I have a birthday coming up. This, in and of itself, isn't that big of a deal. The deal is that I WANT it to be a big deal, and it never is. After all these years you would think I would outgrow this, but still, I keep expecting the gesture. You know, coming home from work and finding a chocolate cake with candles. Or coming home and having your family usher you into the two bedroom unit downstairs that has the hardwood floors and the new kitchen cabinets and a real front door with a screen that you can open on stuffy nights onto a little lawn with flower beds with the happy news "Happy Birthday! I rented this for us!"
Ain't gonna happen.
The hubster and I have the same birthday.
I used to think this would be the occasion for a HUGE blowout. Instead, it's more like having a birthday on Christmas Day. Through the years we've tried alternating, sharing and, eventually, just sort of ignoring the entire thing all together. My husband occasionally sends me a free e card, the kids say "Happy Birthday Mom, sorry we're so broke" and that, as they say, is pretty much that. The year I turned 50 I didn't even get the e-card. I thought 50 was a BIG DEAL. People kept telling me about the great fun they had on this landmark occasion. Other people, I think, have more fun than I do. It's times like this I miss my mother, who always got me a birthday gift and didn't make me feel guilty about wanting attention. She made me feel guilty about pleanty of things, but NOT my birthday. This, btw, is a result of 12 years of parochial schooling and NOT nastiness on the part of any one person. Or three. A Catholic education can be a terrifying thing at times.
Well, this year the opening of the big musical show that's currently on tour is on my birthday. This is one of the opening nights we line up four hours in advance for in hopes of snagging free unclaimed tickets and this is "South Pacific" which I've been DYING to see. So my boys and I will, in all probability, be lined up downtown waiting for the freebies. The hubster was invited but is declining, as he usually does. He attends (of his own free will) no musicals written by people who aren't Sondheim and he attends no plays not authored by Shakespeare or Noel Coward. Although, now that I think of it, I think he went to a Tom Stoppard play once. I dragged him to see "Pippin". He didn't like it. I dragged him to see "Applause". He didn't like that much either, having seen Lauren Bacall do it in London and I'm not sure but if Bacall hadn't been in London with it he probably wouldn't have gone to that either. OH wait! He does love "A Chorus Line".
Me? I LOVE Rodgers and Hart. Rodgers and Hammerstein. Jerome Kern, George Gershwin. Lerner and Loewe, is there ANYTHING more perfectly crafted than "My Fair Lady"? Okay, so George Bernard Show had a little something to do with it, the book at any rate. I like Stephen Schwartz and really enjoyed "Wicked". LOVED "Mary Poppins". "Dreamgirls". I love "On the Town" and "Wonderful Town" and "Guys and Dolls" and "Damn Yankees" and "Brigadoon" and "Anything Goes". We all ended up, for some convoluted reason, seeing "RENT" on one of it's tours. I was astonished to find I LOVED it. The hubster spend the entire show with his arms folded across his chest. I'm not sure he realizes how uncomfortable this makes us.
I still don't know why I want the people I care for to get the sort of pleasure I get from these things. My sons love them and happily go, but I would just LOVE to spend my birthday at opening night of South Pacific, all FOUR of us, and have everyone say "WOW, I'm really glad I saw that." But no. Three of us will see "South Pacific" and one of us will play pub trivia. I suppose that's okay, everyone to his own pleasure.
However, this week-end, to assuage my ever morose anticipation of the years piling up and attaching themselves to my fanny, I'm going to take another run at the "Queen of Sheba" cake. I'm pretty sure the egg whites were folded with too much vigor the last time, AND we didn't tilt the pan so the batter clung to the sides and gave the cake something to climb, probably because the slightly over-beaten egg whites that were folded in with such energy gave us a cake batter that was more like brownie batter.
It sure as hell tasted good though.