Birthday Wishes Welcome – But Save the Whistle


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 …

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