Not wanting to play
the Birthday Wars game is why I don’t talk about or celebrate my birthday.
Birthdays in the family were celebrated when I was coming up, but so rarely that I learned not to expect or want so as to not feel hurt.
Early in my working career, I found myself celebrating others but the others I worked with were more of the receiving/taking variety, than the giving, resulting in my dealing with the same hurt feelings I experienced as a child until I learned not to expect or want at that level as well.
As I advanced in my career, coworkers were of a higher caliber and birthdays became a popularity contest. Fortunately, my coworkers loved me. I was popular enough that they would take me out to lunch or bring in cake. I enjoyed it, was thankful but, based on past experiences, afraid to be hurt again, I never expected or even necessarily wanted and, at one point in starting a new job, I kept my birthday a secret and have carried that practice on to this day. However, around here, the game is definitely being played.
First was the
birthday party The Seer arranged for Shadow back in April. The Seer went around
asking us all to contribute, which we did, and the event turned out to be a big
Though it was a good
time, I don’t have to worry about putting myself out and spending any money on him again, because the two of them have become so unfriendly and standoffish that
should a party be planned next year, few will bother. I know I won’t.
Not wanting Apache to
feel left out, when his birthday rolled around in May, everyone got together
and made sure he felt appreciated.
At the time, that
included The Seer and Shadow as well because they were all good friends. Shadow
even baked the cake. But now that they’ve added Apache to the list of people
they are unfriendly and standoffish with, I seriously doubt they’ll be another big
to-do for Apache either. That is, unless The Baker or one of Apache’s other
really good friends arrange something.
Not me. Apache and I
are friends, yes, but Apache is very popular, has a lot
of friends. They hang out in each other’s unit, go places together, and thus are
much closer than I, so I don’t feel responsible for arranging the something,
though I will of course attend and give him a nice gift.
This birthday game is
To further complicate
the game is the fact that around here, the seniors go out of their way to let
everyone know when they have a birthday coming up. Like a few weeks ago, one
senior announced it by hanging birthday balloons to her balcony.
And just in case we
didn’t see the balloons, I could hear her announcing it to anyone she saw out
on the property. She caught me the day after, as I was heading to the Laundry
Room, she to church … “Yesterday was my birthday” she yelled out. So, of
course, I had to yell back, “Well, happy birthday”. Even days later, long after
the balloons deflated and were gone, she could be heard saying, “Last Saturday
was my birthday”.
And a few weeks ago,
when I pretended I didn’t hear it, so I didn’t have to get involved when The
Baker announced The Seer had a birthday coming up, Younger Sister saw fit to
say her birthday was also coming up. The Baker planned to make a cake for both
of them. I laid low, so though I’m sure there was a celebration, I didn’t go or
hear how things went.
And yesterday, I get
an email from Apache announcing that The Baker’s birthday is today, Wednesday
The Baker is so
sweet, so giving. She’s always doing for others, making sure everyone is
celebrated (baking cakes, cupcakes) so there are no hurt feelings. She’s even
asked me time and time again if there isn’t something she can make I can eat,
give her a recipe even, so she can celebrate my birthday (Which she doesn't know the date, but thanks to Management posting residents who have birthdays during the month on the calendar, she know nows the month). And time and time
again, I’ve assured her, no thanks, I don’t celebrate my birthday.
At any rate, the
email went on to say that, since The Seer is not speaking to him, and since The
Seer and The Baker are best friends, would I check with The Seer to see if she
is planning to do anything for her best friend.
“Uh-Uh … No … Nope. I’m
not touching that”, replied I.
“Why?”, asked he.
“Because she (The
Seer) is scary now”.
And even though The
Seer is indeed The Baker’s best friend, I assume she’s far too self-involved
these days to be as good to The Baker as The Baker has been to her.
I didn’t say that to
Apache though. I just said, I’d head to the flower shop this morning and pick
up a plant for The Baker, so she’d not be completely hurt if there wasn’t a big
to-do for her as well.
Following up with
that plan, I was in the process of getting ready to head to the flower shop this
morning, when I got another email from Apache.
“How about we
surprise her at Bingo, tomorrow the 6th, with an ice cream bar?”
Since her birthday is
today, she certainly will be surprised, but better late than never and I
thought that a fabulous idea because quite a few residents show up for Bingo, so she'll have a crowd.
So that’s the plan.
Apache is providing the ice cream, I the waffle cones and toppings for a
belated birthday celebration.
Last I heard, there’s
been nothing special going on for she who always makes sure others are recognized and today she’s “not feeling well”. A sign I recognize from my own past experiences, as feeling hurt and let down. She'll feel better after tomorrow and maybe learn a thing or two, as did I.