Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Happy Birthday! Or as they say in England, Happy Birthday!"

Last night I celebrated my twenty-first b-day in London. It was slightly odd without the company of my family and friends, but I made due with all nice people studying with me in London. It wasn't the first time I had an overseas birthday. I spent the first five years of my life in Japan. From looking at old photos I know my mom, obachan, and "great"-obachan, three generations of Machida women, would prepare an elaborate sushi dinner. My quirky aunt Yuri (who's a Japanese doppleganger of Phoebe from Friends) would pull pranks with me, usually using felt tip marker to ink crude drawings on my ass. She also entertained me by eating our pet Pomeranian's doggie treats. I don't remember if that all happened on my birthdays, but that memory comes from the same place in my head. Alas, as with most of my early childhood, I don't recollect most other memories. I've got photos and shit, but it isn't the same. Ain't fair.

I'm not big on birthdays primarily because the rest of my single-digit birthdays in the States never measured up to the ones my mom threw for me in Chiba. They were never consistently celebrated. I say this very jocularly: the lack of birthday cake traumatized my youth. See, fat kids love cake but they really love birthday cake and since I rarely had any, I cultivated disdain for the date January 18th. Before I developed my unbridled cynicism, I would wake up peppy as mint on my birthday. As an adult, it's usually a ritual on birthday mornings to stare into the bathroom mirror and acknowledge that I'm one year closer to leaving this mortal coil. So I'm a downer; sue me.

I think my anticipation for turning twenty-one fizzled away in an inverse relationship with the rise in prevalence of my underage drinking. Shit, we were copping handles easily as far back as 2004. Partying has become passe. Alcohol is not kind. It's deceitful. It's gotten me to slip my tongue more than a couple of times. Frankly, I liked being 20 better. It was a nice round number.

Thanks to Pat for the 31 flavors ice cream cake. FYI: The ice cream cake in England skips out on the cake component. It's really just one-third of the ice cream tub decorated with frosting.

Thanks to the bakers of 13 Bedford Place. Those were some really good chocolate chip cookies. Appreciated it.

And finally, thank you to the nation of Great Britain for the early birthday gift of alcohol legality. A death-wish in reality.

1 comment:

Cella Babee said...

I am imagining a fat, little Chris wishing he had a birthday cake and I am so sad!