Monday, June 2, 2008

A.v.E . . .

... turned an unspecified age this weekend.

After twenty-one, the birthday celebration begins on a downward spiral. Nick Norby's High Fidelity has always rung true of some eerie accuracy in it's depiction of the single adult's birthday.

I'm a bit of a loser after Terminator 2. It's not four o' clock yet, and I've plowed my way through three great crap videos and the best part of a six-pack, I still cannot shake the feeling that I'm not having much of a birthday. There are papers to read, and compilation tapes to make, but, you know. I pick up the phone instead, and start to organize my own surprise party in the pub. I shall gather a few people together, try to forget I called them, take myself off to the Crown, or the Queen's head around eight for a quiet pint, and get my back slapped raw by well-wishers I never expected to see there in a million years.

It's harder than I thought, though. London, eh? You might as well ask people if they'd like to take a year off and travel around the world with you as ask them if they'd like to nip out for a quick drink later on: later on means later in the month, or the year, or the nineties, but never later on the same day. "Tonight?" they all go, all these people I haven't spoken to for months, ex-colleagues or old college friends. "Later on tonight?" They're aghast, they're baffled, they're kind of amused, but mostly they just can't believe it. Someone's phoning up and suggesting a drink tonight, out of the blue, no Filofax to hand, no lists of alternative dates, no lengthy consultation with a partner? Preposterous.

But a couple of them show sign of weakness, and I exploit that weakness mercilessly. It's not an ohh-I-shouldn't-really-but-I-quite-fancy-a-pint sort of weakness; it's an inability-to-say-no sort of weakness. They don't want to go out tonight, but they can hear the desperation, and they cannot find it in themselves to respond with the necessary firmness.

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