I turned 27 yesterday.
And, while I've never felt "old," this year marks the first time I really realized that time is, in fact, marching on. Maybe it's because I encounter people in social situations that are younger than me when I never did in the past. Or, maybe it's because I have a good 10 to 12 years on most of my co-workers. Or it could be because I blinked and everybody around me is married and having babies.
However, whoever said, "it's all downhill after 25" apparently lived a very different life than mine. I know the difference a year can make at any age. My 26th birthday was the birthday from hell. I had just lost my job a week earlier and I had just gotten back from quite possibly the worst trip to New Orleans ever because of a selfish man that made me feel like crap about myself. I remember quite clearly wailing, "Please don't! It's my birthday!" after he screamed at me for asking him to treat me with human decency then stormed out the door of my apartment. What a horrible experience.
We live, we learn, we forgive, but don't forget and we move on. Time is amazing that way.
My 27th birthday, however, will not be remembered for the fresh wounds of unemployment or callous ex-men, but a few great friends, a couple of perfect evenings and perhaps an abundance of genitalia inspired gifts. Quite the opposite of downhill compared to last year. And, after the past couple of days, I think I still have quite the fun ride ahead of me.
The four of us sat around the table at Extra Virgin, a restaurant in the Crossroads District of downtown Kansas City, with our glasses of wine while our zippy little waiter took our picture. Soon our table was overflowing with Mediterranean tapas complete with hearts of palm and cress salad, chickpea fries and duck neck stuffed with veal and pork. Yes, duck neck. Not to be confused with duck nuts, which is what two of the four mothers who were told this story though we ate that night.
However, a pair of nuts did make an appearance at dinner. When Lacey slid her gift box across the table and said, "Be careful. It's arranged a certain way." I thought nothing of it, until I opened my birthday present, that is:
It's like one of those illusion pictures where you see an old woman or a young woman depending on how you look at it...except it's either two bracelets and a locket or a sad, misshapen penis.
Three hours and three bottles of wine later we continued our tour through Westport, ran into some more people, laughed hysterically, played "Fuck The Pain Away" on the jukebox and congratulated myself for waking up in my bed the next morning sans make-up, dress and heels. This is quite the accomplishment for a birthday girl...or just a plain old drunk ass.
Once I had fought the feeling that an ice pick was drilling through my left eyebrow caused by the 27th birthday drunk fest, enough to function, we had a little family celebration at Mom and Dad's. Remi helped me with the candles:
I requested off work on my real birthday mainly so I could sleep in until noon. Sleeping in is seriously my most coveted luxury.
Then, I soon found myself at my Aunt's house helping my Mom put together a bench...kind of random, however not as random as my mother's gift to me.
I opened a few cards and a nicely wrapped gift from my Aunt, which was a Coach wristlet. I usually just stare and maybe occasionally pet Coach products since I am far too practical to buy them for myself. The fact that the price attached to one of these bags could feed 100 emaciated orphans for six years makes me feel faint, but my Aunt and I have bonded over her Coach collection for many years. Uncle Pete used to buy her one nearly every year for Christmas and that will make me smile every time I carry my Coach bag...if I can ever be courageous enough to take it out of the safety of it's box.
Then I turned to see my Mom's gift next to me on the couch...in a Target bag. Inside the bag was a can of hornet spray and a gift wrapped electric toothbrush. Apparently I have a pest problem and halitosis. She has been talking about getting me a can of hornet spray for quite some time because she read somewhere that it's better than Mace since it burns eyes and can shoot across a room at murderers and rapists. It's purpose is twofold, however, since there is a bumble bee the size of a 757 that likes to hover outside my door, threatening to eat my face. While I'm content to scream like an idiot, duck and sprint down the stairs to get away from it every time we meet, my Mom really wants me to attempt to kill it with said hornet spray...probably because it tries to eat her face every time she comes over. So, intruders of all kinds, beware. The toothbrush was my idea and it's fabulous, thank you very much.
No, but really, my parents are getting me a nice desk to replace my rickety, falling apart one just in time for grad school. I just haven't picked it out yet. Did you really think they just got me hornet spray and a toothbrush for my birthday? Please, I live in Kansas, not...yeah, I'm not even going to say it.
That night, a few of us headed out for Coronas and Taco Tuesday and Kate literally gave me a bag-o-fun that included cupcakes, cotton candy (appropriately from Candy Andy) and cash to my favorite boutique in KC, Donna's Dress Shop. There was also a curious collection of crocheted objects. Let's see if you can identify them:
This is what Shannon Gerard calls the "Four Play Finger Puppet Set" complete with two innies and two outies. A fun approach to sex education. Yes, Kate gave me a little box of crocheted naughty bits — as stated on the box: a tongue, an anus, a penis and a vagina. I almost peed myself in the middle of the restaurant. She posted these on my Facebook wall a while back with a tag that said, "I know what you're getting for your birthday!" And, stupid me thought she was kidding. I'm not exactly sure what my friends are trying to tell me, but it makes me laugh nonetheless.
I sat and pondered for a minute how I could proudly display my handcrafted no-no's in my apartment when my friend Sadie gave me the brilliant idea to stick magnets on the back of them and use them on the refrigerator. YES! So, if you come over to my house and there's a picture of you on my fridge held up by a crocheted asshole, think nothing of it. I still love you.
So, I hope your next birthday is just like my 27th — better than last year's and most importantly, full of happiness and genitalia.