Sunday, March 28, 2010

Today is My Birthday

Today is the day I turn 21. Now, that may be a huge deal for our Southern neighbours, but for us Canadian folk we get a watered-down version for our 21st birthdays; that is, everyone being vaguely excited and extra celebratory without really knowing why. After all, we've been legally driving since 14, and drinking and voting (not usually at the same time, but you know. Stuff happens.) since 18. So turning 21 is really just another year.
I am not a big fan of birthday's, and especially mine. It's not just the getting older thing, it's the whole "attention-focused on me, and only me" thing. But this year wasn't too bad: instead of celebrating today, we did last night.
It was gooooood. Yes, it deserved the long, drawn out vowel. During the day I went to the new art gallery downtown with M. There was a Degas exhibit (I was a ballerina for 13 years, so I walked the whole length of the room on my toes, in sympathy with them), and a really cool sound exhibit with spooky crow sounds and a gentle breeze that lifted the hairs on your neck.
Dinner out with the fam. Good times.
Went to the Sugar Bowl with K and S and Matt. 3 of us split a giant 2 litre bottle of Grolsh beer, and we had fun just being cool and normal, as I made one birthday declaration: that everyone must pretend it wasn't my birthday, except they could of course all pay for my drinks. Just before midnight we tried to get to the Black Dog, but we were a bit late and us girls were in the loo fixing our hair at the stroke of 12. Oh well, I said, it's no biggie.
Drowned our disappointment with some Slutty Hen's, then Matt wanted to take us downtown to his super secret favourite hookah spot. I jumped at that, because spending my birthday in a shiny club is really not my style. So it was rough and gritty and underground, and on the scary side of town, and just what I wanted: reality, a little adventure, a bit of a thrill. K fell asleep on the opium-den style cushions, while S and Matt and I chatted and smoked long into the night.
Parfait, baby, parfait.

OH! And I got home this afternoon, and sitting on my porch was an orchid in a pot with a card that read:
"Dear Jane:
This is the only card I could find without writing in it.
Anyways, I hope this year will be great! You are
fasmically and awesomely BEAUTIFUL! And never
forget it!"
It wasn't signed, and I don't recognize the printing. I called and texted most of my friends, asking if it was them, but it wasn't...and besides, not many of them would make up a word like "fasmically". I am literally dying of curiosity. I'm pretty sure it's a girl, but of course I have no idea. I hope whoever it was comes forward, because I don't know what to do next: post the question on Facebook? All I want to do is thank them. Because I love flowers. And surprise gifts.

Some of my more memorable birthdays

13th: watched my very first horror movie, Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Seriously it has scarred me for life, and this is the reason why crows freak me out so much. Other birds are fine, but crows...they are just pure evil. (But if you haven't seen it you really should.)

14th: didn't have a party. All my friends were either on the other side of the world, or in boarding school. But I did go out for Chinese food with my family, and got violent food poisoning that night. Ewww.

16th: I wanted it to be sweet, but it wasn't very. It was nice that we were back in Vancouver visiting family for a week, but when I decided that I wanted to go collect golf balls in the marsh behind my cousins house, my mother wasn't happy. 4 of us ended up loosing at least one shoe among the reeds and while we were crying with laughter it soon became clear that we were all in Big Trouble for getting so muddy and hysterical without telling anyone where we were or what we were doing.

17th, 18th: in High Prairie, this little Northern town, with a group of youth volunteering to clean the place up. So I spent these two birthday's scrubbing bathroom floors and painting walls. When I turned 18 though I started my tradition of giving myself a little gift. 18 I had brought an old book with me and early that morning I got up and read for a while and as I read I came across this poem I had never heard of before, Ode to a Nightingale. And I fell in love with it, and later learned it was famous, but at the time I thought it was just beautiful and so "gave" it to myself.

19th: Florence. J and N gave me early birthday gelato in Venice, coconut and some other flavour I forget. It was a surprise, and wonderful. Then on my birthday night we had a wonderfully fancy big meal, with champagne and limoncello that the waiter's gave us all for free because we were beautiful and young. I bought myself a pair of shoes the next day, the softest pale leather, little moccasins.

20th: My first birthday ever spent in this city. My gift to myself was a lazy morning/afternoon, and I spent the day lying on my bed in the sun reading and watching movies. I worked in the evening at the cafe, and after work K and S surprised me and frog-marched me the 2 blocks to Sugar Bowl, because they said I couldn't spend my birthday night alone. We drank strawberry Fruili beer, and made lists of things I needed to do before I turned 21. A week later I had my surprise plane ride.

21st: bought myself a new summer dress. And had bahn mi for lunch. So tasty.


  1. What in heaven's name is a Slutty Hen's?!

    Dang, you guys are missing out. No Year 21 is complete without a completely shameless blowout at the outset. And another thing, Jane! You should really practice being the center of attention/it's-all-about-me-er. It can be awfully fun. Difficult for us shy and retiring types, sure, but awful fun once a year.

    You were a ballerina? I didn't know that! I couldn't walk on my toes to save my soul. Did you enjoy it?

    What's the Black Dog like??? I can't help but be reminded of the Led Zeppelin song...

    Any more leads on those orchids?

    You HAVE had some memorable birthdays. I got to watch Jurassic Park when I turned thirteen. I came rather close to being scarred, particularly where severed limbs are concerned. Then I read the book and forgot the movie ever existed.

    I sure wish I could get free stuff for being beautiful and young, you lucky little...

    You have had some memorable birthdays. Quite a good and somehow familiar post, Jane. I'm off to look up "Ode to a Nightingale" now.

    Oh, and while we're at it, what's bahn mi?

  2. Happy Birthday! I would sing it to you, but heard somewhere it is copyrighted to Mr. Disney...or it was. I don't know who owns the rights now.

    Anyway, how exciting!

    Wouldn't it be great if the person who left the orchid for you turned out to be the special "one". Then you would have that as a beautiful "how we got together" story.

    I hope you have pleasant, trouble free, birthday.

    Take care x

  3. I decline my birthday celebrations for the same reason.

    "Happy Birthday", I whisper in a non-celebratory, no=attention-towards-you sort of way.

  4. You are a lovely writer, Jane Jones.

    I think you are a goof for not liking the attention that come along with birthdays. In this household you have to viciously claw your way to the top of the pack to get some attention. I feel like I just live here most of the time, a silent, hopeless, sometimes kind of grumpy girl in the bedroom on the left. half the time people don't even notice I'm here. This all goes to say that when it is my birthday, I am happy to finally have a reason to have the attention placed on me. I get to request what is for dinner. I get to choose the plans for the day. And I am so okay with that.

    I remember your 16th birthday like it was yesterday! Was that really that long ago? I don't know about you, but I feel that regardless of how much trouble we got in, it was worth it. I have the most vivid snapshots in my head of you all sanding in the mud.

  5. Postman: Ok, so many questions! I'll try to answer them all.
    1) A Slutty Hen is a wickedly sweet red drop-shot that the Scottish bar-tender at the Black Dog makes. The only ingredient that I am sure of is peach schnappes. There is possibly Jagermeister in there somewhere. 2) Yes, I did ballet for a very long time. And I loved loved loved it, it was extremely hard work, and when I was most involved I was dancing 6 days a week. It's funny: I love THAT kind of attention, when I'm on a stage or a runway, but I don't like birthday-attention.
    3) The Black Dog is a pub/bar on Whyte Ave, our artsy/student/hip main drag. It's the second hub our city has, after downtown. The Black Dog specializes in cheap pints, a fabulous patio in the summer, and cool people. It's pretty laid-back.
    4) No more leads on the orchids!!! I have asked EVERYONE I can think of, and people are saying it's a boy's writing, which confuses me even more since I don't think anyone is in love with me right now. The suspense is actually killing me. I don't know what to do next.
    5) bahn mi are Vietnamese subs, with cilantro, some special sauce, and lots of veggies. Very tasty.

    Also, Jurassic Park was a pretty scary movie when I was younger, so I can imagine the scarring potential. Hopefully you are alright now ;)
    And I'm sure you have had some memorable birthday's yourself, Mr. Travelled all over.

  6. Star Child: Hi! It's nice to meet you, especially as you come armed with birthday wishes. Thank you for that.
    Haha, I WISH the orchids were from The One, but somehow the bitter realist who resides deep inside says there is probably a simple, logical explanation, that while boring is probably the most likely.
    But of course, the good thing about NOT knowing who it is is that I can dream and make up that it is actually a handsome foreign prince. Or just a cute neighbour who I never noticed before...

    Jerry: finally, someone who agrees with me! Thank you, I say off-handedly, but heart-felt.

    Jac: Just thinking about that incident actually brings a grin to my face. I can't help it, it was toooo funny, and probably one of my best memories with you guys. And I'm sorry you feel that way in your house, but I'm sure when you want attention you could sure raise hell! And I got my dad to buy grapefruit and avacado, so guess what I'm making for supper??? Haha, love it so much.
    Miss you dahlin'