The World As Mare Sees It...
How to Turn 30. 2004-06-09

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This has been over a week in the making...

I really don't ever recall having bad weather on my birthday. Just like it must rain on the May long weekend, and it must snow on the first day of Spring, the 31st of May will dawn bright and full of healthy sunshine, blue of sky and green of grass, and chirping birds that will drive other people nuts but of course have no effect on my poor, broken ears. But chirp they will, because it is, after all, my birthday, and just knowing it makes me happy.

This year, on the 30th anniversary of my birth, the day loomed cold and gray, with just a hint of misery in the air. And then, kind of like a rotted cherry on a pistachio sundae, I found a tiny, tiny, pitifully tiny baby bird on the steps leading up to my veranda. That in itself isn't horrid, but for the fact that the bird looked like it had just come out of it's egg minutes before, it was lying face down and - you'll have to excuse the pun here - spread eagled, and it had quite, unmistakably, undeniably, ungracefully expired.

The bird was dead. The bird was dead on my birthday. This did not bode well for the rest of the day.

So I did what any other normal person would do when it's cold, when she turns 30, and when she finds a dead bird all on the same day. I drank.

I drank while I put together the deposit. I drank while I did some inventory. I drank with my underage employee, and during lunch, we ate birthday pizza, and watched Degrassi High reruns and drank some more. Then, I did a quick trip to the mall with a cousin, because after last year's shoe miracle, I now understand that birthdays carry retail fortune that must be used or be wasted. So I picked up the most darling red purse in the universe. And then we had a drink. (My cousin and I, not the purse.)

Then, my family, along with The Italians that we had staying with us, took me out to dinner at Spuntini's, a restaurant known for feeding celebs on a regular basis. There was a martini and there was wine, and there was Limoncella at the end, and in between, there was eggplants with goat cheese that was so good, an altar should have been built for it. There was carpaccio and fettuccini and tomato pesto and grilled peppers and crème Brule` and and and... God, poppets. I truly pity those who don't have the love of food that I do; it is after all one of the few primal joys we can enjoy to the fullest in public. Really, what's the sense of smushing goat cheese all over your palate if you can't let forth an exquisite moan of pleasure?

So, that was my birthday. There were presents that were chosen with much effort and much deliberation; special gifts that awed me, and cards that were written with the sole purpose of making me well up.

And six days later, my sister arranged for friends to gather for more birthday frivolity that involved mardi gras beads and raw oysters slurped right off the half-shell, and possibly a couple of martinis too many. Also, I tried Bananas Foster for the first time, a dessert I'm also going to put on The Altar of the Taste Bud because Oh. My. God. poppets! It's like... ok, take the best sex you've ever had... and then throw it out the window, because hello! This was so much better!

Later, we all went to something called the Therapy Lounge, which was shmoozy and light and full of people who know how to dress. Everyone was terribly attractive, and the boys all had lovely shirts with disciplined collars and hair that had been tweaked and jujjed to rumpled perfection. The girls were all sun bleached and sun streaked and sun kissed, standing on tiny stems of thin leather ribbons, with nary an unvarnished toenail in sight.

Just before last call, Tie Domi of Toronto Maple Leaf fame walked in, which cemented the bar as A Place To Be. It was a nice little symbolic bonus for me, because I realized that even after I left the bar, even after the birthday celebrations finally wound down, I'd still be 30, and thankfully, I'm very much Where I Want To Be.

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