My birthday is Monday. It’s really no big deal after the age of 21. Nothing after 21 is as good. Although I was excited last year for 27 – my golden birthday. I found about it in middle school. It’s the year you turn the day you were born (27 on the 27th). When we heard about it in school, many of my friends had already missed theirs if their birthday was anywhere from the 1st of the month to the 12th or 13th. I would get to celebrate my golden birthday and enjoy it. There was something exciting about it for some reason. I always looked forward to it.
So last year, I planned a beach day at Monmouth Beach. It was (sort of) middle ground between Hoboken and West Deptford. Not really, but some friends from Hoboken and home would be able to make it, and then we could crash at McConville’s house. I was definitely excited to have a beach day with all my friends. But it didn’t happen, because on August 27, 2011, Hurricane Irene happened. I ended up going home instead. Mom improvised and put together a little inside beach theme party. It was very cute, especially for being so last minute. And as always, I had a lot of fun with my family and girlfriends from home. We sat out on the back porch and things weren’t nearly as bad near us as they were up north. LMonny even went outside in her parka and pretended to be a weather person. It was hilarious. Kelly got a kick out of the fact that Dad just flipped the glass table outside and left it in the middle of the yard – it was safe there, apparently.
This year, I’m 28. I always act like it’s not a big deal, but there is something about your birthday. It’s just a happy day. I wake up and go over to the sink to brush my teeth and there’s a card there from Mike. Inside is a gift certificate for a massage and a 3-day pass to a gym nearby. He’s off today so I walk the two feet back to the couch bed to kiss him and thank him.
Saturday I received a couple early gifts. One was from “GirlTalk”. A huge box and inside was all Jersey themed gifts – a JRZ bumper sticker, salt water taffy, shells from Brigantine, a blue Phillies hat, and a stack of cards from each one of them, held together by some ribbon and a case of pens. I do love pens. It’s the best gift. I love it. I lay down and read every card with a big smile on my face.
Mr. and Mrs. Manfre also sent me a 10-day pass to a yoga place right down the street. I’ve never heard of this one, so Monday at 11am I go over for my first session. It’s a tiny little studio with only about six people and one instructor. Yonnus is super nice and while I struggle with the positions I can pretty much do them all. It feels good. At the very end, we sit cross-legged with our eyes closed as she says soothing things like, “Take in your surroundings. Be thankful for the people in your life and enjoy this beautiful place where we live.” She does have a point. “And today is a special day.” Really, there’s something on the 27th? Cool, I wonder what it is. “It’s someone’s birthday.” Oh, God. I open my eyes. “And her name is Lindsay and she’s here in this room.” Oh my God, what’s happening. Yonnus and the six others, in unison, start singing happy birthday. Yonnus brings over a little candle and places it in front of me as they continue to sing. I don’t even know these people. I’m very embarrassed and grateful at the same time. I almost think I might cry because I definitely wasn’t expecting anyone to sing this to me this today. Even if they are strangers.
I tell Mike all about it when I get home and for some reason think Mrs. Manfre was the brains behind this. She is something else. Mike and I have pizza for lunch from Abbot Kinney Pizza Co. because all I ever want to eat is pizza (it’s cheaper than sushi). Then at 5 I have work at Lilly’s. It’s my last night working with Corinne ever! I’m so sad. They know it’s my birthday because Francis made a big deal last night about Corinne and I having our last shift together (because I love Corinne). So I told him. He claps his hands in astonishment.
I come in tonight and get ready for my last Monday shift. Corinne walks in at 6 and gives me a selection of bracelets to choose from – her husband sends them over from France. I excitedly pick out one with all white beads and one glittery blue bead all connected with a black string. Francis and his girlfriend, Marie Christine, arrive and order me to have a drink. It’s a little early, but OK, if you say so. They each have a drink and then leave to have dinner with friends. Mike comes in for dinner and keeps me company. Later in the night, Corinne, Alonso, and all the guys in the kitchen walk out carrying a candle lit strawberry tart and sing happy birthday (thankfully, Mike is my only customer at the bar). Then they all walk around and one-by-one, give me a hug. It’s the sweetest thing. I wasn’t expecting any of this today. Definitely never enjoyed working on my birthday until tonight.
*The Beach Boys