My birthday was over a week ago, and even though nothing over the top occurred I still could not be bothered to write my post. Which is utterly stupid because I am falling way behind. At this point I need to write 10 to catch up and, ultimately, meet my goal. Can the bitch do it?
For my birthday I wanted to choose a song that didn’t particularly resonate with any memories, but instead was one that more or less represented me. But what is that track? I jokingly said (to myself) “Flag Pole Sitta” but… That is a song that represents two Joshes ago. Then I thought, maybe I’ll just choose a solid favorite, since it is my birthday, and then share some memorable birthdays throughout my life. But that wouldn’t have been very good. They lacked any real substance and would have just been snapshots. The real story is what had I felt in those moments? What was I thinking? For some I could recall but others, they were just mental images.
Instead I chose just one song that reminded me of my most memorable birthday. One that could not and will NEVER be topped. It’s impossible. Don’t even try.
I’m going to be honest, my birthdays are kind of shit. The problem is I build up these astronomical expectations for it to be something fantastic and ultimately it never happens. I blame Hollywood. I am near the point that I would rather it not even be celebrated at all, just to protect myself and (really) those around me. Every effort made in it is beautiful. And I am grateful, but I’m so fucked in the head that I think it should be something else and… I’m just an asshole. There is no other way to say it.
The one birthday that shall and will never be topped was in 2013.
After having been together for 10 years my husband finally agreed to follow through with our engagement and get married. I think he was hesitant because, while our life was good, we had been through rough waters many, many times before. Which one of these rapids, on the river of our relationship, was going to be so rough that it tosses one of us out of the boat?
Regardless of his fears, he agreed.
As a safety net to make sure he never forgot our anniversary, we decided to get married 3 days before my birthday.
This also happened in the same year that he had surprised me in March with my birthday present: a trip to London. Now our trip turned into a double-whammy. Birthday and honeymoon in one fell swoop.
It should be noted that I am an absolute anglophile. I love anything British, except the tories and the monarchy. Everything else is gold to me and has been since I was a kid. London has been the one place I have wanted to visit since I realized travel across oceans was possible.
The morning of our wedding at the LA courthouse there was an active shooter at LAX. Our hotel room was a suite just a block from the airport and we watched in real time as the cops went down the road, shutting everything down.
“Oh my god,” I said, “I hope this doesn’t delay our flight!”
The two of us got dressed up and headed to the courthouse. We were married and then back to the hotel, where we passively aggressively argued with each other about whether to wait at the hotel or walk to our terminal.
“The app doesn’t show that it has been cancelled,” I said, “And our gate is literally, right there.”
“Fine, fine, we’ll walk.”
We joined the stream of travelers heading, on foot, to the airport.
As it turned out, this was the right choice because we boarded our flight, on time, and made it to London.
I could not sleep on this 11 hour flight. I was wide awake. I was too excited to do it, even with a full Ambien.
We landed in the late afternoon, took the tube to our hotel next to the Gloucester Station and then tried our hardest not to go to sleep. My father-in-law had suggested this routine because it makes adjusting to the time change a little easier. And as the man had done MANY an international flight we took his advice. However, after not sleeping on the plane and the fact that it was dark by 5… Neither of us made it. We barely stayed awake at the restaurant we went to for dinner.
“Let’s just go to bed,” Charlie said.
This turned out to be one of the best decisions we made. Because we went to bed to early we both woke up at 5 a.m. As we were totally energized and didn’t want to waste our first real day in the room, we got dressed and decided to walk down Kensington Street.
In those silly questions people sometimes get asked, “What is the most memorable moment in your life,” this would be my answer.
In this enormous city, we were the only people on the road. It was absolutely silent and this fact astounded me. Granted, as I later learned, this is the more affluent part of London, which is why I was probably “taken” by it. We walked all the way from our hotel to Kensington Palace. The park was absolutely gorgeous in the sunrise light. The orange leaves seemed to catch fire in the suns rays.
It’s such a simple moment but for me it was… everything.
On my actual birthday we went to the “Experience Harry Potter” at Leavesden studios. We rode a double decker bus from the station to the lot. This was back when I was, also, a Potterphile. Y’know, before she doubled down on her transphobia. While I do still enjoy the products I have already paid for, I will not be doing so going forward. That’s the most political answer I can give. Those who have decided to trash their purchased items seems nonsensical. She already got that money. But to each their own.
Regardless, it was quite the treat. My husband wasn’t as happy with the experience. He had read so many reviews beforehand that he ruined it for himself.
We went back to our room afterwards and took a nap.
For the following week we had no solid plans. It was whatever we felt like doing in the moment. And seeing as how we had purchased the London Pass for our trip, they gave us a big book of things to do. And every day we were there we did something new. Even if we had allocated an entire month we wouldn’t have tapped the surface of the shit to do in the city.
For it being London it didn’t rain very much. It was certainly cloudy often, which is my favorite kind of weather.
Near the end of or trip, we were running out of things to do so, being the rock hound I am, we took a trip to a Chalk mine. It was billed as this spooky ghostly kind of tour but as it turned out the terror in the trip was the elbaorate maze of tunnels and the five foot tour guide with his coke bottle glasses.
“We’re being led by Mr. Magoo,” my husband said.
“We’re going to die down here.” I whispered back.
We went on this tour with one other couple, which is true to form. Most of the tours my husband and I have ever done it usually is just us. One time on the Queen Mary the tour guide acted as though we were part of a large group the entire time. “Does he see more people here than just us?” I had whispered to Charlie.
In the chalk mine we learned that the only historical significance was that it was a hideaway for families escaping the blitz during WWII. Otherwise all of the creepy tales were mostly fabricated, much to the disappointment of the other couple. They had watched a ghost program the other night and wanted to see it for themselves.
There was one moment where this small man abandoned us around the bend, extinguished his kerosene lantern, and then banged a loud metal drum. He walked back up to us, in pitch black, talking and all I could think about at the time was the hobbit. “Riddles in the dark.”
The reason I chose the song above is because it was playing everywhere we went. That is no exaggeration. At the time I was not really a fan of this song, so it stuck-the-fuck-out. By the end of the trip, I thought it’d be easier to join them and I fell in love with it. Now whenever I hear it that entire trip comes flooding back to me.