Lonely, Nostalgia


This is my second birthday in a row that I have spent in a new place without many friends or family. Last time, I got a chocolate bacon martini and that summed up well the eclectic group of individuals that I had surrounded myself with in strange streets of Seattle. This year I bought a pretzel from a street vendor near Times Square. That also summed up well my experience.

I woke up before noon, excited for what birthday misadventures might take place in the coming 24 hours. Would I pull a Jeremih or might I find myself in an extended search for food/love/excitement only to find that the real adventure was right at home? I have two friends in New York. One worked all day and one goes to medical school. So he also worked all day. I went into Manhattan to see if there was a fun movie playing so that I could pretend I was enjoying myself while the end of my birthday came an hour and half closer. I didn’t find a movie, but I got hungry and got a pretzel.

Buying a pretzel fills me with that same excitement that waking up on my birthday does. I remember being a kid and enjoying pretzels because they were salty and starchy and had fun dipping sauces. I remember being a kid and enjoying my birthday because they included all my friends and fun games like bowling, mini-golf or sack-races. My body and surroundings have changed. After two bites I realize that pretzels are salty and starchy and give instant heartburn. The days when I enjoyed pretzels I was also able to pound down cupcakes while racing. Nowadays I make sure I will be within falling distance of a couch or bed before I eat a meal so that I can take a nap. Walking and eating has become a difficult enough task, but when it is dry compressed carbs covered in chunks of salt, my legs and chest start rebelling against my decision by demanding a break. After scraping off the salt and staring into the last twist of the pretzel, I finally made a good decision and threw away my last three bites.

I wish I had done the same with my birthday.

My childhood joys of unwrapping presents, eating cake and playing games translated to 23 year old me falling asleep on the subway,¬†walking alone in the rain at 4 am, and telling a mildy attractive nerdy girl¬†that I’m too broke to buy her a drink. If I had just thrown away the last couple of hours I could have gone to sleep in a bed, watched some hulu, and masturbated to youtube.

I really want to buy a pretzel.

Why do we remember things so fondly if it only sets us up for constant disappointment? When I turned 6, geese attacked my friends which caused Elizabeth Rockport to leave, I got caught in London’s Bridge falling down which brought me to screaming tears, and my parents served a carrot cake with a butterfly on it which impressed nobody.