Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21

But I like my birthdays! I say to Ed, even though I know the whole topic makes him nervous. He can’t drop his life’s conviction that celebrations are ridiculously bloated and overdone. That may be, but I think back to my day of encountering birthdays in Italy -- when I had the pleasure of witnessing three such celebrations – familial events mostly and all I remember seeing is grinning and laughter and it didn’t seem that bloated to me at all.

When I scheduled my Miami trip, I could have stretched it through the week-end. People do that. Conferencing is over, you take a day to do some fun things. Me, I was in a hurry to get home.

When I was a kid my mom told me that what I did on the first day of the new year (calendar or birth) would be my destiny for the remaining 364 days ahead. I doubt she believed it and I didn’t either except that if this day represents, as any day does, your life, your peculiarities and inclinations, it most often is going to be suggestive. And so I am not surprised that I am traveling on my birthday. My restlessness, insatiable craving for that glimpse of life elsewhere, has been with me for as long as I can remember and I see myself as being one day wheeled onto a flight to Paris, then wondering how I can get myself out of the metro system where not all stops provide access for the elderly and disabled.

I got upgraded on the flight from Miami, which is odd, because, as an Air France frequent flyer (they give benefits faster to American passengers) I am the lowest priority for Delta upgrades. On the flight down, I was number 26 out of 26 waitlisted for upgrades and they only gave out two. But this time, I was number four and they gave out four and there you have it. Birthday luck. I wanted to thank the attendant and explain that I was especially appreciative because it’s my birthday, but that felt like I was asking for something – perhaps a rendition of a Happy Birthday chorus and so I said nothing. But I smiled gratefully at the free cereal and tea with lemon.

By a stroke of great fortune both my daughters and their guys are able to join Ed and me for dinner tonight. So we’ll be a table of six and I think that’s pretty close to those tables in Italy where people casually leaned over each other and put an arm around the shoulder of their neighbor.

I have hopes for myself for the year ahead. To be less discouraged at the end of long work days. To take that smile from tonight’s dinner table and, as Ed would say, keep it going. As if every day was indeed my birthday.

Readers, Ocean friends -- I want to thank you so much for the good wishes variously sent on this day, on all days actually. I truly value each kind word, each greeting and thoughtful message from you.

So, fifty-nine today. Pretty good for a person who got stuck in some tricky situations early in life and almost didn’t make it past four months.

photo taken by a stranger, on April 20