Saturday, May 20, 2006

OXFORD CONFIDENTIAL:
It's my Birthday and I'll Have Flashbacks If I Want To...

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.

19 comments:

KFigment said...

Ya know if you ever gave anyone your address then you could get the cards in the mail. I haven't had a chance to talk to you wonder boy has been online checking some things out, that leaves me up shit creek. I miss you and do wish you much love and happiness on your big day. Don't think I am going crazy but I lit a candle for you the other day and said my peace. Your in my head and my heart as always.

cooper said...

As long as the grey hairs are only on your chin you are doing fine. ;)

Happy Birthday Jason.

I think you made it.

Smurf said...

Happy Birthday again sweety! It was great talking with you last night! Sometimes reflections are neccessary. (its still hard to believe you are getting grey, but we are nearing 30, mi amigo, *hugs*, but you also know what... we earn each and every one of them suckers... or so I hear... I am a red head... so I probably won't get them for a while. And Joel had them when we got together and he was 24... so anyways... )

Love ya! (I am glad you noticed that GI Joe E card I sent you as you wrote this post.)

shayna said...

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
You have more grey hairs than meeee....
Happy Birthday to you!

Lots of hugs being sent your way...

BTW... I think you turned out all right! :)

Anonymous said...

i think you turn out wonderful the way you have. your past influenced you but you are definitely better for having survived it. you're a kind, smart, damnsexy guy. you make me laugh even when i'm fucking down in the dumps-that's an amazing skill.

ass tight jeans btw look amazing on you from the back and from the front ;-)
what's in those wranglers?


library card got it. and yea i turned off my phone but they still told me shhh

Happy FUCKING birthday ;-)

~ Jess

LibraryTavern Liz said...

Happy birthday! You once told me in comments on your blog or mine--can't remember which--that I am young and I should quit talking like an old lady. If I'm young, then obviously you are young, too, so quit talking like an old man. :-)

Let said...

As someone who saw 30 come and go three years ago, I can tell you that forgetting your birthday is a good thing Zen. It's when the mirror reminds you that it's bad.

Happy Belated birthday and may whatever you wished for be shared in good company.

Let

The ZenFo Pro said...

Kfig:
Yeah, I guess I am more well-hidden than a Congressional payoff, huh?

Oops.

Thanks, actually. I can use all the prayers I can get :)

Coop:
Um...no comment. Pomade has been very, very good to me ;)

Smurf:
Hey, thanks so much, hon :)

Shayna:
LMAO, thanks. I needed that...

Stupid stubble...at least they kinda sorta look blonde if I close my good eye and squint with my bad one ;)

Jess:
Hey girl! Thanks!

Err...in the Wranglers...um...me?

Oh lord, you're already making friends at your public library ;) Good for you, seriously, on the library card. That's a very valuable tool ya got there, chica.

Liz:
Hey, I never said I practiced what I preached ;) I don't really feel old; just fascinated by the passage of time.

lol, thanks, hon.


Let:
Lol, you're probably right. The mirror I can deal with - it's having the physical reminders (the bad knee, the rough hands, etc) that get me.

Thanks, chica!

Miz BoheMia said...

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!! I can't believe I am late to the party!

I know what you mean about birthdays. I admit to being outright weird about mine. I am not at all comfortable with the idea of "celebrating" myself. I had years of crap ones with my mom. She always got me great stuff but in some way the "burden" that it all was came through and afterwards, while living on my own and then while living with the hubby, I had bad depressions and the like on my birthday. Now, finally, I am over it, I can go out to lunch with Loverboy and the kids and even accept a gift without hyperventilating! Can you imagine? ;-) But yeah, I still refuse to see my family on that day.

I do like myself more now... the peace that comes with finally knowing myself and having found my way is priceless. Here's a toast to you, to the peace you now have, and to more enriching years and beautiful moments ahead!

Besos!

Miz B

EsotericWombat said...

Happy (belated) birthday, dude. Coulda sworn I'd commented when I first saw this.

Hell even I have a gray strand or two on my chin. Nothing to be concerned with

pia said...

Happy birthday a bit late--it's something always worth celebrating

And a little gray is always a good thing on a man, not usually on a woman

And I'm older than you and still waiting for the wrinkles-but they would have been much cheaper than having horrible teeth. So while I take too much pride in my skin, it's balanced...

People always feel that they look their best at 39--so you have a way too go. Read it in People, so it must be true ;-)

snoopdon said...

Happy Burthday Dood!

Leigh said...

Lord, whats all this about your "other" hair I read from Coop's post?

Happy Birthday Jason! Sorry I missed it by a couple days! Hope you celebrated well :)

Kyahgirl said...

wow, happy belated birthday. you're a wise man to acknowledge who you are and who you were and love and accept the whole package. The next 10 will be even better.

G said...

HB, pal.

I'm not the celebratory type with these things, myself - to me it is, really, just another day - one where everyone apparantly congratulates you on having stayed alive another year.

So, in that vein:

Congrats on surviving another year!

;-)

Peace,
G

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday :-)

Yeppers. You're definitely not a Miami guy ;-)

Em

The ZenFo Pro said...

MizB:
Oh...don't sweat it! No party...just a quiet gathering ;)

Your birthday? Why oh why would you ever get depressed? Hell, I've seen pictures, hon. You apparently are getting better with age. And you couldn't be over 25 ;)

Me? Lol...I did some lifting today...a reminder that I have the shoulder of a 90 y.o., the right knee of a mummy, etc...


Wombat:
Hey thanks, man! Caught ya earlier...

Keep pumping the Sabbath and the System of the Down...


Pia:
Hey!!! My dear, this is such a surprise!

Actually, I'm one of those guys who thinks Emmylou Harris gets sexier with age, so I beg to differ...lol...

Lol...oh good luck with the dental work! I've got a filling that was cracked last month...hate the dentist

Hey, my grandmother's been 39 and holding for, oh, about 50 years...I think there's something to that.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Snoop:
Hey dude! Thanks!


Leigh:
LMAO...I dunno...what hair was Cooper talking about...

Oh Cooper... ;)


Kyahgirl:
Oh thanks so much, chica! I'm working on it.

Lol...thank God I don't have those pesky high school reunion things to worry about, too...

I guess I am a man, huh? Damn. Hope I don't have to give up the Legos ;)


G:
Okay, maybe this is a party.

Thanks, man!


Em:
Lol...nope.

Thanks!

zydeco fish said...

happy belated birthday.

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