A hodgepodge on a New Year’s birthday
New Year’s Day, my birthday, 3 a.m. I sit reflecting hodgepodge-like on life and beginnings and aging and etcetera etcetera. My wife and son are all tuckled up (invented a word!) on the couch, asleep. He is spent from his day of playing and saying no and she from keeping me at bay and working her holiday fingers to the bone.
Bless them both.
Back from a New Year’s Eve party at the home of Geoffrey Wynne; his parents, Julia Hadrill and Cordell Wynne, were also there. Lots of islanders, including Kelly Santiago and Gelson Batista; here’s one of the many things I admire about those two: they are mavericks, for as I understand it, they flipped a coin to see which surname their boys would take on, leading to the excellent duo of Gabrielle Santiago and Felipe ‘Felipe’ Batista. Bless all four of them.
I set myself the task of not telling anyone there my birthday was fast approaching. I enjoy attention, yes, but it’s unseemly to court it. Truth be told I was hoping my wife would mention it, then I would get to tell my New Year’s Day birthday stories and be fawned over without looking to be needy.
But, alas, she did not.
We took chicken wings to the party but our son soon led a group of young males into the dining area and polished them off within five minutes. We left an hour or so before midnight and rang in the New Year watching Dick Clark without Dick Clark; he died last spring but his show lives on.
Here’s what I’m doing now: I’m thinking about a play I wrote called Dick Clark in a Box. It was about a family who moved to Toronto from Saskatchewan and got lost culturally. They saw in the paper that Dick Clark was visiting the city and got the idea he’d help them figure out big-city culture, he was, after all, Dick Clark. They captured him and kept him in a big box in their living-room. The play was never produced.
Was writing it a waste of time?
The string eventually runs out, though it takes a while. I was the first baby born in the province of B.C. in the year 19-never-mind. True, picture in the paper, gifts. I often say I had my 15 seconds of fame right off the hop and it’s been downhill ever since. Mind you, I haven’t said it for years; must have become adjusted to my station in life and no longer in need of such self-deprecating remarks.
Here’s this: I’ve always wanted to be a guy who remembers things. In 2002, I did a play in Vancouver and we took it to Montreal and Ottawa: Burning Vision. I spoke about it to Ines Gigling tonight at the party. It was written by Marie Clements, a first nation playwright and, as it now turns out, a hockey mom.
A fine play, I was nominated for a Jessie but lost to a guy who performed in a tub of water (there’s theatre for ‘ya). At any rate, Ines and I talked of the play itself but it’s returned to my mind now because I cannot recall the name of the Indian restaurant in Montreal I ate at almost every night before the show, the dish I had each time I went, or even where in the city the restaurant was in.
I always wanted to be the kind of guy that could say this: “Hey, if you’re going to Montreal, try the butter chicken and kaali daal at Le Buddha Bien in the Rue de Trop Pain district. It’s mouth watering.” I have friends that can do that. It’s irritating that they can and I can’t.
Here’s a thought: who cares! You’re not that kind of a guy. You’re a forget things-kind of guy so just be that. Be the kind of guy you are. At this age, you might as well. You admire the maverick qualities of Kelly and Gelson but hey, didn’t you once buck convention by playing the drums in a penguin suit? Stop regretting! You wrote some plays that never got produced, you wrote some that did.
New years and birthdays are conventions, celebrations, they’re not real. You don’t change who you are because of the passing of a year or solve personal issues because of a birthday. It’s about continuing to continue, about resolving to simply stand and walk tall without examining every step.
Aahhh! Whatever. BE. Just be. Hello! I am. It’s a day. There’s air to be breathed. I’m here. The munchkins are sleeping there. We had good cheer and fine folk. Let’s move once more into the breach together and dance as one on the beaches. Happy Being, you lot!
It’s New Year’s Day, my birthday, past 3 a.m.