My birthday is this sunday.
I will be 32 years old.
And I will not be having any sort of party this year. I have decided that I do not want one.
And before you say or think anything, my decision not to have a party is NOT about my age or about getting older or anything like that.
It's about my lack of friends.
I remember the time a few years back when we reserved like two or three big, giant tables for a birthday party at that beer factory place, Hoppy's, and I told everybody about it and I made flyers and put it in the break room at work and I even passed them out to people. We're talking big, huge, massive family tables. And I told the waiter people that anywhere from ten to thirty people might show up, who KNOWS how many people might be there? Well, it was just me, my wife and Gwen. And then we called Megan to join us so that I didn't seem like such a loser.
Or there was year that we drove to Phoenix and had a big surprise birthday party planned for me with all my old friends. But all my old "friends" ended up being just three people. Great. I spend years missing a city. Turns out the city had completely forgotten who I was.
And then last year I decided to throw a party at my house. But only two people could make it. Two people. Damn. How fucking sad is that?
I would like a huge party. I would LOVE one.
But I'm turning 32. I'm in my thirties now. I mean, look at me. I'm married with a wife and two kids and I'm ALSO married to stressful job where I'm constantly being pushed to my physical limit while having my decisions constantly undermined by a fanatical devotion to corporate rules, a total lack of communication, and a manager that does not fully believe in me.
I blinked my eyes and looked in the mirror and didn't know who I was looking at. I have suddenly found myself to be a grown-up, respectable man in his thirties who wears suits and reads Esquire and who lost all semblance of friendship a long, long time ago.
I used to have friends when I was in high school and in college. And then when I moved to Sacramento I picked up a ton of friends who were with me ALL the time. But I soon learned that they were drinking friends. Our relationship was based solely on drinking. And when I stopped drinking, they stopped being my friends.
I think I used to have friends at work. But work's not the same. Hardly anyone's happy at work now and hardly anyone's truly friendly. We USED to be a family but now it's like we're all being whipped into shape for some reason. Here's a good example for you about how work has changed ... did you know that management is now telling me that my family can't come to store events like storytime? My own goddamn KIDS can't come visit their father and watch storytime! How fucked up is that? But, ahem, I guess that's not appropriate anymore in this new stick up its ass regime. I now have to tell my two daughters why my store doesn't want them to be there anymore. That's fucked up. That's so fucking fucked up. That is mean and cruel. That's not a family atmosphere. And they're not a family to me. They're not even friends to me. No. They're work. They're a job.
The truth is I would love another party. I would. But if I throw another one I'm pretty sure that maybe if I'm lucky one person will show up. And I do not want to once again have that feeling, the "no one wants to come to my party" feeling. So this sunday it will be just me and the kids at home. Maybe a present or two. Maybe some root beer. Maybe some KFC. Maybe we'll go somewhere, do something. I dunno.
But no party.
I don't want to feel like a fucking loser again on my birthday.