When I was a boy, …
What? Are you a girl now?
I mean when I was young …
You’re not exactly old now …
Shut up, brain or I’ll stab you with a Q-Tip!
Anyway, snow accumulation used to be one of my prerequisites for a good birthday. It had to be more than an inch. It had to be falling sometime between midnight and 3pm so that I could get some time to play in it. And it had to be natural snow, not man made.
When I was living near Chicago as a small child, this was never a problem. Nor did I have any issues in the Boston area. Ohio was rarely kind to me in that department. And of course more southerly states were often too mild. So I began to re-asses my prereqs.
I hoped to spend time with family or friends. But I soon found that after a hectic holiday season and the return to work or classes, many people were not inclined to have another party.
Sometime in there, whatever fates have decided that my life should be interesting in a Chinese proverb sort of way decided that my birthday should be the best example of that. And so, that day slowly changed from fun and pleasant to “nightmarish cacophany of catastrophies of Buffyverse proportions.”
And then I moved to New Mexico. And the birthdays slowly began to become normal again.
I had few expectations for yesterday. I planned to move some of my stuff to a new place. I planned to finally explore downtown Chicago, the rail system, and other such things. And I planned to take lots of photos of the day.
Instead, it snowed. It began with a light dusting on Friday afternoon but we were starting to see some actual accumulation by the time I went to bed. It really started coming down after I went to bed and by the time I woke up, there were at least four inches on the ground. And it was still coming down pretty hard.
I had trouble motivating myself to begin the moving process and as I heard news reports of accidents, it looked like exploring was out as well.
So I put on my boots and went outside. I cleared off my car. I walked around the neighborhood. I threw a snowball at a tree and surprised a squirrel. I saw fox tracks and rabbit tracks. And I made a snow angel. The snow was not good for packing, otherwise I would have made a snowman or a fort or something.
And I decided eventually that snow or no snow, I was not going to stay at home, alone, on my birthday. I was going to explore, even if it was just the local suburbs. So I got in my car and drove. I found a mall. I found restaurants and cinemas. I found a bookstore and spent hours meandering the aisles.
When I decided to make my way home, the snow had stopped and it was dark. It is harder to find landmarks on unfamiliar streets in the dark. This is doubly difficult when the snow is sticking to the signs and covering the words. I got lost.
Fortunately, my new phone comes with GPS. In general, I do not want to rely on such things. At least not as much as some people do. I know people who can barely drive to the supermarket without a little voice telling them where to turn. But I like the idea that it can tell me where I am. I can still read a map. So i used it to get a fix on my position and Google Maps to work my way back from there.
For my next trick, I am going to try to stop using my phone’s memory for numbers so much and try to use my own.
I got back to the house, and popped in a movie that I had bought myself as a present. Static. D’oh! That’s right, ever since the lab technicians installed a digital tuner, the tv has not been working right. I played around a bit until I could get the proper signal and pressed Play. Success! Ooh. Fixing home electronics. Finding my way around town with a map. All I needed was a football game on tv and a beer in my hand and the metamorphosis into my father would be complete.
I received a few calls from friends and family. One of which made me smile so much that my face hurt. I tried calling some of the people who had not tried to reach me. Not much success.
Then i finished watching the movie, studied a little bit, and went to bed. I was still pretty lonely, and I did not follow a single part of my plan. But it was not a bad day. Maybe not a particularly celebratory one, but not a bad one either.
So, what did I do/get for my birthday? It snowed. And that was alright.