Woke up this morning and I was 38. Thirty Frigging Eight! While still in bed I received a call from my pal Enda. He insisted on singing Happy Birthday, loudly. And it wasn’t just the fact that he can’t sing or that I’m thirty frigging eight it bothered me because it’s a shit song. Happy Birthday is the must sung song in the world; we all have to endure on the same day of every year. It’s the song that people who never sing are forced to sing over a lit cake and it has got to have the most unmelodic melody ever in the history of songs and I’m including you here India. The song that no one from Charlotte Church to Claire from Steps can sing, the song that is as tuneless as it is repetitive and this morning and barely awake I was subjected to…
“Happy Birthday to you.”
“Shut up Enda.”
“Happy Birthday to you.”
“Seriously you’re causing me pain.”
“Happy Birthday, you’re an auld’ one now.”
Once the punch line was delivered he didn’t bother finishing the song instead he simply and quickly said “Happy Birthday to you”. Then he laughed at himself. I love you Enda but tonight at dinner I will cause you some physical pain using a hot spoon or maybe an ear flick. I haven’t decided yet.
I’ve hated birthdays since I was a kid and most years if I’m not keeping track of the calendar I forget until someone reminds me and that puts in me in bad form because people insist on being cheery about birthdays and have no patience or understanding for those who don’t have any desire to mention never mind celebrate them. My husband loves birthdays and because of that every year I get on board. I go all out to do whatever he wants to do. I work hard to give him a gift he’ll love, I cook him all his favourite foods, we go to his favourite restaurants, we do the party thing etc.. and with him it’s a birthday weekend or week and that’s fine because it’s his birthday, he wants to celebrate the passage of time and I love him so I suck it up.
BUT why is it not OK for me to ignore the passage of time? Why do I have to argue against shopping for a present? Why is it so difficult to understand that I don’t do parties or want an overpriced bunch of flowers especially lilies which are funeral flowers by the way.
As an adult I’ve only ever had two birthday parties to mark my 21st & 30th and both were surprises organised entirely without my knowledge. I very nearly missed the 21st having disappeared off the gird contrary to everyone’s plan for me that day but I was found and it was a great night as was my 30th and I was grateful to be surrounded by people who cared enough to mark the major milestones. And as grateful as I was the next year I went back to being the miserable bitch I am every other year and I was happy to do so.
Three weeks ago. I was chatting to my best pal Hal on the phone and I mentioned that I was thinking of buying a subscription to Vanity Fair Magazine. She responded quick as a flash.
“Oh, I’ll get that for your birthday.”
Alarm bells rang. Why on earth would my pal, mother of three and up to her neck in it night noon and morning have my birthday on her mind 3 weeks before the actual date?
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Nothing.” I could hear it in her voice, she knew she was rumbled, I knew she knew she was rumbled. There was really no way out of it.
“Ah Jesus Bannie,” she calls me Bannie, “Donal will kill me.”
“I might get there first.”
And so she spilled her guts for which I will be ever grateful. Donal my loving husband the dude that is supposed to know me better than anyone else in the world was planning a surprise party, with a room, DJ, finger foods, bunting, balloons whatever else comes with a surprise birthday. So tonight I could have been heading into town under the guise of meeting pals for dinner. I could have found myself walking toward a room, having every dog and duck I’ve ever met jump out at me and when my heart returned to its normal rhythm and my stomach descended back into my abdomen I would have fixed my gaze on a balloon or banner that read 38.
I may be a card carrying birthday grinch but who in the name of Jesus celebrates their thirty eight birthday with a dj, finger food and every dog and duck they’ve ever met?
No one. That’s who.
So the party is not going ahead. The flowers my husband had delivered moments after Enda’s rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday, you’re an auld’ one now’ were not as graciously received as they could have been. So I’m going to end this blog. I’m going to kiss my little dog which is not a euphemism (See pic). I’m going to shower. I’m going to put on a happy face. I’m going to go down stairs. I’m going to kiss my husband. I’m going to thank him for the death flowers. We’ll walk the dogs and go for lunch in our favourite mexican place. Later we’ll head off to my pals for a dinner that simply happens to coincide with my birthday and it will be a good day even though I’m a thirty frigging eight year old auld’ one and birthday grinch.