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07/06/2002

39th Birthday

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Yay. I'm 39 today. I don't feel any different but by society's count I am 1 whole year older today. I'm very lucky to be in the situation that I'm in. I have a wonderful wife, three great kids (well, I'm still not sure about Annie yet, but I have high hopes), good friends, a steady job, a nice house, and I live in the most powerful country in the world. I'm almost positive that if I were born in say, China, and I was turning 39 today, my life might be a little different. That isn't even a real sentence, is it? But really, at this point in my life, what else could I really ask for?

Claudine invited some people over to celebrate my birthday. People were to start to come over at 12 noon. An interesting problem presented itself because if you read yesterday's entry, you'll remember that I was trying to get invited to a different party. And I was able to get invited to the aforementioned party. My brother was invited to this "reunion" party so he called his friend.... who called the guy giving the party and asked if it would be alright for me to attend. So it was cool. I would be able to go and I wouldn't even have to crash. Now the only thing was how to diplomatically leave my own birthday party.

Fortunately, I have the coolest wife in the world. And I think it says a lot for our relationship that I had no problem even presenting the situation to her. But I explained what the deal was and how much I really wanted to go and boom, that was it.

And we had a perfectly lovely time at our house. Sometimes having a pool is a real pain in the butt. But sometimes it really pays off when all your guests enjoy it. I cooked the standard July 4th weekend menu of burgers and dogs. We had a big tub of beer and soda on ice. What's not to like? Except that I had to leave. But I got some cool presents. A 12 pack sampler of Pete's Wicked beers, lotsa golf stuff including a really cool pull cart from Claudine, a nice new Frisbee (175g) to replace the one I lost, a couple of shirts, two gift certificates to Sports Authority and the Simpsons First Season DVD. I made out very well.

But then 5 o'clock came and I figured that I could slip away. It was kind of weird to say goodbye to people as I was leaving. No one really believed me when I said I was going. But when I explained that I was going to a party of people that I hadn't seen in 10, 12, 15 years, they kind of understood. These two parties were so different that I need to mark the difference somehow...


.... ahh, that's better. Thanks for coming down here. Anyway, I had been told that the party was up in New York State, but not too far. So I figured that it was just over the border. In the car, I really took a look at the flyer that my brother had e-mailed me. It was in Kitonah, NY. A location that would require a trip over the Hudson River. George Washington Bridge or Tappan Zee, take your pick. They were both bound to be ugly at 5:30 to 6:00 on the Saturday of the July 4th weekend. On Route 80, the new, annoying electronic signs told me that there was a problem in the Major Deegan and that was causing delays on the GWB. Ok, that decision was made. The Tappan Zee bridge for me. It was ugly. Long story short, I got to this party that started at 2 PM at about 7:10 PM.

But that's not the point of the story so I don't know why I'm wasting our time on that. Here's the real point of this tale: There were a number of people there that I hadn't seen in a great number of years. Including.... her. My first one true love. Ya know that person? The first, sweet relationship that teaches you all about how wonderful and painful love can be? The person who just takes your breath away? The person who you still talk about to this day until your wife is sick of hearing about her (strictly hypothetical, of course. I mean, I would never do that. ha ha, not me, nope). You all know the person in your life that I'm talking about (unless you haven't fallen in love for the first time yet). The person you don't know why you didn't end up with? Well she was there and she looked exactly the same. Of course, she was there with her husband and her two kids. Let me get this straight right up front. I'm completely happy with Claudine. I'm not looking to stir anything up. But that doesn't mean you ever completely get over your first love. Once I saw her at this party, I immediately reverted back to high school mode. I was nervous, I kept shooting glances over at her. I talked to an number of people, neatly avoiding whatever group she was in. And then I said to myself, Dude, (I call myself Dude? How pathetic am I?) you're not actually in high school anymore. And I said back to myself, Oh... yeah, you're right. So I just got up and went over and talked to her. And she didn't recognize me at first. But man, she still had those eyes that could make me melt. And I did my best not to melt. I think I succeeded. The sad part about the whole thing is that I don't really remember what it was that had us split up for good. I can remember breaking up and getting back together a number of times. And it always tore me up inside while she was dating other people. Not that I would let her know this, of course. I can remember her dating a guy named Andy from West Caldwell. And a guy named John from my hometown while she was in college. Now think about this, it's been years since this relationship ended and I still can remember the names and towns of the guys she dated besides me! What can I say, she was the one. And I had wanted to track her down for years but I was always scared to. I wanted to know all about her, I wanted to know that she was happy and that her life was good. She was such an important part of who I am, it bothered me that she still wasn't a part of my life. I realize how pathetic that sounds. It is akin to the "can we still be friends" argument. But this woman was my best friend for years. That Queen song was our song. And I still can't listen to it to this day because of her.

We made small talk for a bit and just then a volleyball game broke out. It wouldn't do to capitalize her time (like I wanted to). Remember, this entire gang that was "reunioning" knew that we were "the couple". I didn't want to be anti-social and ferret her away somewhere while everyone else was actually, you know, partying. And besides, I'm a great volleyball player. But I told her that I wanted to talk to her for awhile. And she and her husband were playing too, so we were joking around a bit while the game was going on. But the game just dragged on and before I knew it, they had to leave. I cornered her again and asked her for an e-mail address. Which she gave to me before leaving (along with a nice hug, I might add). So now I just have to get up the nerve to actually e-mail her. And to see if we can be friends after being so much more to each other, so long ago.

Oh, yeah. After they left, I hung around with Robin some more and we really caught up and just sat around talking like we had been doing it for years. I also spoke with her daughter Renee and her friend Brittany (who I had met the day before). These two girls were just incredibly cool. I also saw a number of people who I hadn't seen in years, but after meeting her, I was kind of in a daze. And besides, the whole point of the second half of the entry wasn't the party, it was the girl.