January 26, 2003. (11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.) Australia Day, National Popcorn Day in the U.S., Super Bowl XXXVII, and my 30th birthday.

I was a little bit freaked by the idea of turning 30 until the day before it happened. Then, as with such ages as 16, 18, 20, and 21, it came through that it was just an arbitrary number, nothing that really meant anything. (You'd think I'd know that by now with all these supposed milestone birthdays behind me.) Before, it had been a little variation on I was supposed to be somebody by the age of 23! -- by 30 I was supposed to at least feel like a grown-up, right? Not working part-time for a little newsletter publishing company, making barely enough to get by (except for the generosity of my grandfather, who either feels guilty about his past or just wants to give away his money little by little now so as to avoid estate taxes when he dies), and spending my little extra money on kids' toys.

But on the 25th my mom came over, brought me a chocolate birthday cake, and then we went out to the International Plaza (Tampa's most "upscale" mall, with various expensive or just not-found-in-every-other-mall stores) and I stocked up on Hello Kitty stationery and Mom bought a Hello Kitty clock for her bathroom, and an almost-30-year-old and a 55-year-old buying all this Sanrio stuff kind of brought all the whole adulthood thing into perspective, perhaps. Then I went home and cleaned the kitchen and my bathroom (and let me tell you, there were corners of the kitchen floor that hadn't been cleaned in the 4.5 years Jon and I have lived in this apartment, until now) because people were coming over for my birthday and I didn't want them to see the worst of our slobbishness. The dustballs on the carpet and magazines/books on every available surface were enough to show that we're not huge on neatness.

And today I spent the morning (well, the first few hours after I woke at noon) playing with the new additions to the apartment's Simpsons figurine collection, which Jon bought as a sort of gift for me the night of the 24th. We have the courtroom with Judge Snyder, as well as Gil, Ranier Wolfcastle, Kirk van Houten, and Larry Burns now, making 83 figurines and 21 playsets, as I discovered when I counted them all to fill out the optional survey that was on the back of the coupon I was sending in (redeem 4 UPC codes plus a check for the shipping and get a Be Sharps Apu figurine). If we ever need some money, we can just sell all these off on eBay.

Then at 3:00 Deb and Phil and Chuck, the former of whom I hadn't seen face to face in a month and the latter two in more than a year, arrived. Then Matt and Shayna, who I literally had not seen since my birthday party last year. Then Ben and Jodi, who I see on a regular basis but nonetheless enjoy. Almost everyone who was invited, but Sean Michael was working and Rob never responded about the party. We took pictures of one another, we caught up on one another's lives (Jon said that he and I need to get friends who have less interesting lives than ours so we might have something to say in these conversations, but I told him that it's rather hard to find people with fewer events going on in their lives than we have.)

Deb, Phil and Chuck left for one Super Bowl Party and then Matt and Shayna for another -- I do hate it when my birthday falls on Sunday because damn it, I don't like sharing attention with a sport. Especially since I haven't the slightest interest in any sport at all, but particularly football. And living in Tampa, it's particularly intense this year when the local team is in the big game. To help ignore it, Ben, Jodi, Jon and I watched much of their gift to me, An Evening with Kevin Smith, which is terribly funny (as one would expect). Then we went to CDB (or as Ben and I have both accidentally called it at different times, EDB) for pizza, and as it turned out, a running idea of how the Super Bowl was going from the yells in the bar. Back to stately Segnboroweth Manor to work on that birthday cake of Mom's and more random conversation. And the Bucs won the fucking game, so fireworks, gunshots, sirens, and car horns have punctuated the hours since then (and they goddamn better stop this soon! Just because the team won doesn't mean people don't have to go to work tomorrow!) They all seem like fair-weather fans to me -- you never used to see so many Bucs flags and jerseys back during the many years when the team sucked and really might need some support. Even more than having a sport I'm not interested in forced into my world, the people jumping on the bandwagon annoys me -- I grew up with my North Carolina-born, South Carolina-resident dad and his lifelong love for the New York Yankees through thick and thin, so I expect fans to have a bit of loyalty.

But it's been a very good day and I have not fallen back into my previous discomfort with passing into a different decade of age. Hopefully my post-big-event-depression will not hit tomorrow and drag me back into it. I have all these great people in my life (Everythingians included, especially the ones who sent me birthday greetings).

(Added when I finally got the chance to post this on the 27th: No, I seem to have stayed OK with being 30 throughout today.)