Let me preface this: I moved to this area and have been hanging out with the people I now know for the last eleven years. I sort of fell into this group of friends (who already were pretty tight) quite by accident, but because I am such a great guy (:D) I was accepted very warmly and quickly. Our group has been through periods of ebbs and flows, as most groups have, but basically we all remain a pretty cohesive unit. New folks come and go, others move on with their lives, but the core group is pretty solid. We’ve been hanging out (it seems like) forever, and all share in personal accomplishments and tragedies. (Graduations, births, marriages, and thankfully only a few deaths, etc.)
One friend’s wife is the self-nominated “Birthday Queen” – she remembers everybody’s birthday (she has a calendar and is not afraid to use it), goes out of the way to plan a sneaky surprise party, organize the invites, gifts and decorations, and usually bakes the cake. To include having somebody sneak the birthday person to whatever location has been pre-determined. I am usually roped into being the assistant and either help with the party organization or the actual get-together and attendance. It almost always goes well, and many drinks are consumed. Gag gifts, serious gifts and the usual party hilarity are enjoyed by all. Declarations of great love and friendship are bestowed upon the guest of honor and there is much rejoicing.
Although I sometimes (infrequently) hint about my bday a few months ahead of time, I do not try to get attention by reminding everybody of the actual date and get all needy for attention as it nears. My birthday is 2 January, and most folks are usually still recovering from the holiday festivities and family activities. I can understand that. What I do not understand is that never, I say **NEVER **in eleven years, has any of these friends ever made a big deal about my birthday. The effort that is put forth in February, April, June, August, September, November or even early December (the other friends’ birthdays) has not been made during the entire time I have known these people. This year was no different.
So here I am, one hour after the end of my special day, and here’s the response: One email, two text messages (the second arriving at 11:40 PM), one MySpace message and one person who came to my apt to borrow money saying “oh, by the way, happy birthday. Can I borrow $50 to cover my rent?” (I did get a phone call from The Giver Of Life (Mom), but I was at the doctor’s office and couldn’t speak at length. I plan to call her tomorrow.) No gifts, no visitors (other than the money-needing mooch), no take-the-birthday-boy-to-dinner (on a Friday night, so there’s no conflict with work in the morning). That’s it.
I’ve got nothing else. Just pity venting, I guess. I realize that most adults don’t consider birthdays to be as important as when you were a kid, and as an adult they tend to be mere ‘dates on the calendar’ than ‘events’, but it would be nice to know that the people that I help to be involved in the ‘big deal’ that is their birthdays and the effort, time and money involved that maybe somebody would make the same effort for me.
Somebody call the Waaah-bulance. I’ll be at the bar.