I was always an outdoors-ey kind of kid, so naturally most of the ideas I had for parties were outside things, like going to the park or having a pool party. The climate in mid-January, even down on the Gulf Coast, prohibited nearly everything I wanted to do. Also, almost everyone is still in massive post-Christmas debt. I usually didn't get much present-wise; either people would give me a cheap stuff for both Christmas and my birthday (while everyone else got noticably cooler stuffs), or they'd give me one decent present that was supposed to be for both holidays. That doesn't bother me now, but as a five year old kid I couldn't help but feel gipped from everyone other than my parents. (On the other hand, maybe it's just my amnesia playing tricks on me, and I just don't remember everything clearly enough.)
By the time I was too old to have little kid's birthday parties, we pretty much just stopped celebrating them. Mom would always make me a cake and fix my favorite supper, and I'd get a present from them and RJ, but that was about it. None of my friends other than a scant few seemed to care. I could care less about the presents or the parties, but my "friends" rarely even bothered to say "Happy Birthday". Heh. That was okay, though. I'd certainly get used to that kind of treatment in due time.
Recently, my birthdays have been nothing short of disastrous. After a decade of no one really caring about my birthday, Mom and Dad went all out to make my 20th really nice for me. I guess because it was such a big landmark, you know, coming of age or what have you. (I suppose they didn't make quite such a big deal out of my 18th because we were all wrapped up in pre-college plans and ACT's and Track meets and Valedictory speeches and so on). Anyway, they made a big deal of it, spent the whole three-day weekend trying to make me feel special, and even bought a super-fancy cake from the bakery down the street for me to take up to T-town to share with my roomates.
Sounds good so far, but then I just about died on the way back to Tuscaloosa. About halfway between there and here (a good two hours from either location), I got plowed into by some white-trash yokels that didn't know how to drive. Thankfully, the half ton of Detroit steel saved my ass - I don't want to even think about how much worse it would have been if I was in one of these new fiberglass wannabe cars. Despite it being illegal, they didn't have any insurance. It wasn't even their truck...the woman was borrowing it while her boyfirend was in prison. Heh. Just my luck, ne?
I don't know how the money side of it turned out, but Dad and some of his friends and one of my uncles managed to put most of my truck back together by salvaging pieces from wrecked trucks out at the junkyard. Meanwhile, I was in so much pain I was in a neck brace for two weeks, and even after it was off I couldn't leave the dorm for over a month. My grades plummeted due to my prolonged absence. Three years later, the doctors still don't know how to fix me up. Though a lot of it healed up over the first few months, I am still pretty messed up. I have been in pain every single day without exception for the past three years and counting, and the doctor's won't give me pain medication for fear of me becomign addicted. If that wasn't bad enough, I was forced to give up all the sports that I loved so much, and degenerate from a powerlifting health nut to just another overweight college student. Between those two things, it's hurt my mind having to deal with all of this just as badly as it hurt my body.
Moving on to my 21st. A guy's 21st birthday is a huge one, more so than any other. Even people who normally don't celebrate b-days use someone's 21st as an excuse to go wild. This was heightened by the fact that every one of my close friends was also turning 21 that year. First weekend of the semester, back to school party. Second weekend, John's 21st. Huge extravaganza, one of the best parties I've ever been to. Come November, time for Lee's 21st. THE best party I may have ever been to outside of Talledega. During both of these parties, naturally, the other two would be talking baout how they can't wait till it's their turn, and how great their party is gonna be, and so on. I distinctly remember me and John sitting around, drinkin and talkin, while Lee was off being the center of attention during his party. I was wondering out loud how I can even compete to something as fun as all this. John told me, "Don't worry. Neither could Lee. Part of all this was our present to him, just like y'all all paid for most of the beer at my 21st. We're all in this together, and the two of us will make sure you have just as killer of a party as this one". That really made my day, because it really touched me to know that I had friends that cared so much about me.
Two months later, it's my turn. I've been reminding people just about every time I see them that we're going to have the party on that three day weekend. I go out, buy as many of the supplies as I can afford, getting excited for the first time since I turned 13. No one shows up. Turns out that what I thought was going to be one of the best days of my life (aside from meeting moongoddess8) was spent sitting on the couch, drinking beer and watching Anime. Bah.
Next year turns out much the same. Figuring that my mistake last time was setting my sights too high and making too big of a deal out of it, I decided to keep things simple. Not even a party, just a few guys drinking beer and playing 9-card and Tekken. I didn't even tell anyone that it was for my birthday, so they'd just think it was just another Saturday night. While telling Jason (Jason W., the CS/philosophy/astronomy Jason) about the weekend, he actually interrupted me and said "Oh, you mean for your birthday?" That was cool as fuck. Shows you who your *real* friends are, doesn't it? Anyway, I told all the usual guys of the plans, except for Lee who was still out-of-town on an internship. Again, no one shows up. Jason W saw me the following Monday, and appologized profusely, saying that he forgot which dorm I was in. Also, Jamie says he showed up and knocked on the door but got no answer, but if that was the case then it was already so late that I gave up all hope and retired to my room to drink and play around online. Great. All of the folks that stood me up that night I pretty much stopped being friends with shortly after that, even John who was at one point my best bud up here. Guess it's no wonder why I usually feel even more miserable and depressed on what's supposed to be an important day for me, a day where I feel special for some reason. Meh. My folks tried to make it up to me by taking me to the "Cock of the Walk" for seafood next time I got back, but nothing can make up for losing half the folks you thought were your friends. By that point it was just too little, too late.
Anyway, now it's almost time for 23. I'm trying to find out if there's a way to just go ahead and be 23 without having to turn 23. Thereby avoiding the entire pathetic process. If it weren't for having Monday off, I'd just hole up in my room and not be bothered for a few days. Only real reason I'm going home is to spend some time with my fiancee, since three-day weekends are few and far between. Nothing to do with the 17th at all, thankfully.
Long story short, if you do want to do something for me on my birthday, just don't bug me about it. I just don't even give a shit anymore. =P