OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- I rarely remember other people's birthdays, much less my own. One year, I spent my whole birthday thinking I still had a week to go. Then my mother called to ask how I was celebrating the special day.
Usually, somebody calls to wish me a happy birthday. This year? Nobody. No cards in the mail, no voicemails when I woke up this morning.
After years of forgetting my own birthday, everybody else forgot on the one day that I actually remembered it.
I guess that sucks... not sure.
Half of me is kinda-sorta glad. Birthdays don't really mean anything to me. One of the things I've gotten used to, being thousands of miles away from the nearest kinfolk and living alone, is the pointlessness of marking milestones and celebrating holidays by yourself.
But the other half? I've been trying to figure that out all day...
Last night, I had a nightmare. Couldn't remember it this morning. Usually, I remember my dreams, good or bad.
For some reason, I jumped out of bed this morning - 5:30. After breakfast, I did laundry. I drove down to Hamilton, Ohio, and hit the Goodwill.
Two shirts and a pair of cargo shorts for hiking for five whole bucks. Score.
On the way back to Oxford, I hit the state park for a little hiking. Took a long nap on the rocks next to Four Mile Creek.
While sprawled out on my stomach, I tried to remember the nightmare. I gave up, stuck my hands in the cold water, and let my fingers play in the velvet green lining the bottom of the creek...
What the hell's making me so contemplative and serious? Why am I tense and relaxed simultaneously?
Returned home, kicked on the TV, and cooked up some black beans and hominy for supper. I took a long, cold shower to cool the sunburn a bit.
Just another day.
Then I remembered the nightmare in the shower.
Even when the conscious human mind loses track of time, the subconscious mind rarely misses a beat.
Ten years ago, May 20, this was my life. Be warned - the link goes back into a part of my past some people may not want to see. Not a pretty fucking picture.
I got into a rather brutal fight in the waning hours of my 17th year on this planet. I nearly broke a man in half, just before midnight, May 19, 1996. I spent the early hours of my 18th birthday, a decade ago today, in a dirty filling station bathroom, staring into a mirror, fighting some serious inner demons.
A decade? That all happened a decade ago? Damn.
Time flies when you're moving on with your life.
People wonder why I'm not scared of much, why I'm not afraid of death really, why I don't lose my temper, and why I try to steer clear of violent situations. Well, I've seen the ugly face of violence.
I looked in that stainless steel mirror a decade ago and saw hideousness staring back at me. And I decided that I didn't like what I saw.
Memories know no calendar, really. That's why we have a subconscious - backup storage.
Peace of mind is the greatest birthday gift I think I've ever given myself. And given where I've been, what I've experienced, over the last 10 years, I have a lot to celebrate.
When I got out of the shower tonight, I stared into my bathroom mirror and, for once, was proud of what I saw staring back at me. Sure, I'm getting grey hairs on my chin. The laugh lines are slowly becoming crow's feet...
Maybe there's a decent guy in there after all, somewhere in that reflection.
Happy fucking birthday, you bastard. You're still alive and kicking!
Here's to the next ten years.
Fini - Due to my changing job responsibilities and numerous serious personal issues (I’ve been out of work for a month on medical leave) this blog has run its cou...
7 years ago