I laugh at my own foibles. I joked and laughed my way all through surgery and recovery for two broken ankles. As they wheeled me to surgery I put both arms in the air and yelled as if I were riding a roller-coaster. Why not?
I laughed when I was disembarking backwards from the toilet from my wheelchair — I transferred straight forward to the toilet from the wheelchair in Reverse Cowgirl, and then backwards onto the wheel chair. I laughed because one of my surgical boots kicked the pipe loose as I was lifting myself into the wheelchair, and water flooded the bathroom while I tried frantically to wheel out — naked from the waist down — and got stuck at the door. See linked story below.
I refuse to laugh about the mere fact of getting to a certain age because, dammit, it’s serious. Okay, when I say it like that it does sound, if not funny, silly. Still.
I was on the fence about this birthday.
Some of you know I was wishy-washy about my latest birthday. On the big birthdays, I like to run away to foreign places, or places with high vibrations, to reflect, renew, and reinvigorate. Like many of my cohorts here, I’m intrepid.
Running off to foreign lands, or my spiritual home of Santa Fe, keeps people from making all the old-age jokes, or bringing black balloons or birthday cards with gravestones. I didn’t find that funny at 30 or 40 and it’s definitely not funny now.
Why is it in the U.S. we think older people are only good for making jokes about? Sure, we’re funny in our foibles, but I prefer to be funny on purpose, thank you very much.
When my son took pity on me because I felt sad that my travel plans weren’t firming up, and promised to fly in from Los Angeles for my birthday, I finally decided to celebrate. It was time to woman up and face — not the grim reaper yet — the ongoing of my rather remarkable life.
First was a brunch in my former hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. My sister sprang into high gear and arranged reservations for 10 people at Joe T’s, a Mexican food place in the Stockyards since 1935. It has huge patios that make you feel like you’re in Mexico, is wildly popular, and does NOT take reservations. It pays to know people who know people.
The next day I drove back to Austin to have Happy Hour with three of my closest Austin friends at my favorite restaurant, Loro. We sat at the bar where everybody really does know my name.
We are a bevy of beauties of a certain age, and as such can be either delightful or annoying. We were mainly delightful, until the youngest one decided to divide the check, including the tip, which took forever, and adding the tip to the whole was unnecessary, which our bartender Karen told her. I slipped Karen an extra $20 on the way out.
On the day of my actual birthday, my son, my nephew, and my son’s friend took me to dinner at Vespaio, an Italian place where I’d always wanted to go and where the “boys” ordered bottles of wine and appetizers before the main course. We then waddled up to a rooftop bar downtown, where they got free shots because they know everybody, and I had more wine. We wrapped up my day in a lowbrow bar filled with folks my son’s age, where one of his other best friends is a bartender. More free drinks for them, and water for me. Again, it pays to know people who know people.
I had warned everyone about my dislike of typical societal humor about aging. There was nary a black balloon, gravestone, or over-the-hill card in sight.
I’ve climbed too many hills to ever worry about being over just one, anyway.
I felt duly celebrated, loved, cherished, and appreciated. If I was tired after all the festivities, no one knew.
Now that’s out of the way, I don’t have to think about it again for ten more years. And in five, I’m still going to run away to Santa Fe, or to somewhere I’ve never been. Anyone who wants can come along.
This post was previously published on New Choices.
You may also like these posts on The Good Men Project:
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