As previously noted, this Saturday, I turned 26. Or, as I like to think of it, ‘double bar mitzvah’.
A few thoughts on the misadventures involved:
- The birthday weekend actually started Thursday night, with drinks and more drinks at Russian Samovar. Though I haven’t been to that bar for over a month, the bartenders, proprietors, and even piano players all still knew me by name. I take this to be a dangerous sign for the state of my liver.
- The crowd that Thursday was wonderfully eclectic, with two sets of aunts and uncles, friends, colleagues, interns, and ex-girlfriends. It’s always a bit terrifying to see spheres of your life collide, and a wonderful relief when the people you like, like each other.
- Apparently, one of the aunts in attendance got drunk enough to reapply lipstick in the mirror behind her several times, before the other aunt told her that it wasn’t actually a mirror, but a clear glass divider between their table and the next. Hooray for family!
- Another reason to love my family: my mother pre-ordered me a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which arrived early Saturday morning.
- Despite my other engagements during the weekend, I polished off all 652 Potter pages by 7:00pm on Sunday.
- Saturday afternoon, I joined my grandmother at the Laura Pels Theater, for the Roundabout’s new production, Jon Robin Baitz’s The Paris Letter. The play itself was good, though not great; the acting was extraordinary. Also, as two or three friends have previously noted, Ron Rifkin does look a bit like my father.
- I splurged for a birthday dinner of hugely overpriced sushi, a good reminder after a few months of lower-end sushi joints that, at least with sushi, you get what you pay for.
- My great-grandmother, Nana, would buy herself birthday gifts each year, so that she’d be sure to receive at least one or two things she really wanted. I think this is an excellent plan.
- To that end, I bought myself a Nokia 7280, for use as a ‘weekends and evenings’ cell phone. My trusty Treo, which I love to death, is a bit large for casual pocketing, causing me to often leave it behind when heading out for the night. Now, I can switch my SIM card to the Nokia, which has the added benefit of looking alarmingly like a tube of lipstick might in the world of Tron.
- Saturday evening, I took the phone back to Samovar, for a second birthday party. One reason I love the place: we drank eleven carafes of home-brewed flavored vodka; they charged us for four.
- Another gift-to-self birthday present: gymnastics rings. Give me six months of practice, and I should have an Iron Cross.
- Speaking of which, as recently added to the left sidebar, I’m helping to head up a new group-training gym, CrossFit NYC. I showed up to co-lead the Sunday morning class, less hung over than still drunk.
- Also speaking of which, at Russian Samovar on Saturday night, as we were getting ready to leave the bar and brave the stifling humidity outside, I peeled off my button-down shirt, to just the fitted gray undershirt beneath. A girl at the next table, with whom I’d been intermittently flirting, blurted out, “wow, so I guess you go to the gym,” blushing as soon as that popped out of her mouth. It was the best compliment I’ve received in weeks.
- Interesting fact: you know who totally remembers your birthday and sends an awkward email each year? Girls you’ve slept with.
And, finally, a quick birthday history story:
I was born at 2:27pm, July 16th, 1979, at Stanford Hospital. In the State of California, during the first three hours of a baby’s life, the attending doctor or nurse is required to give the baby Silver Nitrate eye drops, to prevent infection. The drops, however, blur the baby’s vision for several hours.
As soon as I had popped out, I started looking around. Taking in everything. The nurse told my parents that she couldn’t bear to put those eye drops in, that she’d wait until the latest moment allowed by law, as she’d never before seen a baby so engrossed by the world, so enthralled by just sucking everything in.
Even in those first hours of life, I couldn’t get enough. I still can’t.