Friday, August 19, 2005

The birthday that I won't soon forget

I had all these plans for my birthday. Outdoors,spirit-chasing solitude and contemplation, cool water, calmness.

Instead I got panic, nausea, a trip to the post office and embarrassment. I also got pampering and a reminder of how great my friends truly are.

To break it down:

Post office: I went to the post office to mail some supplies to myself in Norway. Stuff I couldn't fit in my suitcase. I came out of that deal $100 poorer. I just mailed cereal and shit! My GOD!

Panic: After post office, I decided to treat myself to lunch, then go to Deep Eddy Pool for a dip. I wasn't feeling very active so decided against the Enchanted Rock experience, Aunt Flo coming for her visit on my birthday and I was kind of cranky, crampy and hot. So, on my way to Shady Grove Restaurant (where I was craving a fried chicken salad with honey mustard dressing) something, um, odd happened with the car. Did I mention I am driving an Audi my brother lent me? It's an older model, with a 225,000 miles on it, thought it runs great and has great power. Anyhow, as I drove down Lamar almost to Barton Springs road, acrid, acidic SMOKE came pouring out of the dashboard. Um,...whafuck? Eek! Fire fire fire!!!!!!!

I rather hurriedly pulled into a gas station (yeah, brain wave, that, pulling into a FLAMMABLE GAS STATION when your car could be ON FIRE!) and got my purse and anything I wanted to keep out of the car, and then stood next to the gas pump flapping my hands at the attendant (it was a full service station). He was finishing up with a customer and told me he'd be with me in a minute. I'm all like "Um, my car could be, um, on fire, and um, like, what should I do and do you have water or a fire extinguisher or something?" (flap hands , wave wrists helplessly, look really dumb) but I said this in a really stupid girly voice cuz, really, how do you deal with your car shooting smoke out of most of its major orifices?

He looked at me like "huh?" and then said "Well, we don't do that sort of thing here". And I'm all "Yeah? Like I do car fires regularly myself?" (And in my head I'm thinking "And it's my goddamn birthday and I want to be in the cool water even though I do have my damn period and I'm fat and bloated and my only swimsuit is a tiny black bikini and I WANT MY SALAD WITH THE CHICKEN AND THE HONEY MUSTARD AND MY GODDAMN CAR IS ON FIRE AND DID I MENTION ITS MY FUCKING BIRTHDAY GODDAMMIT?")

He sent me down the road to his buddy at G&A or T&A or some such initials garage. THAT was fun, driving on that busy road a quarter of a mile to a garage, with acrid smelly smoke just wafting everywhere and me thinking I was gonna have to do a dive duck and roll outta the car at any second when it exploded in a Hollywood burst of oily flame. And me also thinking, "Dammit it's my birthday I shouldn't have to do this, am I going to die?, I might be 37 now but that is still too young to die in a horrid car fire and dammit this birthday SUCKS!"

Turns out the A/C shorted a fuse and caught fire, but only in a small, though very smoky way. It melted some other stuff, but from what the very nice mechanic could tell, I'd be ok, just no a/c. I repeat: No A/C, in a black leather interior car, in a Texas August. But the car runs fine, otherwise. If you see me from here on out in Texas, expect sweat, ok? (My brother feels guilty that things always break whenever I get them. He tested the car for weeks before he lent it to me, and it was fine. I trust him, he has no reason for guilt. I am evil. You know how some people kill plants? I kill cars. It's my evil gift.)

I never made it to Deep Eddy. I did get the salad, but they didn't have Honey Mustard dressing, they had Jelly Mustard, which is JUST NOT THE SAME THING AND DID I MENTION IT'S MY BIRTHDAY AND I WANT HONEY MUSTARD YOU YUTZ? And no I don't want Pesto Ranch and what do you have against the classics anyhow?

Embarrassment: After lunch I went to visit my friend Gail who owns a very cool shop called Blackmail. She is very pregnant with twins (and very ready to be done with it) and we were chatting when in walks some guy who wanted to try on a suit. She said hi to him and introduced him to me. His name was Alejandro. Nice guy, all in denim with some kick ass silver and turquoise jewelry on. I, of course, was armpit sweat soaked, with VERY bad hair, a rather odiferous pall of car smoke floating about me, and, as I found out later, a large piece of SOMETHING stuck in my front teeth. You know, my usual glamour. It was Alejandro Escovedo, the very popular Austin musician. (He's been to Norway a few times. He told me he has a sister in law in Bergen.) Why is it that I always meet the rock stars when I am doing something incredibly dorky or looking like a wad of gum on the bottom of a very old pair of sneakers? WHY WHY? When I actually do look good, no one famous is EVER around. That seems unfair.

Nausea: It's been a wierd few days, and after the car panic, and some other stuff that is going on, I am a bit on edge. Julia and Heather got some gorgeous steaks for dinner, for a nice evening of grilling and chatting, and I was really looking forward to it. Then Bookhart came over and surprised me, which was WONDERFUL. I was feeling ready to chow down. But....Julia put that steak in front of me, and I could not even look at it. It was a gorgeous New York Strip, an inch and a half thick and cooked to perfection, and for some reason the smell of it made me want to hurl. I only ever avoid food when I am stressed, and for me to avoid steak? There is something seriously up. It was horrible. Nothing in the world could make me take a bite of the meat. I had to put it in the other room. It was the wierdest thing. That steak is still in the fridge, and it's calling out to me saying "EAT ME! Eat meeeee!!!" and I just can't. What is up with that?

Even though I could not eat the steak, it was so nice to just hang with Bookhart, Lulabelle and HeHe and feel the connections with home and friends. The day started out kinda crappy, but it ended great. Really, really great. The Xanax helped.

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