Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 was the day that Osama Bin Laden and I both turned 52 years old. (Yes, we were born on the same day and year.) Despite that, and my track record for upsetting birthdays, it was a pretty good day.
My birthday started on Facebook, before midnight local time. One or two overseas friends (in the broader Facebook sense of the word) wished me a happy birthday, and I was amazed. I mean, it's not exactly a secret, and I'm sure I input the info when I joined Facebook. But I didn't exactly go around telling people, and hardly anyone send requests to put my birthday on their calendar app. But you know, it was fine. Better than fine. I got happy birthday greetings on Facebook from two classmates from high school, someone from church, several people I know from Quantum Leap and Doctor Who fandom, a few longstanding online friends, and even people who know me only from Facebook games. Offline, I got calls from my dad, my brother and two people from church, one of whom had no idea it even was my birthday. Typing the words "happy birthday" on someone's Facebook wall is such a small gesture, and not very personal if that's all you say. But combined with the individualized sentiments some of them contained, plus two ecards, the phone calls and an email, the cumulative effect is a big improvement over past birthdays. There have been years when nobody at work even mentioned my birthday until I made a minor fuss late in the day, and one year an office threw a potluck in my honor and forgot to invite me. So here in this period of my having no job, it's heartening that so many people took a moment to extend a birthday greeting, with no social obligation or office machinery in play. Thanks, folks! And no, that does not mean I want you to add to the greetings in the comments thread. I'll just assume you're all glad I had a good birthday, and leave it at that!
And all things considered, it was a pretty good birthday. Although it was broken up with phone calls, I got a decent amount of sleep, had fun online, and went to the dog park as usual. While at the dog park I managed to snap this photo of a large, low-flying plane. These cargo planes or whatever they are fly over Reid Park pretty much every afternoon, presumably on their way to or from the air force base. But I've never managed to photograph one directly overhead before.
After the dog park I went out to dinner with John. I had planned to drag him to Mama Louisa's, but then John Scalzi happened to mention coconut shrimp on his Facebook page. That reminded me of Kon Tiki, a frequent site of Blocher birthdays and anniversaries, if you can call one or two visits a year "frequent." I've written about the place before: it's a genuine 1960s tiki lounge and restuarant, most famous for strong, cheap tropical drinks. The original decor with restored and refubished a year or two ago, and it's looking pretty good these days. One minor disappointment is that the big rattan Addams Family-style chairs have recently been replaced with something smaller, studier, and slightly less exotic.
Another change since we first started going there is in the species of animals to be found at Kon Tiki. Back in the 1990s there were parrots or possibly macaws in the glassed-in room behind the bar, and koi in the pond beneath a little footbridge near the entrance. But the the parrots are long gone, and the lovely tiled koi pond was filled in with concrete a few years ago. But we always peer into the room behind the bar anyway, and tonight John spotted something there - a large exotic lizard!
John wants to wait until the tax refund arrives before spending any money on birthdays, either mine this week or his on the 22nd. Actually the tax refund should be in by his birthday, so it's no sacrifice for him. But I insist on having at least one tangible present on my birthday, something more than dinner, a check from my dad and an Amazon gift certificate from one old friend. Borders emailed me a 25% off one book coupon for my birthday, so after dinner I rushed out to use it. I ended up with Scalzi's novel Zoe's Tale, which I've wanted for many months biut couldn't justify buying under the circumstances. Thanks, Dad! Thanks, Borders!