Birthday Conundrum

In our society birthdays are meant to be special.  There’s this idea (in theory) that these days are expected to be all about us.  It is, after all, our special day.  Funny how things frequently don’t work out that way.  Rather than taking the day off from work, I’m here staring at grant application materials.  Okay, fine, that’s part of being a grown up.  I’m not accomplishing much, but I’m here.  Kudos to me.  What do I really want to do for my birthday?  I want to be a total recluse and have 24 hours free of other responsibilities (including paying attention to other people), so that I can write my butt off.  Does anybody think that this is going to happen?  Of course not.  Because that would offend the pants off of my entire well-meaning family who wants to celebrate.  This is totally not an issue of my wanting to forget it’s my birthday or not celebrate.  Twenty-eight so isn’t a landmark year.  I’m not old.  I’m not over any hill.  I don’t have any issues with getting older.

I’ve gotten lovely gifts.  Pot bought me a copy of Stiff, which is hilarious.  Another friend bought me The Lake House soundtrack, which is lovely.  I’ve accumulated $80 so far, and I’m trying to decide whether I am going to be responsible and put it in a fund for the new canister vacuum we need, or if I’m going to use it to buy some of the various and sundry forensic textbooks that my friends can’t afford (though they love me) and my family thinks I’m a lunatic for wanting.  Make strides in the battle against dog hair vs. Practical Homicide Investigation, The Crime Writer’s Reference Guide and the Crime Classification Manual.  Hmmmm.  If I can’t do what I want for my birthday, I might as well get what I want, right?  We’ll see how much I wind up with.  If it’s enough to buy the Hoover right off, I may go that route (as the dog hair is pretty bad–we can absolutely identify with Katie MacAlister’s Rancho El Dog Hair), but if it’s not enough for the vacuum…the books are calling my name…  I mean really, what is the point of having an Amazon list of stuff you definitely want if people don’t bother looking at it when they buy you gifts?  But no, so many people get you what they want you to have.  My mother buys me clothes (which after the 70s maternity shirt wanna be she got me over Christmas she should be banned from doing).  My husband buys electronics and DVDs (gifts for both of us really–though he gets major props for the Kitchenaid mixer he got me for Christmas!).  When people ask me what I want, I want to take out a sky writer ad to say “I am a bibliophile!  Buy me books!  Look at my Amazon list!”

I really shouldn’t gripe.  It has been wonderful to be remembered and to be given so many well wishes.  Those are most certainly appreciated.  But it would be nice to be able to do what I want for my birthday for once.

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