My birthday spanned three countries and forty-eight hours. I flew from Cairns to Brisbane, Brisbane to Auckland, and Auckland to San Francisco. I was in the air for seventeen and a half hours. When I landed in Brisbane, I was tired. When I landed in Auckland, I was exhausted. When I landed in San Francisco at ten o'clock in the morning on my birthday, I was as useless as non-alcoholic beer.
My mom wanted to spend the day shopping. I wanted to spend the day in a horizontal position. The word comatose replayed in my brain. For two hours out of the six-hour timeframe my mom had delegated for splashing the cash, I forced my sister and mom to sit with me at Lefty O'Douls. They watched me drink beer and mumble delirious and sleep-deprived nonsense. At one point I talked about obtaining a pet alligator. In retrospect, they would make horrible pets. They're not soft.
My best friend Princess and I have the same birthday, and our moms had organized a birthday dinner for us at Bin 38.
As it was a few days before Christmas, San Francisco was as packed as Beijing. It took us forty-five minutes to get to the front of the line at the Union Square parking garage exit. When my mom reached for the parking ticket, she realized she didn't have it.
"Where's the ticket?" she asked.
"I don't know, you just had it."
"But where'd it go?" she continued.
"I don't know, you just had it!" I repeated.
Amid honks and profanities, we ransacked the car. Three minutes later, my mom sprinted to the payment booth in her heels. People behind us got out of their cars to yell at me. Those in the holiday spirit granted me the double middle finger. We sat in the idling car for nine minutes, never found the ticket, and were late to dinner.
Princess and the rest of our families had been at the restaurant for almost an hour and had eaten their way through appetizers and wine. I wanted to sit for two hours at the restaurant, and then I wanted to go to my girl E's apartment, shower, and sit some more on the couch with friends and Cali wine I hadn't seen in a year. I wanted it more than Christmas.
I sat down with a jet lagged sigh. The food portions were enough to satisfy a gerbil. I had been there for two minutes before Princess suggested we go to Bar None.
I was more likely to experiment with anal beads than go to a bar.
"But I'm going to Bar None to meet up with a guy I'm kind of seeing, and you have to come! We're leaving in fifteen minutes," Princess insisted.
"Um. No. That sounds like an absolutely terrible idea. That's the last thing I want to do."
"But you love Bar None."
"I loved Bar None my junior year of college. Why in the world would you think I want to go there now? I don't want to go to a bar at all."
"Please go to Bar None, it'll be fun! Two of your friends are there."
"Two of my friends are there? Which ones? Why would my friends go to Bar None? We haven't hung out there in three years."
"E and Fi-Town."
"I want to go to their house and shower and then sit on the couch and drink a bottle of wine! And you told them to go to Bar None? I can't even go to their place now? You told my friends to go to a bar? That's the last place in the world I want to go. I've been in three countries in the past forty-eight hours, and on four flights. I'd rather run home to Santa Rosa than go to a bar."
"Just for one drink? Please come out with us! Just for one drink!"
"Fuck no! I refuse to go."
Princess was insistent.
"I refuse to go to a bar just so you can be all over some guy. Two years ago, we lived together and on our birthday you didn't leave your goddamn room. I'm not going just so you can have a hook-up tonight."
Then she called my friends, who were already at Bar None. I told them that I didn't want to go to some bar, and that I'd rather be around only the people I care about. They said I should just come out for one beer, and then we could go and sit on a couch.
I didn't want to go to any bar, and the dinner options were as appealing as the movie Flubber.
The only thing on the menu that was potentially a decent portion of food was the burger. I threw the menu down in disgust.
"Who the hell picked this place? They don't even have real-person portions."
Princess and our good friend from high school had decided upon the place.
"Please come just for one drink! There might be friends of yours who you haven't seen in awhile. Let's leave in five minutes."
"Nobody in their right mind would go to Bar None. I just want to shower and sit on a couch. Not watch you flirt with some guy you probably don't even care about."
Princess cried again. She told me that she had organized a surprise birthday party for me and we were supposed to have arrived there forty minutes ago. She was just trying to make me happy.