Doing battle with daily dragons

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Some Thoughts on XXX

(This is not another entry about sex toys, just in case you were wondering.)

The Rock Star likes Roman numerals. Everybody has a geeky little trick they can do, and that’s his. He can immediately decipher any puzzling formation of M’s, C’s, L’s, X’s in the blink of an I. So when I sighed deeply about turning 30 today, he randily suggested that it was DEFINITELY the best birthday, Roman numeral wise. For the next year, I’ll have the same rating as “Super Butt Sluts” 1, 2 and 3.

So, in honor of this momentous life occasion, I think a Top 10 List of the Most Memorable Life Occasions is in order.

10. Getting born- Cause let’s face it, without this one, it wouldn’t be much of a list. But since I can’t actually remember it, it has to go at the bottom of the list. I’ve always had a bit of a thing about the number 4 because of my birth: Born on the 14th day of the 4th month at 4.44 in the afternoon. So perhaps I’ll need to wait til my 44th birthday for something truly auspicious to occur. On my 4th we had paper flower hats and on my 14th, I think I got a Swatch.

9. Starting school full time- I was in some form of education from the time I was 2 until I finished college at 22. But when the heady days of afternoon kindergarten draw out into the shackles that turn out to be full time elementary school, it’s a bit of a shock to the 6 year old system. You have to endure the horror of the big, yellow bus, (with the horror of middle school kids who, given half the chance, would dangle you out the window.) the cut throat world of the lunch room (did anyone else get milk in little bags instead of boxes? Or was that just my completely brain dead school district?) and worst of all, scissors that you can actually cut yourself with. (But only until the two class fuck-ups, who will retain this title until graduating high school, stab eachother with them and then you are returned to the familiar comfort of safety scissors.)


8. Driving Across America
- I think I’ve mentioned it before, but when I was 8, mom, dad and I went on a monster road trip. The red line on the map was our rough route. To be honest, I’m not sure I could do it today as an adult with nothing to do in the car but stare out the windows. But back then, I could READ in the car without yawning in Technicolor all over the back seat. I vanquished most of the Nancy Drew series and I think one of the Star Trek movie novels on that trip. (I’ve been a geek for a pretty long time.) The most memorable moment was getting caught up in an unbelievable wind storm in the Badlands and having the only tent in the campground that survived, but only because we had a nice neighbor in an RV who wrestled it out of a tree. I think we all slept in the car that night.

7. The First Kiss- A lot of people look back on this moment with a great deal of fondness, and I suppose, from across the expanse of time, so can I. But what I mainly remember is wanting very badly to run away. I don’t know about most people, but I imagine that a lot of first kisses are quite a sweet, closed lip affair. Not so lucky, I. I was surprised by a ravenous dribble beast when I was 13 at performing arts camp. I think today he’s a conductor with a major symphony orchestra or something.

6. The First Real Job- I envy today’s high school students. They have the choice of all KINDS of groovy coffee bars and bookstores to work in. But when the job hammer came down in my house, the only alternative was stamped with the seal of the Golden Arches, complete with megalomaniac managers, late night, violent junkie Big Mac consumers and that one really weird shift guy who used to cut the heads off of the Happy Meal Barbies with the bowie knife he had in his boot and throw them in the drive-thru bags.

5. Graduating From High School
- Over here in the UK, this doesn’t seem to be a very big deal. The Rock Star says they all had a few cups of punch in the student lounge, were handed their diplomas in brown envelopes and told to get lost. In America, the High School Graduation is a thing of mythic proportions encompassing sometimes WEEKS of celebrations. Unlike the UK, we were even given an all-expenses paid, all night “Safe and Sane” party after the ceremony instead of being encouraged to drink until we went blind.

4. Leaving Home for University- 500 miles is a long way from home. (And if anyone says they’ll walk that far and more, just to be the man who walks that far to fall down at my door, you’re in for a smack.) If you want a flavor of the experience EXACTLY, listen to The Dixie Chicks “Wide Open Spaces”. That IS my leaving home experience. My first evening in the dorm, I was sitting on the balcony wondering what I was doing, as a borderline agnostic, at a fairly conservative religious college when a great whooping and hollering erupted from underneath me. It was two naked men with paper bags on their heads and a big sign that said, “Welcome Frosh!” running around the fountain below before disappearing up 8th St. (These two particular gentleman were fairly well known to the local police by the end of their time at university.) I remember feeling then that everything was going to be okay.

3. Getting Married- Anyone who gets married isn’t likely to forget it, for whatever reason. Maybe it was magical and romantic or maybe your nan dropped her dentures in the punchbowl, but whatever happened, you’re going to remember it. For all the silliness and hilarity surrounding our nuptials, the day itself was fabulous. I lucked out in the husband-finding stakes.

2. Leaving the Country- The first question almost everyone asks me is, “Do you miss America?” and I almost always reply, “Not really.” I miss my friends and family, but I suppose America is kind of a big concept. Do I miss warm summer nights in my parent’s garden with the buzzing of crickets, katydids and cicadas and the blinking of fireflies? Of course. Do I miss being able to have a cup of tea with my girlfriends? Immensely. But the whole of America…not so much. England is just as much home as I’ve ever had.

1. Today- I’m a firm believer in trying to make every day the best day of my life. I’m not saying it happens very often, but I gotta keep hoping. Happy Birthday to me.