I woke with a start on the eve of my birthday. It was 4am and my heart was racing. I woke from a dream where the sky had turned inky black and the turreted faux-Dakota building apartment complex across the valley – burst into flames.
Just another Corona dream I thought as I tried to get back to sleep.
Normally, my birthday is a catch up with friends and a family dinner at a restaurant of my choice. Can’t be done this year as we are (still) under Stage 4 restrictions; no restaurants are open and there’s an 8 pm curfew.
Photo by Annie Spratt – unsplash
My daughter turned 21 a couple of weeks back. No party, no carousing and coming home shitfaced in an Uber for her. Instead it was a day where there were delivery guys bearing gifts( mainly booze), a family Zoom session and Thai takeaway. Probably more hurtful is the trip we’d planned later this year to California to celebrate her 21st and a friends 50th has to be put on hold.
I’ve started to say a few times to her, ‘Count your blessings love. We could be a lot worse off. ‘ Then I shut the fuck up as a 21 year old doesn’t want to hear this.
So my birthday? I’ve made the usual list for my disorganised family. I compile a list of around 50 things I like. I provide web links ( I’m helpful) and suggestions. The 21 year old has no job and no cash, so her gift is to be my tech guru and clean up my desktop, sort out some folders and streamline everything.
As for me. I’ll sit back and enjoy the day and the memories of other birthdays – mainly the ones ending in zero. The first big one in London where we had a 12 hour celebration starting at a Covent Garden Bar, followed by afternoon tea at The Ritz, and more drinking at another pub. The birthday in Noosa, where were supposed to go for a long lunch at The Spirit House, but my dearest friend had the flu and couldn’t go out. So very kindly , she had us over to her holiday apartment, where we ate sandwiches and tried not to watch the TV – and failed miserably. This was the 12 September 2001.
Photo by Luisa Denu – unsplash
Ten years later, it was just our family staying at a hotel on the shores of Lake Achensee in Austria. We sat on the lakeshore ringed by gigantic mountains and toasted me. The hotel gave me a bottle of champagne and a voucher for their spa. The champagne was presented me to at breakfast and it was with some difficulty that the waiter was persuaded that I would drink it later in the day. Which I did in my shale oil bath in a tub overlooking the lake.
Photo by elena theodori- unsplash
You’ll notice a common theme here. I always go away for big birthdays. And I have another one next year, where my birthday destination is New York. Of course there is this pesky pandemic issue plus do I really want to go to America? At present I believe that I will be going and that I will be having cocktails at Club Cumming, going to a session of Drag Queen Story Hour and if I am very lucky, attending a taping of SNL (I know that’s never going to happen!)
Photo by Alin Andersen – unsplash
And while today won’t be quite what I had in mind it will be fine. I’m going to get breakfast from Le Cafe Flo , have a long walk within my 5km zone, and then perhaps champagne in the front garden at sunset. I feel my birthday has already begun- a pal who lives in New Zealand called me and we talked about our Corona dreams, antler chandeliers and cuckoo clocks ( she’s just bought one). She knows all about lockdowns so knew not to say too much. That’s a good birthday present.