The Princess Who Got a New Stereo

When Asher, my Maine Coon, was alive, Dana and I used to call her “the princess who lived on the stereo,” because we had an old stereo sitting on the floor and Asher would crouch on it as if it was her personal dais…. And now I wait as my new car stereo is installed in Eggsy. I just wanted to upgrade to Bluetooth in the car so that I could talk while I drive to fit in with all the other seemingly schizophrenic drivers in MD. I don’t have much time to talk except when I’m driving, so it will add a lot to my life in terms of having more time to bug Lindsay.

We actually talk a lot when she’s on the way to stuff, too.

She’s the little sister I look up to, because she’s amazing and smart and, last but not least, taller than me.

Today is my 39th birthday, and it’s scary to think that in exactly one year, I will be 40… not because 40 is scary. It’s that I will have four entire decades to look back over… knowing that 1-10 has practically faded away. So far, the hardest bar none has been 10-20, because 10 was when I began to struggle with my sexuality, two years later I met Diane Syrcle, and at 17, I actually had my first real, live girlfriend…. which was amazing and also difficult if you know the climate of Houston towards gay people in 1995.

After high school, things got better, but it really wasn’t until I moved to DC that I started escaping all my Texas demons. The thing about having a birthday on Sept. 10th is that the best day leads to the worst day… and yes, I have read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’ve also seen the movie. As always, the book was better.

The thing about having a birthday on Sept. 10th in DC (technically, Alexandria, VA) is celebrating and waking up to terror. Yes, terrorism, but my own personal terror because I heard it. I HEARD IT. The house resounded with vibration, and then the fighter jets started flying over my house. There was no relief from that kind of sound for days, not knowing if Kathleen and I were safe or not. In effect, it wiped out a lot of good birthday feelings, because at my birthday dinner, I ate some bad clams and got food poisoning. I wasn’t even supposed to be home that day, but I was throwing up my toenails. I worked in Fairfax, at 495 and Gallows Rd. It was a fluke of enormous proportions that I heard it at all. And then I was home by myself until Kathleen arrived, the secondmost scary time of my life, because even though I was close enough to hear a terrorist attack, I wasn’t personally as invested in it as I’ve been enmeshed in grief these last two birthdays.

Losing innocence was bad. Losing Dana & Argo at the same time was worse, because not only did it happen to me, in a lot of ways, I ensured it. So my actions during that time bother me a lot more than my reactions to what I perceive they did to me.

But today is a day of celebration, so I do not have any more to say about that.

I do not have any plans with anyone but myself today, because I didn’t plan anything in advance and Thursday was birthday enough. I didn’t plan anything for today on purpose, because honestly, I like hanging out with me. I’m a lot of fun. Besides, if I go places alone, I am much more apt to talk to strangers, which is the potential for new friends to one day become old ones. So perhaps I will go to a restaurant with a bar so I can sit next to other “parties of one.” It’s my birthday- it may be a Dogfish Head kind of evening… though just one, because I have to get up for church in the AM and more than one means wasting a whole day mired in migraine. I’m already feeling one coming on because I had chocolate for breakfast…. #adulting.

In fact, I had Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies courtesy of my mom, who included them in a giant care package. I haven’t had Thin Mints in years. They remind me of someone very dear to me that I’d loved and lost, so I’d put them away in the memory box of her that lives in my head. Today I realized that all triggers aren’t bad. Sometimes being triggered into a memory of someone is great.


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