All Saints’ (Birth)Day


‘And the years just keep on coming’

I simply must stop wearing The Child’s discarded Stuyvesant High School tee shirt. It says ‘Seniors’ on the front, and the other day a friend thought I was declaring my membership in an Age Group.

While I’m not at an age where I’d like to blurt out a number (I think you have to be either really young — “I’m 3! Going on 4!” — or really old — “I’m 97! If I make it to June!” — to want to blurt), I do feel okay telling you that it was, in fact, my birthday Saturday. Mainly because it’s over.

It was not a Big Birthday. Just one of those Ordinary Small Birthdays that seem to occur with more and more frequency. I celebrated in fine style by drinking wine in my jammies with The Dude. (Yes, he wore jammies too, with little geese on them.) The picture featured in this post is from last year’s birthday, which happened about ten minutes ago, and wasn’t ‘Big’ either. Though I did get to celebrate it with my Favorite Sister Laura. She gave me that crown, which I still wear. A lot.

Another birthday (actually, it was my Mom’s), another crown. Pretty sure Laura is responsible for this one too

Although the number of candles on my cake would be alarmingly many, had I a cake, I didn’t think I was all that old, not really. But lately Young People have started offering me their seats on the subway. Which is sweet. I guess. If I’m feeling feisty when this happens I like to look down at my tummy and say ‘Oh, am I showing? So soon!’ and smile beatifically in their flabbergasted faces.

Another ‘sweet’ gesture Young People have started making is to ask if I’d like the Senior Discount. Trust me, you museum-admission-girls and movie-ticket-seller-boys, if I want the Senior Discount, I will ask for the Senior Discount. (Note to self: definitely ditch the tee shirt with ‘Seniors’ on the front.)

Don’t get me wrong. There are some good things about being The Age I’m At. Like, I practically never get carded anymore. The last time was a few years ago when my friend Terril and I (hi, Terril!) went to hear a friend play guitar and sing at a little club downtown. The club was near NYU, and was the kind of place where the musician passes a bucket around for donations. It was pretty dark, and I guess they don’t get many ‘over-age’ patrons, because the Very Young Person at the door asked to see my ID. I took my glasses off, pointed to the area under my eyes, and said ‘Here’s my ID.’ Worked like a charm.

The Birthday not at an Italian restaurant, but in Italy. Here I am trying not to look too scared on top of the Duomo

Oh, and at my age, I can pretty much do what I want. I mean, who’s going to stop me if I want to stay up till 2 a.m. sleep-reading*? My Mom? (Well, maybe she could, but she’s waaay over on the Other Coast, and I happen to know she indulges in a little ‘sleep-reading’ herself from time to time).

*’Sleep-reading’: when you’re on the couch holding a book, but your eyes are closed and you’re breathing in regular, rhythmic little puffs. One can also ‘sleep-watch’ a movie. Heaven help you if you’re holding a glass of wine during either activity.

I even have fun at Other People’s Birthdays (like the one above where I “borrowed” my Mom’s crown.) This birthday was where we “borrowed” Dad’s cake

Speaking of doing what you want, you know how some people make a list of stuff they want to do before it’s ‘too late’? And how they call this their ‘Bucket List’? There is even a movie (directed by Rob Reiner and starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, who must all have had big car payments to make) about a Bucket List. Called, unsurprisingly, ‘The Bucket List’. It is described thusly on ‘Two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.’ Sounds like a barrel of laughs.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I already have lists of stuff to do. Called ‘To-Do Lists’. Between you and me, I’d rather cross things off lists I already have instead of making new lists of more stuff to do. So, instead, I’ve made up an Unbucket List. Which is a list of stuff I don’t ever have to do again. Because Life is indeed Short (Sweet, too. But you know that.)

So, without further ado, here is my list. In reverse order of importance, more or less, a la David Letterman, another Midwesterner Not Getting Any Younger. Though he is older than me. And by quite a bit, too.

Lutheranliar’s Unbucket List

10. No more children’s parties. Didn’t like them when The Child was a ‘child’. Certainly don’t like them now. Balloons are involved. Sometimes clowns. Sometimes clowns making animals out of balloons. And there is always shrieking.

9. No more circuses. No, not even Cirque du Soliel. A circus is a circus, even a fancy-schmancy circus in Vegas with a French Name. And I say the hell with it.

8. No more fish. After years of hearing how good fish is for you, and trying my best to enjoy it, I decided that I really can’t stand it. Cooking fish, eating fish, ordering fish: blech. Maybe a scallop now and then. Nah, maybe not.

7. No waiting in line. Or, as they say in New York, ‘on’ line. I don’t care if it’s a movie, a museum, or the not-fish line at Zabar’s, if I have to shift from foot to foot to do it, I’m opting out.

6. No Shakespeare. I know, I know. The Bard is culture. But for me, it’s not to be. Not anymore. I’m all Julius Caesared and Macbethed out.

5. No traveling to countries where they don’t like me. Or where I don’t blend in. Sure, the UK is expensive, but how can you not like a country where everyone calls you ‘Luv’ and where everything you say is ‘brilliant’? (Cabbie: ‘Where to, Luv?’ Me: ‘Heathrow.’ Cabbie: ‘Brilliant!’)

4. No finishing books just because I start them. Sorry, Joshua Ferris, but, as much as I enjoyed ‘And Then We Came to the End’, your latest, ‘To Rise Again at a Decent Hour’, is now a paperweight.

3. No more bad wine. No explanation necessary.

2. No more bad coffee. Same deal.

And in First Place on my Unbucket List?

1. No more spending time with Tiresome People. By ‘tiresome’, I mean the annoying, the depressing, the emotionally needy. I’m a pretty cheerful sort, but there are some people who can suck the joy right out of me. These people have been excised from my life. Which hasn’t been easy. Especially since I’m related to some of them.

Anyway, I’m done ranting away about my birthday and my Unbucket List. I have more champagne to drink. But before I get started, I do have a special Birthday Favor to ask. If you’ve been enjoying my blog, think of someone to share it with  — preferably someone who is not Tiresome. Then share away, by email or Facebook or whatever. Because, as much fun as it is to write these little riffs, it’s a zillion times more fun knowing that people are out there reading them.

Thank you. And cheers! I hope you enjoy your own personal birthday as much as I did mine. Which was a lot.

New York City. November 2014

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18 thoughts on “All Saints’ (Birth)Day

  1. I might be a bit late to the party here, but I love the theme. While I’m a dedicated bucket lister, I have to admit, there is a lot of appeal to recognizing the seemingly endless list of things we don’t have to do anymore.

    • Yes, it is indeed a relief to jettison some of Life’s more meaningless and weary-making tasks. Getting away with it gets a lot easier as time goes by. I guess that’s one benefit to packing on the years (!)

  2. Ruth Meisenheimer

    I know how old you are … The same as my baby sister. That makes you both way younger then me! Happy Birthday!

  3. Linda Fridenberg Hardie

    I am still reading and enjoying also. I will always remember you as from the First Family of Kids my sisters and I met when we moved to what became our northern “hometown” in the year 1960. (Oops, hope this post is “birthday” friendly enough).

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