I stuck my head in the doorway to my boss’s office. He had just finished talking to a co-worker about college basketball.
“Um, I know it’s last minute and all, and feel free to say no, but could I take half a vacation day tomorrow? For my, um, birthday?”
“Why don’t you just take the whole day?” He seems genuinely confused as to why I wouldn’t. This is awesome.
“Well, it’s short notice and all.” Boss seems unconcerned.
“Well, think about it. Maybe it’s a game day decision?”
“Well, I kinda like coming in to work, having everyone wish me a happy birthday.” Read: I WANT TO BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION LA LA LA. “Oh, and I’ll bring cupcakes.”
“Alright!” I got the thumbs up and practically skipped back to my desk. Where I thought some more about my request. I ended up IM’ing my boss, asking for the whole day, and he was cool with that. So I got to planning my day:
- breakfast at Eleven City Diner
- MCA (I’m a member but Tuesday is their free day anyway)
- afternoon tea at The Drake (Nite is joining me)
I ordered cupcakes to bring in to work Wednesday. Cupcakes for my department, with a few extra for my favorite developers. I never got to do much of this, this bringing in cupcakes for the class, when I was in school because my birthday, without fail, would occur right before or during spring break.
Usually, that totally sucked. Like, really sucked. As in, “Have a nice spring break, Jasmine, and is it your birthday? Oh yeah, we’ll be thinking of you as we lie on the beaches on Nevis getting tan.” This really happened, and this is also why being friends with rich people when you are very poor sucked dick. My two best friends in high school took off for the Caribbean instead of spending my 18th birthday with me — lunch alone at the now-closed Dojo Restaurant on St. Mark’s Place and a matinee of (don’t judge) Four Weddings and a Funeral interspersed by furtive smoking of many Marlboro Lights all over the East Village.
NOT LIKE I’M BITTER OR ANYTHING.
But sometimes the convergence of my birthday and spring break was alright. Like the year I turned 21, which coincided with Easter Sunday and the first day of spring quarter. I stayed in Hyde Park, working extra hours at my work-study job while apartment sitting (dorms would close for the break), and counted down the days until I could go to a bar that was not the campus pub (where I’d been drinking since March 3rd because, as it turned out, the pub checked the registrar database for birthdays and the old U of C had my birthday wrong).
But what bar would be open on Easter Sunday? Who was even around to drink with me? People were not, I was surprised to learn, not in a rush to get back to school. Jerks. Didn’t they know it was my birthday? I know me turning 21 couldn’t quite compete with, um, Jesus Christ coming back from the dead, but come on!
Kevin Bogart will forever be my friend because he answered the call to birthday boozing, all the way from the Shoreland where he was an RA. I don’t remember if he made his way to my dorm room, or if I to his, but after many cigarettes and much dilly-dallying we were finally in the drunk van, on our way to Jimmy’s. I’m pretty sure the girl driving the van had never driven people to a bar before. Once she heard it was my birthday, and that it was 15 minutes to last call, she sped the fuck up, dropped us, and Kevin and I got our beers after all. I never even got carded. It may as well have been just another day after all. But that was probably just as well, as I’d imagine the bouncer would get all mad from all the times he let me in when I wasn’t of age.