Yesterday was my 67th birthday. Mom told me decades ago that I was born at 10:00 am Eastern Time. So there I sat in Wimpy’s Diner, my cell phone on the table, watching 9:57, and reflecting on 66. Finally the number flipped to 10:00, and a little smile crossed my face. “You’re young at heart, Bruce.” Yes I am.
This may have been the first birthday where no one I’m in face-to-face contact with knows about it. What a strange feeling. I knew that I wouldn’t bring it up in conversation. I’ll just have a quiet celebration … a Boy’s Day Out. So I did.
I enjoyed being at Wimpy’s for the first time in six months. And having a real bacon and eggs, homefries and coffee breakfast. Plus talking to my waitress friend Angie. And reading the sports and entertainment sections of The London Free Press. In the realm of “Pleasant, unpleasant or neutral”, it was a pleasant time.
At one point, I heard singing from the next table. An elderly gentleman was beaming to the strains of “Happy Birthday”. I smiled at him, borrowing a bit of his celebration.
I was alone, a bit sad, but mostly enjoying the pleasure of my company. I knew that around some corner of my future, there’ll be a new loved one, a woman who will be happy to celebrate my birthdays. But she hasn’t shown up yet, and that’s fine. The timing of life is unknown.
I decided to go to a movie at my favourite little independent cinema. It was a love story between a young mom and her five-year-old son. So beautiful in the many moments of contact. Both heartrending and ecstatic, vibrant and tender. Pleasant.
After a quick bite to eat, and further consumption of the newspaper, I just had enough time to drive across London to a cinema complex. I was off to see a blockbuster that came out while I was on the meditation retreat in Massachusetts. It was a shoot ’em up and blow ’em up type film, the latest in a series. Previously I had been engaged with the characters but not this time. Hmm … unpleasant. But underneath the surface evaluation was the sweetness of just being there.
In the evening, I went to a concert – about 50 of us in a comfy old home. Two singer-songwriters were on the bill. I wasn’t liking the music of the fellow who performed the first set. I couldn’t locate a good melody and therefore I didn’t listen to the words. That’s all right. His family and friends were there, and they were cheering him on. That was cool.
For set two, you can pretty much reread the paragraph above. Another guy. Another family. Cool again. Overall … unpleasant music. But I did have a lovely conversation with the couple who shared my table.
So no fireworks on this 67th birthday. I was with myself and we had a good time. Just being out in the world is a privilege. Someone will be smiling back at me on a birthday some day soon. That will be fun too.