I notoriously get depressed and despondent on my birthday. I was doing OK for a while there by planning road trips/events around the day to help keep me distracted and surrounded by new scenery, but I didn’t do that this year since we already took an early vacation and, as Henry reminds me constantly, we are not made of money. So then I was going to have a birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant Zenith and I went through the whole Facebook event rigamarole but wound up canceling due to the current state of my family and also because I panicked that my meat-eating friends would hate it there.
I figured I would just wing it, except that from the moment I woke up on July 30, I felt hopeless and confused and at one point Henry had to wrestle a hammer out of my hands so that’s how you know it was my birthday. Once he got me calmed down though, we decided to go to Zenith anyway, for lunch, just me, Henry, and Chooch. No fanfare. We were originally going to try a different place but I just can’t with most vegan/vegetarian restaurants, you know? They can be so pretentious and even though I’ve been a vegetarian since 1996, I still feel like an outsider. Like my hair is too clean and I don’t have enough hemp on my person. However, I have never felt that way at Zenith so even though it felt weird going to the place where my birthday dinner was canceled, I just wanted to be comfortable. Low stress, casual, and I wouldn’t have to plaster a fake smile on my face.
But I ended up smiling a ton anyway because Elaine waited on us and I just goddamn adore that woman and her amazing, quirky, vegetarian paradise of an establishment. She even gave Chooch a sample of the red-cooked black beans before he committed to the Peking-style tacos.
Which he “kind of liked” but decided to stick with the safe bet of pasta primavera instead.
The other guy who works there, I have never asked his name because I’m socially incompetent, noticed that Picky Palate wasn’t eating his pasta so he asked Chooch if he wanted something else, and me and Henry both shouted “No!” because his other option was BBQ seitan which is what Henry and I were completely smashing (SO FUCKING GOOD) but we knew it would be too spicy for him because he’s lame.
Then the guy came back again and said to Chooch, “Hey, I just got some fresh cherries. You want some?” And Chooch, in all of his overwhelming politeness, shrugged and said, “Ok I guess sure?” UGH THE RUDENESS.
He’s making Sour Face but he devoured every last cherry. I love that everyone caters to that jerk. It’s MY birthday, HELLO!
Elaine came over with her phone to show a picture her daughter sent her of the Japanese equivalent of the DMV and it was all bright and shiny with a play area full of toys. Unreal. Get me to Japan.
And then Chooch started raving about how much he liked the hummus and we said we were surprised because he generally doesn’t like anything that’s not cereal or cheese, and Elaine said that she actually hates hummus too and didn’t like it at all until she started making her own! I think she and Chooch would have sat together at lunch of they were classmates because she also isn’t a fan of the red-cooked black beans. (It’s on the menu though because everyone else there likes it and has been a big hit with the customers and I can verify that it was DELIGHTFUL based on the sample she gave Chooch.) She gave us a full container of hummus to take home and I was like HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
That place never fails to make me feel like I could be a functioning part of society because small talk is so goddamn organic there. I’m not even sure if Elaine recognizes me as a long-time patron but that doesn’t stop her from treating me like one.
I don’t regret canceling my birthday dinner though because believe me, I’m not good company these days. Trust.
Then we went to Dave’s and the Attic to peruse the records. Henry found an early birthday gift for Wendy’s baby, Summer:
Gotta teach the young to live the music their parents hate!
(I also hate Meghan Trainor so it was pretty torturous for me to even look at her face while taking this picture.)
Um…then we drove far away to some ice cream place Gayle recommended called Forbush’s (not 4 Bushes like I originally kept googling, THANKS GAYLE).
They do something special there with their ice cream that I can’t remember now, but it’s BITCHIN. Somewhere in between soft serve and hard ice cream, and so stupidly creamy I could have died. I got vanilla cherry because I haven’t had that flavor since I was a kid and since this past year has basically been about inadvertently revisiting my youth, I figured BETTER GO ALL IN.
Chooch standing in a puddle of his tears. Eating ice cream is depressing! All he wanted to do was go home and SLEEP, ughhhh!
I wanted to take a picture of him against a wall but he was being a bitch about it.
“Its my birthday!” I cried.
“And did I take pictures of you on my birthday? No, I did not,” Chooch calmly stated and Henry lost it.
“Touché Amore!” Henry said, trying to be clever because that’s the band we were listening to in the car. Wow, great job knowing how to use that in conversation, Henry.
The drive home was rife with mom-son bickering and SWEET, TASTY 80s girl pop pleasures, like PRETTY POISON and SHANNON. Which transpired into me falling down a rabbit hole that ripped off some pieces of my heart, but that will be a story for another time, because Sharon. Sigh.
Chooch ditched us to go to some carnival with his friend so Henry and I watched old Emarosa interviews and then I played the birthday card to get him to finally hang up some of Chooch’s school pictures that have been sitting in a corner.
AND WHILE THAT WAS HAPPENING Artifex Pereo announced that they’re playing a home town show Labor Day weekend, and it’s an album release party, and I’m like begging Henry to take me because they’re not coming to my shitty city on their tour even though they told Henry at Bled Fest that they were?! And at first he was all combative but now he’s thinking about it. I need an Artifex Pereo do-over.
THEN THE WORST THING HAPPENED: I found out that there is a festival happening this weekend in New Jersey called SADFEST. I can’t believe I had no idea this was happening the weekend of my birthday. I could have been a #sadgirl with all the other #sadkids and had glorious group cries. There is no better day to center something called SADFEST around than this bitch’s birthday. July 30th is basically the soggy hobo boot of all the calendar days.
Ciao for now. :(
P.S. I yelled at Chooch for not getting me a present and he said, in this shit-eating tone, “I gave you love.”
UGH SCREW YOU.