Blow Out Your Candles
Birthdays. As kids all we look forward to our birthday, that one day a year where it is solely about you and you get gifts, balloons, your parents let you eat as much cake as you want. Yet, as we get older and get passed the ages of 21, 25 and I will even allow 30; we now wish that our birthday’s would not come around each year for it is considered a constant reminder of how old we are and what we didn’t accomplish over the past twelve months.
My birthday was last week and while this year wasn’t a significant one, days leading up to the day, I was having a hard time coping with the number. After going for the philosophy of, “Age is just a number.” I decided that I need to stop being a baby and embrace life. So by the time my birthday rolled around last Wednesday, I woke up to birthday texts messages, emails and I knew this day was going to be just fantastic. The weather in New York was amazing that day. Not a cloud in the sky and for it being the month of August, there was a nice breeze that was amongst the city.
As the day continued on, I couldn’t even keep up with the amount of love that was pouring in. I even had lunch with a friend of mine that had been away on the west coast for a few months. After we said our goodbyes, I was notified that I had a package. I had no idea which one of my friends sent me a package or maybe it was my parents. I was excited, for the moment I saw the box I knew that shape…that shape of that box was a SHOE BOX. It was wrapped in brown paper (like at the grocery stores) and just had my address on it. I tore it open as a coworker looked on, the box looked somewhat familiar and not a brand I would normally buy. When I opened the box there was tissue surrounding the items. To my horror, this was not a birthday gift, I had been Birthday Bombed. Inside the box was everything I had ever bought Mr. Architect. I was stunned, there was the Yankee baseball cap, a pair of sunglasses, DVD’s I had lent him and the most insulting item in the box was the birthday card that I had given him along with the gifts a few months prior. After putting all the items aside and asking my coworker to give me a minute to hide from the embarrassment, I noticed I also received a note along with the returned items. The note from Mr. Architect said that he knew it was my birthday but since our relationship ended that I should have all the items I had ever given him. It went onto say that the ironic thing is that while I was trying to change him to wearing baseball caps; he actually likes wearing them now and will continue to do so in the future. Toward the end of the note, the other rather insulting thing that the note said was in regards to the shoes I had bought him (the box that contained all the returned items). It was notifying me that the shoes were not returned to me because not only had he worn them too many times but that we didn’t have the same shoe sizes; so the shoes were donated to his local thrift shop. Whatever Mr. Architect was trying to accomplish, he succeeded. I didn’t know if he wanted me to contact him to get a reaction but I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction. What he did was cruel. He might have been hurt by the relationship ending but I repeat…WE WERE NEVER BOYFRIENDS. We were dating for three months. Period. Nothing more and nothing less. What really trips me out, is that just last week, I was telling my friends that this was hands down the most mature ending I had ever experienced and that while Mr. Architect was such a nice guy, he just wasn’t for me. Well, let me tell you, some colors came out in him that I didn’t even know he had. Suffice to say. I think this is done. If you are reading this Mr. Architect, I will give you the pleasure in knowing that you did hurt my feelings that day but you didn’t ruin my spirit.
For the rest of the day as I told a few close friends of mine what had happened and all reactions were, “What the fuck?” I had plans with Mr. B. that evening to go salsa dancing with his cousin and her friend that were staying with him from out of town. By the time the afternoon rolled around, I knew that all I wanted to do was let loose and a little salsa dancing just might be the antidote. I met them at this club, a place that I think I went to back in 1999 but it was called, Club Iguana, good for me that it was close to my apartment. I was late showing up for the free salsa lessons but by the time I got there, they were already in position to begin the lesson. I decided to get myself a much needed margarita.
I was finally able to jump in and join the lesson and I took to it rather quickly and it was fun. After the lesson, we all decided to go grab some dinner. We went to a local Thai restaurant nearby so that way we could go back for more dancing after dinner. During dinner, I got to know Mr. B.’s cousin and her friend. They were so excited and while I felt like I was crashing their evening, they turned it all around and made it about my birthday. Mr. B. even paid for my dinner (which was so sweet) and we all just had a wonderful time. By the time we finished dinner; I had put the Birthday Bomb behind me and was ready to get down. Since we had some time to kill before the salsa dancing began at the club, we went to, Flaming Saddles, a gay country western bar where the bartenders not only serve you cheap drinks but dance on the bar from time to time. It was there that we all drank whiskey and cokes and I also got a birthday shot from the bartender. After another shot with everyone, I was feeling pretty toasty. We all go back to the club and there we all paid our admissions and went inside. I didn’t know what to expect, I was definitely out of my element, and even Mr. B. was out of his comfort zone. The girls got offered to dance with random guys and so Mr. B. and I got some cocktails. This establishment wasn’t the type that catered to the gay community. It was all straight and there was no way in hell that we would be dancing together. So, we just sat on the sidelines, encouraged the girls to continue to dance, while we sat on the sidelines and watched them have a great time. By the time midnight had rolled around, I think we all had had enough and decided to call it a night. We all hugged and kissed goodbye, it was there that I really thought that I just met two new wonderful people on my birthday and I was excited to get the invitation for the next day to meet them for a drink after work before I headed off to a dinner.
The next day at work, I am writing away and the receptionist calls me to tell me that I have a package at the front desk. Is this for real? Is this happening? I didn’t want it. I told her I didn’t want to accept it; I feared that it was another Birthday Bomb. I couldn’t handle it and I just told her she could keep it, whatever it was. She said that I would like the way this box was wrapped and I should come and get it. Still not wanting to accept it, she brought the box to me personally at my desk. The box was wrapped in a brown ribbon and on the corner I could see the words, “Insomnia Cookies.” Who would do such a thing? I read the card and it was a dear friend of mine. She was horrified by what had happened to me the day before and said that I deserve a box that is worth opening. I shared the cookies with the office and treated myself to one. It was delicious and it was there, that I decided to never look back at the final gesture that I received from Mr. Architect.
After work, I went straight to the restaurant, The John Dory, to see Mr. B., his cousin and her friend. One of my closest friends is a manager there and luckily for me, he was working there. It was great to see him, even his boyfriend stopped by. We were all seated outside and enjoying glasses of wine and I took the time to tell Mr. B.’s cousin and her friend how lovely it was to meet them and how kind they were to me right from the beginning. We toasted and toward the end of drinks, my friend brought out from the kitchen a dessert with a candle in it. They sang to me and I blew out the candle. It was touching and just a lovely way to end my evening there. Mr. B.’s cousin and her friend had a show to go to, so we said our goodbyes and I wished them well. There were still a few drinks on the table left to finish, so Mr. B. and I finished those off and he had a gym session and I had to meet my friend for dinner. We walked to the corner of 23rd St. and Fifth Avenue (I love that corner, the Flatiron building, Madison Square Park…gorgeous) we kissed goodbye and off we went in our different directions.
At dinner with my friend at, Intermezzo, we were talking about love, relationships, etc. And it got me thinking about how I have so many friends that do such amazing things in the world. I have friends that are doctors, nurses, manage million dollar accounts, things that would make anyone nervous to do in life. Yet, when it comes to making decisions on love, we are scared and downright terrified to make a move. After dinner, we went to Gym bar for one more drink and decided to save our excitement for the weekend. I decided to walk home after we said goodbye because it was a gorgeous night out and after that heavy meal, I could stand to do some leg work. I went to bed that night knowing how much I am truly loved in this amazing city.
Friday rolled around, it was a half day at the office and my luggage was packed. I was to be meeting a friend of mine on the corner of 52nd/Sixth Avenue to get in her car and head over the country house of my friend, Feathers and his partner. The drive up there was a breeze, we only missed one stop and aside from that, we spent the road trip talking nonstop. When we arrived to Feather’s house, they were in the yard doing work and were not prepared for us to arrive so early. When I walked inside the house, there on the kitchen island was a tray of cupcakes with pink candles (my favorite color) and a bottle of proseco. We toasted for my birthday and started to unpack and get ready for the weekend ahead in the country.
That night, we had a delicious meal, sat outside on their deck and it started…the weekend that would be known as: Competitive Weekend. My friend that I drove up to the country with brought along the game, Apples to Apples. I had played this game before and while I love playing games, I just never win at anything. During the game, it was quite apparent that we were dealing with four people that want to win. Suffice to say, at the end of the night and much wine…Feathers won the game that night.
The next morning, the phone rang at 9:30 and it was Feather’s neighbor telling them that we were entirely too loud and he could hear everything. We are in the country and it is all part of having neighbors. After that, we all decided that that night we would be mindful but not bow down to being entirely quiet.
We all got dressed and got in the car heading into town that afternoon. We ran some errands and I did some shopping. I bought a bracelet, well, it was more like, I had to buy the bracelet. You see, I liked it, tried it on and couldn’t get it off!!! Luckily, it wasn’t a super expensive one but it requires some lotion on the wrist and hands to get on and off. Once we were done there, we all decided to go bowling. Things are different once you leave Manhattan. It is like everything instantly becomes cheaper. We pulled up to the local bowling alley, a place called, Kristal Bowl, a nice little play on words for, Crystal Ball. As we walk in, there were 10 lanes and only one was being used for a birthday party. We walk up to the counter where an 18 year old boy was running the joint along with the cook back in the kitchen. The menu was insane, the food was cheap and the games were only $3.50 a game. We didn’t know what to do accept to tell the young man behind the counter that we all needed shoes and a lane. Let the games begin!!! We kept ordering beers and it was so much fun. We put on our own style of music courtesy of the juke box and I won the first game! Finally I won something. Next game, Feather’s boyfriend won and since it was so cheap to play games, we settled in on one more game and guess what…I won that sucker!!!! We paid our bill and back to the house we went. Not feeling satisfied by the amount of winning, we all gathered around the table for a rematch of the game, Apples to Apples. We go through two games where Feather’s boyfriend won one game and our other friend won the second game. Closing the night by turning on the Xbox and playing a game of golf where we were all too drunk to even swing and hit the ball, no one won that game and we all called it a night.
Sunday we all wake up, surprisingly no one was hung-over and so we all got dressed and headed over for some brunch in town and walked through the local farmer’s market. After we said goodbye to our friend who needed to get back to the city for a family event, it was now just Feathers, his boyfriend and myself to figure out what we should do for our Sunday. We go back, watch a movie and even play a game of golf on the Xbox…Feather’s boyfriend won. Now we were all kind of sitting around not really sure if we should pop in another movie but I persuaded Feathers that we should go out. So we go online to find the closest gay bar. I wanted to stir things up. After calling several places, some were closed, some had not updated their websites in over a year and one place I called said I was “silly” for asking if their place was a gay bar, it was a piano bar…how was I to know that was a silly question. Finally. We found a bar that not only answered the phone but was open for business and only an hour drive away. We all get dressed and jump in the car.
We arrive in a town called, Moosic. As we arrive at the bar, a bar called, 12 Penny Saloon. We noticed there was only four other cars in the parking lot and it was in an old house. I had a feeling this was going to be a mistake and was already receiving a confused look from Feathers. I decided to go in first, since this was my suggestion in the first place. It was a scene straight out of a movie. We all walk in and the five patrons that were there look at us and the music (if there was any on at the time) stopped. We didn’t look or sound like the locals there. There were three seats right by the door and so we grabbed them just in case we needed to make a run for it. We sat down; I ordered a vodka drink while Feathers and his boyfriend ordered beers. When the bartender told us the total was $10.50, I thought it was just for my drink alone. Nope. It was for the entire bill. That settled it; we were staying for at least another round. Once we got our drinks, I observed the patrons and well…it wasn’t looking good. So I turned to my left and started talking to these two guys. For today’s entry, we will call them BNB for both of their names started with the letter B. I found out that they were couple of 22 years and also lived in Manhattan but had a country house that they fix up on the weekends. We instantly become friends with them and I even convinced them to stay for another and another and another.
As the drinks continued, photos on everyone’s iPhone’s being shared, I asked one of the guys why the bar was called, 12 Penny Saloon. Turns out, the legend is, that the bar owner (who was not present at the time) has a penis so big that when it is erect, you can lay 12 pennies across it. Don’t ask me how many inches that is, I didn’t do the leg work. Finally, all of us go to the corner of the bar to play a game of pool. We all suck. All of us. I even hit the ball and it knocked off the table and went straight for Feathers. Now that the booze was settling into our systems, I noticed that BNB kept asking us to go in on sharing a room with them. It was apparent that while they had a great loving 22 year relationship that they might be open to letting more people join in on their love. We sober up, say our goodbyes, decline the hotel offer and go back to our country house.
Once we were back in the city, it was nice to be back. It always is after being gone for a few days. I unpacked, checked the mail and received more birthday cards from friends and family. As I got settled in with a book, I got distracted by the events of the past week and I went back to thinking about birthdays. In our adult age, we all handle them differently. Some embrace, others go into hiding, and some deny the day even happened and there have been people that have nervous breakdowns. In this day and age where we receive birthday wishes from texts, emails, phone calls, cards, Facebook and on that rare occasion a Birthday Bomb. What we all must do and realize is that the best gift we can ever receive is love.
Whether that love comes from a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/niece/nephew/cousin or your mail man, it is a day to celebrate your life. A life we were given to make the most out of and while we might not accomplish everything we want to in a year, the most important accomplishment is love. So those that have birthdays coming up or your birthday has passed. Celebrate life, blow out your candles and Happy Birthday!!!
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