Monday, January 25, 2010
I am playing 'Memoir Monday' hosted by Gregory J. http://daytoday-gregoryj.blogspot.com/2010/01/memoir-monday-leaving-venice_25.html
So, I am repeating a story I wrote about three and a half years ago (for those of you who may be new here) and which I posted about a month ago on my old blog.
This is a true story (one of 'Memoir Monday's' rules) about what happened on the day I turned 40.
Did I mention that I didn't even get a birthday cake???
Oh, yeah. I was fit to be tied for sure.
God help the poor man married to me (are you reading this, Ed?) who overlooks such a big occasion in my life.
'So…This Is Forty?'
Forty. A symbol of the first stages of middle age. People either look forward to it or perhaps some, like myself, are ambivalent about the whole “turning forty hoopla”.
Oh, I can admit now that I bought into it. I went through the whole gamut of emotions from anxiety (“Is that yet another gray hair???”) to girlish enthusiasm (“Yay! I just know I’m going to have the best party ever!!!”), and finally settled on the ever neutral ambivalence.
Pummeling head on into middle-age, I really wasn’t sure what I was expecting. Some great epiphany or clarity? Perhaps I thought I would suddenly be thrust into Tuscany riding on the back of a Vespa wearing a white dress.
However, as I quickly learned, reality, and life’s changes, is not as it is portrayed in the movies and I am not Diane Lane.
A day shy of a month after my fortieth birthday, I lost my father. Instead of fields of sunflowers and sheer lucidity, I instead found myself in mourning. The loss of a parent was more reality and clarity than I had bargained for.
Wasn’t I still too young to be half an orphan? Apparently not. Of course, and just to be clear, forty does not mean that death looms in our midst, but for me that was certainly the case.
On the actual day I turned forty, I kept thinking that I would feel differently, look differently and be treated differently. Didn’t happen. Alas, I was like every other schmuck that day.
What proceeded was instead a normal day in my life where, par for the course, few things seemed to go right; chaos and rushing from here to there, I ultimately found myself lost in the hills, out of town no less, searching for my son’s baseball game.
This is where Map-Quest comes in handy. However, courtesy of our broken printer and, subsequently, my husbands rushed, handwritten directions (who was already at the game waiting for me), I missed my turn. And being one of the few people who did not have a cell phone, I was clearly on my own.
Driving further up a very secluded hill and deeper into obscurity—I was indeed not only lost but I was also now late.
Happy birthday to me.
Only upon hearing the theme to 'Deliverance' in my head did I finally turn around and start heading back down the hill—asking road workers and truck drivers along the way if they knew where this mystery street was. Being met by confused glances and scratching heads was not a good sign.
Oh, yeah—any minute now the confetti and balloons will fall from the heavens in my favorite shades of purple with all my family and friends popping out from the fields, hills, trees and from behind the workers trucks yelling “SURPRISE!” and bearing gifts.
Yep. Any minute now.
Only now I recognize that I was clearly in the early stages of delirium.
Well, I finally got there thanks to a man in a gas station parking lot who not only took pity on this sweaty, shaking and half-crying woman in a state of sheer panic (F.Y.I. nothing says “pity me” like smeared mascara and hair matted to ones forehead!) but who also knew the area and got me on my way.
My arrival was met by my husband who was sitting quite comfortably in a lawn chair, in the shade, front and center enjoying the game that was already in progress, AND who then said the wrong-est words any man could say to a woman in my state; “What took you so long?”
Being more mature (now that I was forty and all), I believe I handled myself with the best decorum I could muster for such a situation as this; I “carefully and thoughtfully” picked a few choice words that I, of course, “quietly, calmly and--eh-hem--privately” flung in his direction.
I then stormed off to my car which was parked next to his, took out a bright green marker from my purse, took out the directions, circled his grossly misspelled street name and clipped them underneath his windshield wiper facing the inside so it would be the first thing he saw when he got in. (What did you think I was going to do with that marker?)
I’m nothing if not calm and rational.
I then proceeded to make the hour plus drive back home, crawled into bed and took a nap.
Forty never felt so good.
Oh yeah, and I got myself a cell phone.