Wuukie's turning 30 celebration trepidation immediately struck me with two memories.
I was in my early twenties and bumbling about life, finally emerging from a cloistered familiar environment into the confusing but invigorating world of reality; of friendship, love, interaction and experience. One of these friends invited me to her 30th birthday party at her rented house on the beach with her boyfriend and dog. She'd already been around the world a few times (literally) and was finally settling into a career as an artist and a writer, finally starting her studies, and looking forward to it, yet completely afraid of how it would constrict her.
So she tried a silly ritual. She had invited all the people that were the most important to her right then (there were 6 of us). We all made masks from sheets of vanilla scented and coloured paper and decorated them with glitter, paint, crayon. We went out on the beach to a campfire and had a wild rumpus, drinking wine. My mask was a crudely made beaked thing with a top hat. Our host’s boyfriend did a Bart Simpson, while she had made a domino with phoenix leaping from it. Even the dog had a happy grring mask. Then we all made a wish and burned the masks.
When I turned 30, I wanted to die.
Life sucked. In the months before I turned 30, I’d kicked a drug habit--having to move from my hometown and all my friends to do so--been dumped by my girlfriend, had lost a stable job and was couch surfing at friends’ houses. I had lost everything, and had nothing to look forward to. The only people I could depend on were friends I’d made in my brief time in a new city, who let me have a place to crash to sort myself out.
My brother lived near the city and had promised to pick me up so I could hang out with him and his family that night; he forgot and never showed up. I headed ‘home’ but got dragged by a couple of people there to see a band two other friends were in. A raffle was being held and someone bought me a ticket. I won the raffle and the prize was this:
They buried me on stage. I was placed in a wooden coffin which was ‘hammered’ closed, carried around the audience, then ‘lowered’ into a grave, with a sermon, ‘testimonials’ and wailing admirers. Dirt was flung on me, then covered me (all an aural illusion for my benefit.). The stage was closed, and the coffin carried away. The troupe that had put this on opened the lid, smiling down at me. They asked if I wanted to get out.
I did. (sometimes when they did this, they told me, some people asked to stay in for a while longer).
A couple days later I got a birthday package from a girl I fancied on the internet. Inside was a leaf from the London Zoo. A couple years later, I proposed to her there in front of the giraffes.
Been around the world a few times.