August birthdays are complicated. In fact, to date I've had no more than 3 birthday parties (mostly because no one was ever around). When I was a kid - like many of my 80s-raised cronies - there was none of the crazy birthday parties New York City parents are famous for throwing. Ironically, I was OK with it (yes I still very much a Leo). I was much better at throwing parties than being the center of them; much better at giving gifts than faking that I liked them.
My adult way of handling birthdays is to leave home -- and I have been choosing this avoidance route for over a decade. I like to be off the radar and let it just slip by - the day - without much hoopla. The upcoming 35th year of celebrating my life is no exception; I'm off on a two-week road trip (Chicago to Yellowstone).
I was in no hurry to have a new box to check off - 35 and over.
As a woman with one child, 35 was also that pivotal age that I was worried would send my biological clock into cuckoo overdrive. I've snoozed the clock, but the 3 and a half decades are still visible. The crow's feet, the forehead lines, the life experiences.
I went into Sephora today today for a quick purchase and they looked up my special number for points. As she validates my identity with my birthday - less than two short weeks away - her face looked like she won a Bingo game. In a swift motion, she excitedly pulled out a lime green circus whistle out of her black Sephora apron. She puffed her cheeks, turned a shade of magenta and blew an most obnoxious squeal across the Upper East Side make up store.
People turned my way and watched my face slowly develop a gradient of pink to red.
"Oh, please put that away," I begged, motioning at the small piercing whistle maker.
"You qualify for the free gift," she screamed and pulled out a tiny black box that says Happy Birthday on it in Sephora font. Inside were 3 lip glosses. Score!
I thanked her politely for the gift, smiled and made my way to pick up a prescription at the doctor's office.
While there, I noticed a sign on the wall that said, "Life is a near-death experience, so enjoy it."
Nicely reminded ...
I pull down my pants and begin the squat for the toilet in one fluid motion. As the pee starts flowing, I turn to the right and automatically notice that I only have one square of toilet paper left. In a movement that seems to come instinctively to those born with two X chromosomes, I pull off the remaining swathe of toilet paper and as if choreographed, put on the replacement roll of toilet paper, neatly waiting for its turn from under the sink.
I’m wiping and within seconds, I’m standing and flushing and buttoning my pants. This is also done in a fluid motion – the ballet of taking a piss. (I tried to say this in a more feminine way but apparently failed.)
I realized I was not in a hurry – but nonetheless, somehow I found an opportunity to multi-task.
The double-Xers -- we multi-task.
Designed by biology, mandated by life, and the cornerstone to parenting: the woman’s ability to multitask is essential to the survival of our species. We need to do it all – and must find pockets of time. Taking a piss is no exception.
This realization dominoed into the revelation that perhaps men do not change the toilet paper roll not because they’re lazy – but simply because they focus exclusively on the task at hand. (And we’re thankful for the tunnel-vision problem solvers in the world.)
I thought about the men in my life – the 30-something and the 7-year-old. Both genetically engineered as hunter/gatherers. When they are releasing themselves, neither one of them put themselves on restocking duty – they focus on the task at hand.
I’ve witnessed a routine that usually follows this protocol:
Light on (optional), seat up, unzip, pull it out, let it flow, tuck it back in, zip it up. Seat down. (rarely).
Dudes don’t stand around looking for another task with which to occupy their time while they’re excreting. Eyes focus straight or down, hands at 6 o’clock.
I guess that’s why they created bathroom graffiti …
So I've been busy the last two months.
I've moved - apartment, job, neighborhood ... life rearranged, really. I have been the living epitome of TRANSITION and the last two months, instead of fostering my anxiety, stress, and worry into words on my blog ... I didn't.
So the blog has been lonely and my soul has been carrying a load heavier than it needed.
But alas a writer is a writer, and the words are always formulating into sentences, into stories, into emotions, into clarity, into sanity. I'M BACK.
The longer I stayed away from the blog, the more pressure I put on the Welcome-Back-Me post. I decided to let it go. The "What's Been Up ... I've Moved" (way-too lengthy) post is in fact coming ... but first ...
I found something I wrote a while ago that made me chuckle and decided it was perfect for the first post back. I apologize for its graphic nature, but anyone who knows me, will understand that I have zero qualms about discussing bathroom habits. In fact, I relish in it.
Consider yourself warned ...