Your Birthday
You either celebrate it or you don't. It's up to you. I know most people celebrate them anyway, but some people just don't. I have no idea why. I personally do, but it's scarred with a few bad memories, so I just try to have a nice day and not worry about people saying "You should get drunk, CJ". I was personally overwhelmed when I came home from work on my birthday in 2007 to find a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and a chocolate cake waiting for me in the kitchen. I never expected it at all. But anyway, my opinion: it's a good way of reminding yourself that you've survived 365 more days and the next 365 can hardly be as bad.

Today I turned 18.

Well, actually, as I write this I'm not technically 18, as I was born at 1 in the afternoon. But still.

I haven't yet taken advantage of this yet, but I fully intend to by shouting my mates at the cricket club tonight. I'm celebrating tomorrow night with dinner at the local Italian/Lebanese restaurant, Sicilian's.

More later.


It's now tomorrow. In the 48 hours since midnight (ie. turning 18), I have managed to get myself a girlfriend. It's been coming on for a while, but we've both been very shy about it. (By a while I mean a fair amount of months.) I also shouted my mates like I said I would last night. I was also treated to a chorus of Happy Birthday Dear Fish that night.

One and a half dozen people came to the dinner - family friends, relatives, school friends, and, of course, my girlfriend. I was taken out to the pub by said school friends and girlfriend afterwards, then we went for a drive. A drive in Doug's car is enough to give more experienced drivers a coronary, but we all lapped it up. My girlfriend and I had a few moments to ourselves at the top of a lookout, then we went back onto the road.

I'm now a little afraid that I won't get to sleep easily, as I've had a lot of fun and I still feel the adrenaline rush.

The last 72 hours have been massive. The next 48 hours will be just as busy. Then it's back to work for me, back to uni for three of the people who came down specially for tonight, and back to insane for everyone else.

Okay, so maybe I’m not as liberal as I pretend to be…

After getting home last night I went through my usual routine of plopping the mail down on the kitchen table and getting started on cooking dinner. I didn’t think anything of it. There didn’t appear to be anything special about the pile, just the usual assortment of bills and fliers and junk mail but as I was settling down to my gourmet feast of beans and weenies one of them caught my eye.

It was a notification by the local authorities informing me that an individual who was a registered sex offender had moved in a few blocks from my humble home. His two crimes were both committed against minors. If you ask me, this was hitting too close to home.

I thought to myself that being a single parent of a thirteen year old girl was hard enough. These days, she’s sprouting more than her independence and trying to control her whereabouts and wanderings is getting tougher and tougher to manage.

Maybe I’m an idealist but I still believe in a world where you can trust your neighbors to look after you. If they go away on vacation, you watch over their home like you would your own. You pick up fliers or newspapers that have gathered at their doorstep while they were gone, you keep an eye open for any strange goings on on their property and you water their plants. If you’re headed out to the grocery store and you happen to see them outside, you ask if they need anything.

I dunno, I guess it’s just the way I was brought up.

So over the next few days I’m sure the phone lines of those of us who are parents in my neighborhood will be burning late into the night. There will be all sorts of ideas about block watches and making sure the kids who congregate in and around our homes do so in groups.

Fuck, I never had to worry about this as a kid. I don’t think my parents did either. If they did, they didn’t bother to tell me.

The notification also included the individuals name and his picture. Me and borgette went over the steps she was to follow if he ever approached her in any way shape or form. They included but were not limited to running, screaming, kicking, biting, scratching and gouging.

We didn’t need to go over mine….

Arms groggily outstretched over my head, I sit up on the bed and start searching my friend’s room for a clock. There’s a dead one on the floor that reads 7 pm. Not helpful.

His floor is covered in so much…..well….useless shit. There’s no better way to describe it. It’s like someone put hundreds of action figures, bits of wood, carpet, dust, dirt, stuffed animals, fantasy novels, and various other obscure and random crap into a blender and spread the result on his floor like a condiment. Nowhere in this mess is there an alarm clock, watch, sundial or anything else that might tell me what the hell time it is. Aha, my phone. It’s five after one! I gotta get out of here. I have things to do today, other than sit in this slob’s room all day.

I scoop up all my stuff, jump into my shoes, and thank his mom as I glide down the stairs two at a time. Just as I touch the door handle, a fragment of last night’s dream suddenly returns to me...

I’m in a city somewhere. I walk into a building through a door on a streetcorner. Inside there are several people, who I seem to know somehow. They are all just waking up from sleeping in various random places throughout this large room. Next thing I know, we’re walking out the back door of the building and find a path that runs along behind it. “Ooh I love lines!” my ex-girlfriend says, who has suddenly appeared. So we walk along it.

...Wow, that was weird. Shaking my head, I continue outside and jog just down the road to my house. On the counter in my kitchen is an invitation from my school to a presentation by a state trooper about narcotics. Hey, I think, I’ve been on narcotics once: painkillers after having my wisdom teeth out...

The trail is relatively short, and we come out into a gigantic meadow, where there should have been a city. There is one long building to the right, it looks somewhat like a motel. In front are standing several more people, some of whom are my friends. They are standing around a small table that has a bowl of fruit, some garden equipment, and a can of whipped cream on it.

I pick up the whipped cream and take a hit from the nitrous oxide. My extremities tingle and I feel light. I offer the can to my friend’s girlfriend, who seems to just appear out of the crowd. She hesitates with her arms crossed for a moment, then bursts out laughing, “Haha, my life is too slow!” and she takes the can. I just spin around with my arms outstretched and laugh.

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