T minus 72 hours; or got condiments?

by Janie Jones

December is not only the season of religious holidays accompanied by guilt, gifts and pressures of family, but the season of birthdays.

Between friends and relatives over the years I’ve had more than 12 birthdays to celebrate between now and the 25th, including my own and the spud.

Generally speaking I love giving gifts, with birthdays and Christmas being the perfect excuse. However, sometimes the joy of giving is tainted by the perception of the obligation to do so and the expectancy of reciprocation. Never the less, I persevere for my own soul’s sake and the pure beauty of bringing a moment of pleasure to someone’s day. So, I anxiously look forward to choosing presents, wrapping them lovingly and presenting them, finding that, as altruistic as this paragraph seems, I selfishly get a rush of satisfaction from the whole and when I am deprived of giving I feel miserable whether it is for a mere acquaintance or a cherished companion.

Through various misadventures I am down to celebrating a small handful of birthdays this year. In a way I am relieved, as many of the people whom fate and family have thrown in my path do not deserve the cheapest 4 for a dollar birthday card I bestow much less give a shit about honoring me in exchange. I know that I said that wasn’t the point, however, I must admit it is insulting to be ignored or even worse gifted with something that shows just how little your “family” or “friends” know you after years of association. Still, I mostly feel bad because I find myself wanting to send presents and knowing I shouldn’t.

I am anxiously looking forward to Sunday, in which I celebrate my birthday and 37 years of stumbling through life in search of happiness. Over the years I’ve had various episodes of sadness, frustration, longing, and a general feeling of being out of place. My “friends” and “family” failing utterly over the years to understand who I am and what makes me tick.

I suppose, I am somewhat to blame being extremely introverted. However, I feel that if I, a person of solitude and reticence can go to the trouble to determine what simple things bring the most joy to the important people in my life, then should they not, if they truly love me, put forth a similar effort? And if they cannot or will not then, it must mean they do not truly care about me.

As miserable as I have been over the years, as lost and misunderstood, I have still striven to find that illusive happiness. It has been tempting, at times, to give up but in the end I always pull myself back up if for no other reason than sheer stubbornness; refusing to let those who don’t care about me crush my spirit. This past year especially has been Hell, having received the ultimate bitch slap directly to the face by my own parents, but I find, much to my pleasant surprise that the lessons I have learned as a result of their supreme betrayal brought a contentment and sublime feeling of joy that I’ve never known before. Despite the misery of the journey, the destination so far has been worth the fight.

I have always loved my birthday, and getting older doesn’t bother me. I am starting to feel a bit more worn down these days, and am sure this premature feeling of aged decrepitness is due more from the aforementioned misadventures than actually being ancient and decrepit. Confident that should prove to be the case, things promise to look up more each day as I move forward. No matter how miserable I may have been from year to year I always looked to my birthday to be a respite, to be reaffirmed that there was a good reason to put up with all the shit sandwiches. The last 6 haven’t filled that need, but I sense that things are going to turn around. I think 37 will be a good year.

Desiring to clear my soul of remaining bitterness, to fill my heart with the joys of giving, and to honor those who have either unwittingly or with deliberate care helped apply an array of delectable condiments to make more palatable the heaping helping of shit wedged precariously upon two tiny, mealy pieces of pathetic sandwich bread that I’ve been dutifully munching recently I’m going to put to action a beautiful sentiment I was introduced to years ago.

When I was in my mid twenties I had a manager who’s teenage daughter sent her an amazing bouquet of roses. I inquired of the occasion, to which my manager replied: “It’s Ginny’s birthday.”

I was confused, “Ginny, your daughter?”

Manager: “Yes. She’s 20 to day.”

Me: “Why were they delivered here?”

Manager, confused: “Because she knew I wouldn’t be at home. She knows I work today.”

Me: “Wait, I thought you said it was Ginny’s birthday.”

Manager: “It is.”

Me: “So who sent you the flowers, your husband?” Figuring it was a thanks for being the mother of our daughter thing.

Manager: “No, Ginny.”

Me: “Ginny sent YOU flowers on her birthday?”

Manager: “Yes. She always gives me a gift on her birthday.”

Me: “Wow. That’s really sweet. Did your husband start her on that?”

Manager: “No that’s just the way she is, she has always wanted me to know how grateful she is that she was born.”

I think it’s a touching story. And while I cannot say I have ever felt such a romance with life so potently that I would presume to honor my mother for birthing me, I do think that I would like to honor the people who have brought the condiments. My parents and most of my family and friends have provided the shit. Thankfully I’ve finally had my fill and driven them from the pantry of my life. All that remains now are the friends stocking the spicy brown mustard, ketchup and the relish.

Thanks. I cannot say how much.

Please tune in each day from now until the 5th for your present in honor of Janie’s birthday.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: