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My favourite comment from yesterday came from delilah_noone who, when she saw me, said, "Is it really your birthday?"

It made me laugh 'cause who lies about their birthday? I had this image of a whole heap of her friends coming up to her through her life and saying, "Today's my birthday... no, wait, tomorrow." And then repeating the same thing every month except for August, where strangely no one had a birthday, but there were a lot of parties she wasn't invited to. I guess maybe there are people who do lie about birthdays to get more shit and attention, or whatever it is that you get on that day, but I've always found the whole thing oddly traumatic. People you don't want to see appear. People abuse you. People are nice to you. And, er... well, actually, I guess that sums up the day, in one way or another. There are also terrorist attacks and you get older and, really, who wants that?

But I've gotten tired of the trauma that comes from my birthday, especially now that I've removed all the fucked family from my life, and that I've rebuilt my head space in the last couple of years.

Here's a story that even oddly links to this. Plus, it's kind of funny. Anyhow: a couple of days before my birthday, when I met Jeff and Anne VanderMeer and Anne Sydenham and Anna Tambour (check the photos cause they're funny), I ran into this girl I went to High School with on the train. Well, actually, it was the bus because track work was going on, but that's another complaint. So, anyway: I ran into this girl who, in the mythology of my school-life, my friend and I sent to a psychiatrist. That was in year eight, when I was a slightly crueler and less caring an individual, but I still maintain that neither my friend and I did anything that bad. Still, we were spoken to about her, and told we'd sent her into therapy, charted it up as a success, and didn't much think about it afterwards because I am, if anything, shallow. So are my friends. And in the years after, she became known as The Girl We Once Sent to a Psychiatrist (or Maybe Psychologist).

And I ran into this girl.

And she remembered me, naturally.

She had gotten a few tattoos, gotten thinner, but at the same time turned leathery, and had her make-up applied heavily. If you're from Sydney, know that she spoke with the real Westie accent, and if you're not from Sydney, well, I'm not sure how to explain it to you. She had her two kids with her, one of which she referred to as, "Little Dickhead," and the other who, in the aim to have thematic unity, I will refer to as "Little Shithead". Little Dickhead and Little Shithead were annoying, and not just because I find most children annoying, but because they squirmed and moved and every minute and their mother said, "Stop doing that," before returning to conversation with me. It was the combination of all three that got me.

We did the whole what are you doing now kind of thing, where I found out that she'd recently split with the father of her kids, and was now going to do a bar tending course. The father wasn't good for her, the course will get her a job, and that sounded fair enough to me. I gave my Uni student/writer/tutor rundown. She asked if I had a book, and I said next year, and she said she would buy a copy. She then asked what it was about. I gave my dystopian racial globalization ramble-rundown of it, and she said, "Excellent. Sounds like it's about showing how those Asians should go home, yeah?"

Er. No.

"Oh. Well. I'll still have a look for it."

No longer buying, I see.

I ditched out on her as soon as I could because Little Dickhead and Little Shithead were annoying and their mother was racist, but I was impressed by the change she had gone through. I doubted that she'd now go to the psychiatrist for things that a friend of mine and I would say, but would instead perhaps attack me with a broken glass. Of course, the other side of that is that I'm not the teenager who would hassle someone to the point where they would end up in therapy. I have more concern for people now. I'm a people person. I love everyone.

Well.

Lets just say I'm different now.

And (to link this back to the beginning of the post) I'm different to when my birthdays would really suck. When it would bring out the nasty things, when I'd hide from people, when I'd go and hide in the womb warmth of my depression. So instead of hiding from my b-day, I figured yesterday I'd just deal with it like some sort of adult, hang with friends, and get you all to share your good things, which I liked. Sure, it sounds like bullshit, but how often do you get to share the little good things (I would have even taken the bad things and depression)? And it was different to what I usually do. Like the gaping void card at the top suggests, "Change or fucking die."

I'm all about the change this year.

Comments

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shadowsandice
Oct. 13th, 2005 01:32 am (UTC)
Yeah. Change. Now your age has changed. Cha-ching.

;)
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2005 04:27 am (UTC)
yeah, change all round. change cause the year changed for me. change cause, well, why not? perhaps all the old stuff weren't working the right way anyhow.
simplykathryn
Oct. 13th, 2005 01:42 am (UTC)
It is very difficult to describe the whole 'Westie' thing, even to Australians from other areas (unless they have their own equivalent). Here in the US I tend to tell people they're 'Red Necks' - there are a lot of similarities, though probably less guns in the Westie lifestyle (and the Australian lifestyle in general).

I'm questioning the wisdom of someone likely to attack you with a broken glass getting a job in the bar tending industry, but perhaps having to account for the glasses will help. :)
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2005 04:30 am (UTC)
people still have guns in the australian lifestyle, especially out in rural communities and such. but there's just not that thing about guns that americans have--i'm not sure what that thing is, but it's a thing, obviously.

as for her attacking me with a broken glass... well, i must admit she didn't say that to me :)
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2005 05:54 am (UTC)
you argue with blood and guts. you don't need a vocabulary. least, that's what i always thought. not that i have many arguments, i might add, though today i saw people yelling through cars at a traffic light.

i haven't seen a knife weilding junkie for ages, thank whatever.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 13th, 2005 06:32 am (UTC)
You do realise that your bullying scarred her for life and is probably at the root of all her problems and prejudices?
Ray von Sunshine.
(aka Agnes)
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2005 06:37 am (UTC)
i accept no responsibility for these people. none i tell you! none!
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2005 11:55 am (UTC)
I've never even met Ben, and now I'm starting to show symptoms of some sort of deep-seated paranoia. . .

yeah, that sounds about right for girls who hang round me ;) be sure to check for phantom pregnancies and a desire to attack me with broken bottles. it's the second and third sign that i've broken your mind. heh.
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2005 12:01 pm (UTC)
I guess it's because I thought I was the only one who didn't care enough about my birthday to announce three months in advance and send everyone daily count down reminder text messages until said date.

god no. i in fact get really put out when people want to go and make me the centre of attention on my birthday. it makes me really uncomfortable to think that people have done something for me, rather than live their own life.

i'm pretty fucked up, you know.

Sounds like that westie chick had issues way before you and your friend got to her. I can imagine you been cynical and perhaps sarcastic toward her, which she mistook for cruelty and bullying.

is there a difference when you're thirteen?
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Oct. 14th, 2005 02:46 am (UTC)
yeah, being born never struck me as the most amazing thing i ever did.
bodhichitta0
Oct. 13th, 2005 11:47 am (UTC)
"So instead of hiding from my b-day, I figured yesterday I'd just deal with it like some sort of adult, hang with friends, and get you all to share your good things, which I liked."

Excellent.

"Change or fucking die."

It's all impermanet. Sand through our fingers.

And on a lesser note, how do you think I reacted when that mom called her child "little dickhead?"
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2005 12:02 pm (UTC)
And on a lesser note, how do you think I reacted when that mom called her child "little dickhead?"

you thought about renaming your kids? ;)

in fairness, she did say it kindly, and in a term of endearment. it's not real common out here, but it's not unknown, either. i blinked, but not a whole lot, you know?
bodhichitta0
Oct. 13th, 2005 12:41 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, the insult coated in affection. No therapy for those kids, nope. :-/
benpeek
Oct. 13th, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
well, i didn't say that. their mum got a lot out of therapy apparently ;)
hollowpoint
Oct. 13th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC)
well, happy birthday ben!

i love the image at the top of this post. i love it so much that i've stolen it to keep forever.
benpeek
Oct. 14th, 2005 12:42 am (UTC)
thanks.

the gaping void site is pretty cool. it's a blog, essentially, and the guy who runs it puts up these little blog cards. very neat.
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