose just one to indulge in! But I figure now that I’m old and officially an “adult,” I might as well start drinking it. It’s like Coffee is the last step on the road to being an adult and once you indulge, there’s no turning back. You now belong to the Bean and you must relinquish all of your childish ways.
I chuckle to myself at this thought and immediately grab my iPhone. I wonder what coffee I would like? Would I like creamer or milk? Would I like flavored creamer and what kind was better for you? Do I need to use sugar as well or is creamer enough? “Huh,” I ponder. I have to get to the bottom of this.
“Siri, how many different kinds of coffee creamers are there?”
I glance at the clock. 6:15 am. Shit. Work at 8 am. I consider how important my java research is. Siri speaks. “Let me check on that. Here’s what I found on the web for ‘how many different coffee creamers are there:’”
Yep, I think to myself, a quirky smile cracking from the side of my mouth, this is definitely important.