I remember when I was a kid, looking out my window, waiting with anxious excitement for the first car with a friend on board, to arrive at my birthday party. Birthdays were thrilling and special days. A little while back, when I had acquired a little cynicism and liked on occasion to exhibit the airs of a martyr, I would try and downplay the birthday.
In New York, where I once upon a time in the spring of the mid naughties, hustled tickets to comedy shows on the street, I felt obligated to work half a day on my birthday, even though the job was barely legal and run by a group of individuals one might describe as appearing to be background in some film of a modern take on a Charles Dickens novel. They were lowlifes, smelly and a little on the outskirts of normality. I fitted right in. My work ethic and sense of guilt at the thought of playing hooky was seriously misplaced. I should have give my day of birth its due respect.
Nowadays I feel obligated to do what the hell I like on my birthday. 34 seems almost surreal. I feel a lot more comfortable in my skin these days, and though my career is apparently late in blossoming, my sense of self, of sitting in my identity and enjoying this quite incredible gift of existence, is in full bloom.
I woke up next to my favorite person in the world and went to workout, which also quite wonderfully doubles as 'work". I love working out, and I also love working other people out. Watching my boot campers hustle up the steeper slopes of Runyon Canyon was a lovely start to the day. Not to mention watching my new buddy, who has quickly ingratiated herself into my close family, Lucy, enjoying the dog paradise that is Runyon: dirt, dogs and the light fragrance of a thousand canines urine that she finds intoxicating.
Next, out to breakfast. An omelet, coffee, toast, coffee and more coffee in the relaxed, faux rustic setting that is Le Pain Quodition on Larchmont Blvd. Serve me breakfast on a big wood communal table any day; makes me feel like I am in some commune of idealistic hippies with high standards of personal hygiene and the ability to repress their need to vocalize the benefits of a vegan diet. Oh dreams, you really do tease me of a better world.
Next phase: trashy, action horror movie. I used to hold onto some pretension that I was some auteur friendly film scholar. This was based upon the rather weak evidence that I passed a course in French film. I barely attended any lectures but feigned a passionate interest in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg to compensate. I also got through a post-grad course on American Contemporary Film, with dangerously low-flying colors. I had to deliver a seminar as part of the curriculum, I chose to do mine on the Cohen Brothers. I had one fuzzy idea I mumbled as many different ways as I could, which was some drivel about "graphic and sustained violence being used in a post-modern way as a device for humor". My professor noted that I was VERY repetitive.
These days I just love a bit of sustained graphic violence with no pretensions of a post-modern discourse or of French culture. We went to see "Cabin In The Woods". Fun, with the scariest part of the outing being the fact that the only other patrons in the theatre were seriously, sadly misguided parents who brought their tiny kids, barely toddlers, along with them to see this R rated celebration of everything that nightmares are made of. Ahhh, a bit of righteous indignation, my birthday would not be complete without it.
I then spent the afternoon at The Getty Center. I love this building. I thought by the time I turned 34 I would be living in a similar complex. It is the sort of place every hard working man such as myself deserves I believe. The architecture is fantastic and the views are superb, especially when accompanied by some cheese and crackers and $2 wine. I always like visiting my old friend, and fellow under appreciated artistic genius, Van Gogh. There is something very meditative about wandering about an art gallery. Everything is hushed and soothing.
The guilty pleasure portion of the afternoon consisted of In N' Out, specifically a double double with fries and a diet coke. Yes, I can let loose and be crazy decadent and self-destructive still. I then watched some basketball, and finished the day the way that I started , my favorite place to be, in bed with my babe.
I urge you to celebrate our birthday! Play hooky, relax, do whatever you want to do. It is a time to celebrate you in all your glory, and that is not a thing to minimize or downplay I'm sure you'll agree. Have a wonderful day on your terms with the person/people you love the most and love yourself, like I love me.