breakfast on her birthday

I guess you could say that I feel bad eating this delicious breakfast at my desk. For one, I’m not sure if the smell of my cooking is exactly up my neighbors’ various alleys. I tend to make regular meals a little livelier with spices and such, and sometimes the aromas are semi-universal and received with ooh-what-is-thats or you’re-making-me-hungries, but other times I think coworkers, in particular those who bring frozen waffles to eat, are rather put off. Black refried beans, I realize, are not common additions to North American breakfast, let alone seasoned with cayenne and cumin. And the garlic bell pepper salsa could strike one as insipid at 9am where I would find it simply piquant.

But we are off track now.

I feel bad eating this delicious breakfast at my desk at 9am because it’s A’s birthday. You see, she would have enjoyed this breakfast a great deal, and I would have loved nothing more than to bring it to her at the moment she first stirred from her peaceful, rainy-day slumber. Leaving her this morning was almost painful. While I did have time to snuggle her up and offer a birthday paw (the most severe gesture of affection a bear can offer) I also felt like there should have been more. Flowers in the kitchen… a card on the pillow, etc. Not because these things are really important, but this is the first time in a relationship I have actually thought about these things as true gestures of my appreciation for someone. Far beyond any obligation. In years past, I would have done such things to make myself look good; to make them love me. Now I know I am loved and accepted and want to offer such gestures for no other reason than to make her feel good, because I love her.

We are in our mid and late twenties, A and I. We have seen this year how birthdays, along with people, grow up. I let my last birthday slip past quietly. Previously I would have wanted a party, but who would I invite? I’m coming to that place I never thought I’d come to. A place I have judged others for. Now I’m seeing that as you grow up, those friends of yours choosing not to, well, they stay ‘back there’ and you go ‘ahead.’ It’s not nearly as sad as I would have imagined. I find that, as much as I once appreciated some friends, I don’t get the same personal satisfaction from their interactions. They lean too far to one side of the social pleasure spectrum for me to relate anymore. I am thinking of course, of those people in my phone book that I have not called in months… years. I haven’t called them because conversations would go something like this:

Hey, how’s it going, what’s new?

I’m at the bar with such and such getting shitty

Oh, cool. So what are you up to these days?

I’m working at a bar and basically when I’m not at work I’m partying or playing video games

Neat… well, just called to say hi, have fun.

hell yeah

Notice how the other person did not ask what I was up to. Had they asked I would have told them “I’m working full time for a non-profit that serves as a liaison between state and local government and providers of childcare. Also, I am still going to school and chipping away at that Ph.D. I hope to get some day. Oh, and A and I are planning to have a child in the near future.” To which my previous partner in chat would have replied with “you’re shitting me dawg” or, “what the hell are you talking about, you’re coming down to the bar to get drunk, Nancy.”

Now, I’m not saying that working at a bar and not having children is some kind of inferior life. This is not a right or wrong blog. I’m just reflecting on all the growing up I’ve done recently. By recently I mean, in the last eight months. I feel sexier kissing A goodbye and strutting out of the bedroom in the morning in my dress clothes headed to the office, breakfast in hand, than I ever did in any other era of my life that society would consider far sexier. Someday I’m supposed to have a midlife crisis about it. I can’t see it.


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August 2008
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