It’s my birthday today – The Big 3-0! – and all I want to do is stay in my cozy room and have someone bring me milkshakes all day… but the sun is out, my alarm’s going off, and it’s time to get to the office, I suppose.
At least there's something to look forward to: a few friends are dropping by to have a little celebration in my honor after work tonight. Note to self: need to pick up some booze and apps!
As I don my favorite white outfit in the early morning chill, I wonder how it is that Covid somehow gave everyone but me a pass on having to physically appear at work. Unfair! But it’s not going to spoil my day, not today of all days. You only turn 30 once – though, as I check out myself in the mirror, I feel like maybe I’ll be lying about it for the next 5 or more years… lookin’ good, there, you gorgeous creature!
As I dump a pot of water into the coffeemaker, only now does it occur to me that I had already done that last night, to save myself some time. Fantastic. Note to self: need to also pick up some more Swiffer mop pad replacements later on.
No biggie; I’ll just be treating myself to a coffee and breakfast on-the-go today, it would appear. Hey, it’s my birthday, so I should have thought of that, anyway! I grab a white jacket from the front closet and head out, sharply dressed and ready to welcome the adventures of the day!
White’s my favorite color, so it comes as a sad surprise when the drive-through coffee and McMuffin end up in an impressionist design all down the front of my outfit and across the interior of the car after I manage to rear-end someone at a light. It was my fault, absolutely no denying it, but the guy doesn’t have to be this big a jerk about it. I’m already covered in breakfast, for goodness’ sake, no need to rub it in.
Finally I’m on my way again. My perception of the day has dimmed slightly, until I realize I still have the party to look forward to, and things balance out again. True, they balance out with probably several hundred fewer dollars in my checking account after I meet my deductible, but hey, that’s what insurance is for, right?
I arrive at the office only slightly late by 30 minutes, and I’m horrified to my core when Mr. Jansen’s secretary tells me that the meeting had to start without me. Oh no! NO! How could I have forgotten that the pitch was first thing this morning?! Crap crap crap!!
Do I go in, causing an interruption during potentially delicate negotiations? Do I stay out and hope for the best, that they won’t need my particular design expertise to answer any questions?
The fact that I’m covered in breakfast sways me towards the latter, and I slink into my office. My stomach is churning, but, look, accidents happen… and if I had spent any more time exchanging information with that guy in traffic, I wouldn’t even be in yet, so what’s the difference? At least nobody was hurt, and that’s the important part, right?!
I spend a few minutes logging in and straightening various papers on my desk. I do not feel good about this situation, despite my attempt to brush it off, so I pop a couple of tranquilizer pills I keep around for emergency purposes, and I’m feeling better in no time.
My ears finally catch the sound of the conference room door opening and the client being led out. I peer down the hall and Mr. Jansen pops around the corner, beckoning with a two-fingered come-hither. Oh boy.
My car still smells like coffee and McMuffin, I notice, getting into it 30 minutes later. I just need to sit here and breathe for a moment to decompress, but the smell of floor breakfast is not at all relaxing. Note to self: switch to lavender-based drinks.
You know what? I wasn’t in love with that job, anyway. Too regimented, if they can’t even handle a few tardies, and who wants to go into the office anymore? I will find something better, I just know it. I place my box of personal belongings on the passenger floorboard and head out.
Ah, home sweet home, I think, pulling into the driveway. You know what? I should have taken today off, in the first place! I mean, you only turn 30 once – what was I thinking? I could have had the whole day to myself. And look! I have the whole day to myself anyway, so that worked out. Awesome!
Grabbing my box of personal effects, I end up spending the next few minutes gathering them by hand after the soggy bottom falls out. Some of them have soaked up some of the coffee now, anyway, and I suddenly realize I that still need to get to the store, so I just leave them where they are and head out.
The trip to the store and back goes surprisingly well. I’ve found a nice assortment of wine and some microwavable appetizers, plus a small decorated cake. It’s carrying them into the kitchen, and running right into the patch of water from this morning’s coffee pot fiasco, that is the trouble. I forgot to get Swiffer pads, too, I think, lying in a bit of a daze from smacking my head on the linoleum.
Cake is everywhere, but fortunately the bottles of wine and appetizers are intact. I can salvage this. I have roughly 4 hours until everyone gets here, plenty of time to clean. Thank God I had tranquilizers earlier, because this is a time that is trying my soul, to borrow a phrase.
Leaving the cake on the floor to clean up later, I put the appetizers in the fridge and decide what I need is a shower, a change of clothes, and maybe one of those bottles of wine. I just need to relax a little bit, and this will all be better.
Halfway through the wine a bit later, I realize just how wonderfully cozy the sofa is. Remember pillow forts, when we were kids? That was always so much fun, I think, draining the last of the bottle of wine and setting to work.
In no time at all, I have a pretty sweet pillow fort. It’s so dark and nicely comforting in here, no wonder we loved these as kids. I crawl out and grab another bottle of wine, belly-crawling back from the kitchen just like they do in old war movies: this day has certainly felt like a war, so it seems appropriate...
As I squeeze back into my fort, I realize that I just managed to smear cake detritus all over my latest outfit (and the carpet), and it makes me laugh. In fact, I am laughing so hard that I can barely drink any wine. I am sort of laugh-crying at this point and feeling pretty maudlin… but mostly laughing, because what the heck. This has possibly been the worst day ever.
I start to wonder if I’m losing my mind, as I cannot seem to stop laughing... but I'm surprisingly relaxed about it.
Maybe I will just stay here in my fort. It’s my birthday, and if I wanna laugh/cry/drink under a bunch of sofa pillows while wearing a cake-encrusted jog suit, who’s to stop me?!
Some time later, I come to and realize that it’s almost time for the party, which my brain nearly fogged away. I exit my hut to stagger over and throw some appetizers in the microwave; while I somehow manage to avoid the water and cake all over the floor, all of the water on the counter from this morning has apparently shorted out the microwave.
Fortunately, the oven still works, but there are no directions on the box for the oven. This day is exhausting. I remember reading once that you can bake just about any casserole at 350 for an hour, so that sounds right, yeah? I throw the food in and return to my nest. This has worn me out, and I just want some more wine and the dark comfort of my little pillow cave.
I come to again, hearing voices outside my home-within-a-home. Someone lifts the roof tile, and I snatch it down again. How dare they invade the sanctity of my space! I hiss, which makes me giggle, because that was totally on accident and felt completely natural. lol! I hiss a bit more, and it makes me laugh even harder.
I realize, in the dim recesses of my consciousness, that I can smell smoke, and the voices outside seem a little sharp and excitedly elevated. I lay back down, clutching my nearly-empty bottle. Oops, swig: make that my completely empty bottle.
Maybe if I just lay here, they’ll go away. These are my friends: I’m sure they’ll understand.
Someone lifts a roof tile again, wtf. I blearily squint at them in anger, then in wider-eyed surprise, as I realize it’s not anyone I know at all. It’s some guy in a … hrmmm, suit. I can’t recall the name of it. Whatever, guy, if you want that roof tile it’s all yours, I’ll just nestle back a little further out of the light. I scooch back, too tired to hiss this time.
It gets brighter: dangit, they are taking out the fort! “Visigoths!” I try to scream at them but end up slurring nonsense.
Apropos of nothing, the lyrics to "Don't Bring Me Down" suddenly occur to me, and I decide to slur those instead (though, in my head they sound perfect: "I'll tell you once more, before I get off the floor: Don't Bring Me Down!") hahahaha wheeeee!
The whole rest of the day is a blur, really, but it all worked out: I’m in a nice, cozy, all-white room – it’s even a bit larger than my fort, so I have plenty of space to roll around! – and they even gave me a lovely white form-fitting outfit to wear.
Best of all, they bring me milkshakes several times a day. It’s perfect: why didn’t I think of this before?! Happy birthday to me! Note to self: do this again next year for The Big 3-0!