Friday, February 15, 2008

That time again

One fine February morning in 1955 as Doris was doing the morning dishes, her water broke. My old man was working on the road at the time, so she called the doctor, who came and picked her up and so Doris went on Dr. Stannard's rounds with him, making house calls until it was time to head off to Rutland Hospital, where at 3:00 in the afternoon, I made my debut.

Actually, this was the first in a series of disappointments that I caused my mother. I remember a rather cloying expression of the time, where new babies were referred to as "little strangers". I was more like an unwelcome guest. My mother, who was never terribly enthusiastic about raising children, already had 2 and did not particularly want another one. I gather at that particular juncture, my parents were having a rough time financially. On top of that, if I was going to have the bad grace to come into the world, she had wanted me to be a "Valentine's baby". Being a queen, I arrived late.

I have in the subsequent 53 years had plenty of opportunity to reflect on the ways that this shaky start has influenced my life. A good deal of this reflection has taken place in the offices of therapists. I have come to the conclusion that happy childhoods are not all they are cracked up to be. While I would not wish the living hell aspects of my childhood on any poor child, it has shaped me into who I am, for better or worse.

One way it has affected me, is my relative indifference to birthdays. The other thing is my equal indifference to aging. The numbers don't mean that much to me. During the course of my life the only birthday that bothered me was turning 36. Why, I couldn't tell you now, and I don't think I could have expressed it then either. I am not saying that I don't find some of the inroads of the aging process irritating, mostly that I don't still have the energy level of a 20 year old however things like gray hair and wrinkles are just added visual proof that in spite of the vast reservoir of stupid that I have drawn on over the course of my life, against all odds, I am still here to tell the tale.

If I hadn't been plodding along all these years, I would never have met Wahz or C., 2 of the best friends a man could ask for. Or RG or Mike. If I hadn't been willing to change with the times and start blogging and reaching out across the ether, I wouldn't have had a chance to meet the great people who read this wretched blog of mine and against all good sense have reached out and commented and in a number of cases kept up communications outside of blogging. I wouldn't have met the Farmboyz, or Tater or Gavin who made the effort to come to Boston and I wouldn't have met people like Will or Atari who were right here, but were a part of the background noise of urban life. Come May, I will be getting the chance to meet more of you. As far as I am concerned it's worth a few more gray hairs and a loss of skin tone.

I guess what I am saying is that we are suppose to celebrate our birthdays. Another year has passed full of event. Things befall us, good and bad, and if we keep our wits about us we learn new things and grasp new opportunities. While I am not happy about the encroachment of achy joints and other attendant problems, on the whole, I'd rather be where I am now, rather than where I was 20 years ago.

We all deal with the aging process differently. If you want to bemoan the accumulation of years, I'll listen. I just may not be too sympathetic. We are all headed for the same destination by different roads. I for one am going to try and enjoy the trip, take in the sights and enjoy the souvenirs I have picked up on the way.

BTW, Doris sent me a cake.

Cake update, my beloved Quebecer baked me a cake as well. Chocolate of course. And it was really good!