I turned 36 two weekends back, and I forgot to tell you. Then again, you forgot to wish me a happy birthday, so I guess we’re even.
Now on one’s birthday, one is expected to wax philosophical on the meaning of life and such like nonsense. The reason I didn’t was because I already did all that at the beginning of the month. Which means that I have nothing to tell you now. I’m bila issues this year, at least no more issues than I normally have. I am surprisingly devoid of man drama, thanks to a lengthy purging process, some of it not entirely by choice. There are no men vexing me currently. Well, there’s one, but he’s vexing me in a good way, so he doesn’t count. Get your mind out of the gutter, bloody perverts, I mean vexing in the literal sense, he’s fucking with my head, and I like it. I have no work drama worth talking about, work is work. I have no family drama either, because my relatives have finally given up on me and resigned themselves to my fate as the errant child. Not to tempt fate or anything, but I’m okay, this month at least.
Happy birthday to me.
I went for Karaoke a couple of days earlier, figuring singing is a good way to celebrate the day (because it worked so well last year), and that’s when I made a shocking discovery. Turns out, I can’t sing when I’m sober. Let me rephrase, I can’t remember the words when I’m sober. Yes, the whole point to the exercise is that the words are on a big screen in front of you, but only idiots follow those Made in China lyrics. The rest of us experienced (ahem) types know to sing songs you know back to front, your memory making up for what is often a complete lack of vocal ability. So there I am, early, too early, and on drink number one, and I get called up to sing. I’d picked the song I always pick, because it’s short, and easy, but lo and behold, I couldn’t remember the words. Completely blank. I’m standing there looking at the screen, struggling to recall the melody and thinking, ‘Shoulda had a stiff one first…’ (take that as you will). Worse still, everyone else was sober too, because it was too bloody early, so I know they knew I was making shit up. I don’t know why I keep subjecting myself to mild levels of public shame, I’m starting to suspect I may have masochist tendencies, and not the good kind. That said, shame = free drinks, and I am nothing if not cheap. In fact, I’m thinking of pulling that stunt more often, pity booze is kinda nice, no? Probably not. It’s usually followed by a demand for pity sex, and that one’s kinda crappy.
Slight detour. Remember the dude I hit on last year, the one who lenga’d my vibe with madharau? I will have you know that I did not let that sleeping dog lie. No sir, not at all, I went back and showed him the error of his ways, over a sustained period of three months. You must have realised by now that I can be quite persistent when I put my mind to it, and that bugger was not going to get away with that humiliation of my person(age?). How now? I have a reputation to protect. I plied him with booze (too easy given his fondness for what I consider alcopop), and then I did the gushing female thing, ‘I love your voice,’ said with a suitably awe struck tone (just for the record, I wasn’t lying, the man can sing like a baritone angel. Problem is, he knows it, he uses his vocal chords to funga small girls…), I may even have unleashed some cleavage to get him to focus. And then after all that effort, I realised I wasn’t interested in the man, my only interest was in redeeming my wounded pride. Once that was done, I returned to my normal ways of propping up the counter and ignoring the men looking to funga something, anything I suspect. The moral to this tale? Booze, shameless flattery and a boob are useful seduction tools. Hmmm… Clearly my age has not come with added wisdom. Detour over.
So, I’m sitting there, thinking back over the past year, struggling to recognise the somewhat broken woman I was last July. That sounds dramatic, no? Too dramatic. I wasn’t that fucked up, but I wasn’t all that good either, was I? One year ago, I was drowning my sorrows, trying to see my forest from my trees, or vice versa. This year? I was blissfully sober, drinking white wine, if you can believe it, and generally feeling quite…settled? Who is this woman, man? White wine? In a bar? In the almost local?
Hang on, I need to explain the wine story, so you can properly understand the depths to which I have sunk. I’m a red wine drinker, have been for (too many) years. White wine lacks…balls. I like a wine with a big set of cojones, full bodied and as dry as possible, but smooth, like butter. Problem is, the drier the wine, the worse the hangover, you wake up as dehydrated as a desert, and it gets worse the older you get. A couple of months back, I split a bottle of white with a friend, because she doesn’t drink red, and I’m the booze langa, willing to switch drinks if need be. Next morning, I woke up sans any hint of pain, and this after I knocked back two thirds of the swill. I had a eureka moment, leaping out of bed (more clothed than Archimedes, thankfully) and dancing around with glee. My fellow winos, you who know the pain of which I speak, if you’re drinking and not eating, the trick is to drink sweet wine (apparently the sugar helps), white if possible. Your body can, nay, will thank me later. That said, that white stuff has no balls, its like Ribena, only without the colour. Old age sucks… Let’s continue.
I have become a woman who drinks the mild drink, so as not to hurt the following day. I am the woman who can comfortably embarrass herself in front of friends, and strangers, and not go into hiding for three months (see blog. Yes, this one.). I’m the woman who happily goes home at midnight, despite unnecessary name calling from the drunkards at the counter, because I can’t handle more than four hours in the bar these days, not without greater spirits moving me, and even then, maybe another two hours at best. And when I get home, early and damn near sober, I read a book to fall asleep, a real book, not a book with pictures. I’m no longer the woman looking to lose herself for as many hours as possible, these days it seems I’m happy being me. What the hell is going on? I sound grown up, almost sane. This is horrifying.
Thing is, it also feels really good. It feels like this woman you’re reading, Alex, she’s no longer a separate entity, distinct from the real me, or is it that the real me has finally caught up with Alex? Whichever it is, I don’t feel like I’m pulling in different directions any more, kinda like the many voices in my head have finally shut up. Does this make any sense to you? No? I’m not sure it does to me either. All I want to know is, who the fuck is this woman, and what did she do with the other one (I’m thinking buried in the garden, corpse to be discovered in a few months’ time, minus fingertips and teeth. Stop looking at me like that, I watch ‘Dexter’, I know how to dispose of a body…)? Don’t get me wrong, I like this recently joined woman, only she’s a bit scary in her peaceful quiet. Yes, this is me quiet, and peaceful.
I can see you smirking, you malicious bastards, waiting for the other shoe to drop. No worries, I’m waiting too, suspicious of this recent development. Feels like the calm before the storm, either that or its the calm after the storm, who knows?
I think I’m going to enjoy 36…