My birthday weekend was big. I needed a week to process everything that happened, just because I find myself falling down wormholes of thought about it all. The men, the girl, the game.
Thursday, Dora, Mitch and I all went to Disneyland. I have a friend who works there that gave us entrance for free.
We had the day off, I needed to treat Mitch for taking care of my dogs.
When I told Dora we were going to Disneyland, she screamed and covered her face like she just won something fantastic from a contest she didn’t know she entered. Her dog was so happy, she danced for us. If you ever want to make a 22 year-old girl happy, take her to Disneyland.
We got there, Dora and I both in tiaras, and my friend got us in and gave me a pin that said it was my birthday.
Throughout the day, I was addressed as “Princess” and told Happy Birthday by everyone.
I said to the wenches of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, “Its not technically my birthday until tomorrow. But what the heck.”
Wench #1, “Make a whole weekend of it. Why does your birthday have to be one day?”
Ok, I realize this must sound incredibly dorky of a 34 year-old, prancing around Disneyland in a tiara, (with face paint) (yeah . . . seriously) and being moved and inspired by these little token comments meant for children.
I was going to make a weekend of it. I had a few days off in a row. I was going to do whatever I wanted to do for 4 whole days.
Someone at the end of Pinocchio's Daring Journey said, “May all your dreams come true.”
I said, “Why can’t people say that to each other in the real world? That is such a wonderful thing to wish someone.”
My one requirement is that everyone go through Storybookland with me.
We had those adult kind of conversations while waiting in line, sometimes oblivious of the 4 year-old staring back at us:
Winnie the Poo
Mitch, “I always identified with piglet. Small, timid. And he has a huge cock. That's what I hear.”
Dora, “I always had sexual fantasies about Darth Vader. Something about him . . .”
Alice and Wonderland
Me, “Do you know Lewis Carroll was an opium abusing pedophile?”
(*footnote, new findings suggest Carroll used laudanum, a legal opiate used to treat his migraines)
It’s a Small World
Mitch, “You know, Walt Disney was a huge anti-Semite and that's why Israel isn’t represented?”
Mitch took us all out to lunch at the restaurant on The Pirates of the Caribbean. You know, that restaurant in the dark, where you see people at tables from the ride and always wonder how they got there? Its called the Blue Bayou, you enter through New Orleans Square and its about $30 for the vegan entree.
The waiter was a large, black man named Michael. When he took over our table, I reviewed my menu and then said to Dora and Mitch, “I want a black man for my birthday. I am a princess and that’s my wish.”
Dora, “Oh Jesus.”
Me, “I like the blacks because . . . they’ve suffered.”
Our waiter returned, “So no whip cream on that chocolate mousse?”
I nodded, “Its free with my birthday?”
He smiled and nodded.
Dora said, “You can’t have that! Its not vegan.”
I said, “Fuck it. I am a princess and in a land of suspended reality. I am gonna do it.”
When I finished the entree, Michael the waiter snuck up behind me and said, “Are you ready for that mousse?”
And in a low growl, I groaned, “MMMMMM HMMMMMMM!”
He brought me my mousse, I made a wish and then made love to my mouth for three heavenly spoonfuls. The rest went to Mitch.
At the end of lunch, the waiter said, “Can I give you a hug? You are such a good sport.”
I laughed, and we hugged . . . twice.
When Michael left our table, I said, “He’s gay.”
Dora nodded in agreement.
After Disneyland, we were all going to meet with Rochelle, another Doggie Daycare veteran/employee, at a dive in Los Feliz called the Drawing Room. Her birthday was ending and mine just beginning.
We invited everyone from Doggie Daycare, and I posted a little something on Facebook. No one showed but Mitch, Dora and Rochelle.
I didn’t really care at first. I never have birthday parties because people never showed up in high school, much less elementary school. I just don’t want to have anything to do with facilitating a meeting by popularity.
As the night waned, and I could see the disappointment on Rochelle’s face, my stomach turned at the thought of all the Doggie Daycare parties I forced myself to go to, tired and filthy from work. Some of the people who pushed for me to be entertainment at their parties, didn’t even bother to write a Happy Birthday on my Facebook wall. I tried pushing it to the back of my mind, but that nagging feeling . . . of being the clown and not a friend . . . that got under my skin.
The juke box had “Father Figure” playing, I had a Fat Tire in my hand and I wasn’t going to let anything drag me down . . . except maybe when all your friends go outside to smoke for 20 minutes at a time . . . leaving you alone at the bar.
So, there I sat alone. No text or call from Abe. That got under my skin even more.
It was past midnight now, I was officially 34. There was no kiss. There was no family baked cake. There was no revelation. There was only some old school hip hop playing, a few mildly good-looking strangers flirting with me and another drink in front of me.
So, I got annoyed.
The men who kept approaching me from all ends of the bar, were ignored, cut short or offered some cold conversation to pass my time. I realized I was being slightly bitchy to them. I just don’t need more MEN in my life!
While we are on the subject, there was a guy there. He was slightly bloated, pale, had a beard and was wearing some hip, vintage, army such and such. He had on a military hat the lesbian bartender stole for the evening. He seemed intelligent, with a splash of sarcasm.
I politely answered his questions, but didn’t really dive into who this guy was.
However, Dora came in and got his attention. He quipped to me, “Oh, now you can acknowledge me … ok, I get it.” I didn’t believe I was intentionally neglecting HIM . . . but I just didn’t want to make that night about picking up guys.
I actually had the thought that I would go on a date with this guy, and how he had no idea how interesting and funny I was yet. We were still in that early phase where men underestimate me, which usually gives me some kind of advantage. But Dora got him. She was interested, she made him feel attractive and she got his number.
I was a little bitter about it, even though really there was no reason for those two not to hit it off- other than the fact that he is 15 years older than her, far more educated and experienced and they really won’t have anything in common, not even a radio station. None of that matters to a man in his mid-thirties with a beer belly, all that matters is, how did he put it, “Look at those eyes.”
The feminine guy, who was hanging out in the corner playing all the late 80s hip hop, came up and some how got to spanking me. I really don’t know how it started, but I was determined to get 34 spankings that night. I thought they would come from Dora. Instead, I got about 12 from a drunk stranger before I asked him to stop.
He made a pass at me.
I said, “I thought you were gay.”
He said, “I will show you how gay I am” and then he kissed me.
I said, “Yeah, I still think you are gay.”
He said, “Anytime you want to come over, I will show you how not gay I am.”
I said, “Alright, um, it doesn’t really matter. So you aren’t gay. Doesn’t really make a difference to me.”
He got frustrated and turned away from me.
I was in a shitty mood.
I walked outside and bummed a cigarette off of the Military Hat, 30 something making a move on my roommate. He, of course, smoked the exact same cigarettes as me. At the time, I took this to be a sign that we were perfect for each other. Didn’t he know I can never go on a date with him NOW after hitting on my roommate?
They were “involved” I guess you could put it.
Me, “Excuse me while I find someone a little closer to my age.” And I walked over to the white haired gentleman smoking a pipe on the other side of the entrance. They giggled at my punch line.
I told him it was my birthday.
The Older Gentleman, "What is your birth date? The year?”
I told him, then said, “Are you an astrologist?”
He shook his head and said, “Numerologist. I need your name, first and last.”
I gave it to him and said, “Its 7 and 7.”
Older Gent, “Ah yes, you are an original spirit. You don't even now how original you are, but that’s your journey. You infect the men in your life. You infect them. You show them a world of emotion and life, and they don't know what to do with it, so they try to dominate you.”
Me, “I thought I was just attracted to dominating men.”
Older Gent, “No, they don't know what to do with you, so they try to control you. That’s all they do.”
At this point, two Southern Americans came up to me asking to bum a light. I offered my lit cigarette instead. One of the dirty South Americans pressed his fingers on either side of my butt as he held it up to his fresh tobacco and inhaled.
Me, “Did you wash your hands recently, because your fingers are on my filter.”
He simply walked away.
Me, “You're welcome.”
Older Gent, “The male ego is delicate. Show some compassion.”
Me, “I have lots of compassion. I rescue animals.”
Older Gent, “Having compassion for animals is easy. Having compassion for other human beings is difficult.”
Dirty South American from a distance, “Thank you for the smoke.”
Me, “You're welcome. I am trying to develop more compassion for the male ego.”
Dora jumped in my car and off we went back to Sylmar. I was quiet. I could tell my sour mood made her uncomfortable.
She kept going on about Pot Belly, “He seems really smart, doesn’t he? I got his number. And he has a job, which is good, right?”
I nodded. What a schmuck that guy was. Its not Dora’s fault. We had a good day otherwise.
At the bar, I texted Abe a frowny face.
He wrote back: “I am not having a good week. Call you tomorrow.”
I asked to swing by on my way to San Diego.
He asked why.
I wrote: “Because its my birthday.”
Then I wrote: “FUCK YOU”
He wrote: “Happy Birthday.”
I do adore our little exchanges.
So I got home, packed up and took off around 3am, tipsy from 3 beers and a free birthday shot.
Kids, do not drive drunk.
Adults, have you ever been alone and freaking out on your birthday and all you can think is, “I got to get the hell out of here!”?
I drove and drove and drove, and it felt great. Driving in the middle of the night, wide awake from the sugar in my alcohol and the sting of being alone on my birthday.
Abe texted: “Did you drive down?”
Me, “Yeah, but who cares.”
Abe, “Why aren’t you sleeping?”
Me, “Cause no one loves me.” Hearts.
(footnote* “Hearts” is a highly sarcastic remark the women at Doggie Daycare make towards each other when punctuating an acidic remark, asking one to do their job or simply passing in the break room. Created by: Sasha)
Me: “Happy Birthday to me.”
Abe: “Ill make u birthday breakfast. I have to go to sleep. There is a visitor spot in front of the leasing office.”
I pulled in to the spot and realized I forgot Brad’s leash. The other two dogs were at home with Mitch, the best dog sitter ever. Brad came with me but I left my vegan cookies and his leash at home, along with my toothbrush and socks.
Brad sticks so close to my feet, he would be fine until I found rope or twine to use in its place.
We trudged into Abe’s bedroom around 4am. Brad crawled into bed with us, sand spilled off my socks onto the bed sheet, left over from the same shoes I wore the weekend before and I fell asleep with the grimy sweat you only find on bar stools, smoke in my hair, beer on my breath and my bra still on.
We woke up at 10am and made love.
I had to ask him to make love to me, since he was still in the mindset that I wanted to cut it off, from the whole Hailey situation.
We had sex in the late morning, took a shower and had more sex.
With the daylight burning off my midnight buzz, a headache started climbing up the steps to my temples and forehead. I could feel the heavy foot falls. Shit, I was going to be hung over for my birthday, which is exactly what I didn’t want.
Abe, “I don’t have any money to take you out for your birthday, but I can make you something.”
Me, “That’s ok. I will buy us a birthday brunch.”
Abe, “What are your plans for today?”
Me, “Birthday Brunch with you, then going down to Alan’s, see the Wild Animal Park and hang out in OB.”
Abe closed his eyes. The crease between his eyes grew deep and his hand squeezed tighter around me.
Abe, “You are going to see Alan.”
Me, “Yeah. Just staying there.”
Abe’s face grew even deeper creases and his hand grew even tighter.
Me, “You don’t have to strangle me, its ok.”
I rubbed the crease between his eyes.
He chuckled. Then he briefly looked up at me from my shoulder. That boy’s blue eyes could burn through skin if he wanted them to. It was a knowing look. He knew I was up to no good.
He got up to get dressed and said, “So what’s the next step with our relationship?”
Me, “We don’t have a relationship.”
Abe rose his voice in mid-frustrated-laugh, “Then what is this!?”
Me, “I wanted to have sex with someone I loved on my birthday.”
He laughed again, in outrage and disbelief.
I said, “Disneyland said I was a Princess and all my wishes could come true on my birthday. Its my birthday and I wish to have sex with you and eat some food.”
He said, “This isn’t Disneyland.”
I said, “But its my birthday!”
I took him to Native Foods Cafe.
The restaurant was in a very small strip mall with a kind of modern Ewok feel to it. Speakers buried in gravel along the pathways echoed the ambient sound of frogs and crickets. There was also a doggie boutique and Valet parking.
We got seats outside in the courtyard, shared by a handful of cafes and restaurants. There were heavy, large wooden picnic tables and tall, wood tables with raised chairs along the basic infrastructure of glass walls and wood frames. This was a little spot that wanted to be hip. They called it the Anti-Mall. Hard to believe an ANTI-mall would have an Urban Outfitters not to mention the American Apparel across the street.
I ordered the Vegan Cheeseburger Pizza which was ridiculous. I was fantasizing about it today. Who ever invented the Cheeseburger Pizza needs to shake my hand.
Also, I ordered Vegan Nachos, I got Abe a Bacon Burger (even though he suggested I only order for myself) and a chocolate pie for dessert. I don’t mind paying for things on my birthday. I bought Dora a Little Mermaid Scarf she liked at Disneyland. Now I am buying Abe a burger. It feels good to me, I had a little money, and I wanted everyone around me to have something from me.
We are all poor. Who cares?
While waiting in line to order, a small cluster of OC housewives moved towards my spot in line, looked me up and down and smirked, “Are you in line . . . or . . .” Their eyes crawled up my high tops, skinny jeans and Hollywood Chic sweater.
Me, “Yeah.” I mean . . . obviously.
They rolled their eyes over me again, just so I got the point.
Damn, my headache was getting worse.
The food came out to us and I said, “Can I reenact a moment that summarizes why I hate Orange County?”
Abe nodded at first, until I stood up for my performance. Then he said, “Can I ask you to not ridicule people who may be dining around us at the same time?”
I said, “Oh.” And sat back down.
It was hard to avoid the subject of Hailey. I didn’t want to talk about it on my birthday, but Abe was eager to fight it, take it down and move on as quickly as possible.
I couldn’t keep Hailey off that nice oak table.
Abe, “Don’t let it bother you. Its nothing. Just a habit.”
Me, “How can I not let it bother me? You are looking for someone to replace me? Someone you think is better than me?”
Abe, “Is that what you think? That’s not the case, alright. Its an addiction I have with someone who I think is fucking with me on those CL forums.”
Me, “Have you been on since?”
Abe answered immediately, “No.”
Me, “Not even to write me something?”
Abe, “No, why, did you read something you thought I wrote?”
Abe, “That site is evil. It confuses people.”
Me, “Whatever. I don’t want to talk about this on my birthday.”
Abe, “Its not even sexual its . . . a mystery I am trying to solve from a long time ago.”
Me, “Why would you use the word ‘infatuation’ in your ad? How is that not sexual?”
Abe, “I was using someone else’s words from another message that was posted. That’s all it is, recycling each other’s messages and leaving clues. (silence) Maybe I can start taking percocet.”
Me, “You need to see a therapist.”
Abe, “I just need to fill that part of my brain where the obsession is.”
Me, “Why can’t I fill that part of your brain?”
He closed his head and nodded. I am not part of whatever is going on in there. I believe him that it isn’t sexual. He is decoding something in his imagination, but no one can tell me it isn’t romantic when it has the face of his high school crush over it.
Abe asked to buy me coffee after lunch, since that was something he could afford.
He was clearly depressed. His face was hanging over. He kept repeating that he needed to get a job. He needed to do something with his life.
Something I haven’t mentioned before is . . . Abe believes he may share the same spiritual elements of Moses and/or Thoth (an Egyption god). Yes, he may be slightly insane, but I think we all have fantasies that we are apart of something more grandiose than this life alone.
Months ago, when we drove Dora home, I would say something like, “Abe thinks he is Moses.”
Dora would say, “Oh Jesus.”
Abe would say, “Now I have to explain.”
Dora would say, “No, you really don’t.” And Abe would launch into a big explanation about what he knew about Moses, his staff, his personality and how it somehow clicked with him in the present.
Dora and I joked after that car ride home, that my new nickname is Zipporah, Moses’ Ethiopian wife.
Back to my Birthday:
Me, “Now I know why you were talking about Moses' multiple wives. You are hoping Me, (his best friend before me) Amber and Hailey will all become sister wives. I only hope that I am high enough on the list to be a vessel for your offspring and not just the one you keep around.”
Abe, “I don't think about anything that far ahead. (beat) I am just a waste of life.”
Me, “We really have to work on bringing up your self esteem.”
Abe, “I don't have low self esteem. I smoke pot.”
We pulled into a Starbuck’s.
I said, “Did you know there is no Israel in ‘Its a Small World’?”
Abe put out his cigarette and said, “I guess its a Big World, after all.”
We got coffee and then he took me to this hidden garden close to a park. I don’t know where we were, I think somewhere in Newport Beach.
I followed him down a trail filled with Birds of Paradise and tall walls of green bush.
He kept apologizing, “I thought this was a bigger park. Sorry you had to buy yourself lunch on your birthday and now I am taking you to this little park.”
I said, “Its perfect. I wanted to spend my birthday with you.”
Despite the fact that he betrayed me and broke my heart, it really doesn’t make the love go away. I wish it did, but then maybe we all wouldn’t marvel at the wonder of love. Love is supposed to conquer all, and here it was conquering me. I didn’t mind. In fact, I still don’t.
We went back to his apartment, and he kept delaying my leave to Alan’s.
Alan was cooking me dinner.
I kept telling Alan I was going to come out in the day, but I put it off. I was hung over. I had a head ache and I was cherishing these tender moments with Abe. Blowing off Alan was a bonus.
After sunset, I knew I had to get going.
Abe said, “Traffic is bad right now, you should wait.”
Since I was a Princess, I decided to put on “An Affair to Remember” and eat my chocolate pie.
Abe and his roommate were forced to watch it with me, since it was in their living room. They patiently sat there and watched my Cary Grant movie, one with a dinner of oreos and the other with a 2 foot bong.
Abe, “Did people really talk like that?”
Abe’s Roommate, “What’s so special about her? She seems . . . boring.”
Me, “She’s actually very smart and funny. She challenges him.”
Cary Grant, “There must be something between us, even if it's only an ocean.”
I watched the whole damn thing, and ate that vegan chocolate pie.
Deborah Kerr, [voice shaking, ready to cry] “If you can paint I can walk- anything can happen, right?”
I had a few wonderful tears on my face, and wiped them off my face as I stretched and smiled.
Me, “THE End!”
Both guys looked up at me and smiled.
Abe’s Roommate, got up and with an exaggerated East Coast accent exalted, “DARLING!”
Me, “Oh, its 8:30pm already, I gotta go.”
Abe, “No you don’t. Why don’t you just stay here tonight.”
Me, “I can’t do that, he’s cooking dinner.”
Abe, “Oh, he’s cooking dinner . . . well. Let me make you some tea for the road.”
He made some tea with lemon, and I sat and watched him. I enjoyed making him jealous.
He walked me to my car, and before handing me a large jar of warm, honey colored tea, he said, “I really hope you get to go to the Wild Animal Park.”
We smiled at each other as he closed my car door for me.
I drove to Alan’s.
To be continued . . .