Thoughtful People

I can't remember the last time I had a truly exceptional birthday. Because I try not to make a fuss over myself and I get embarrassed when others do I try to keep things really low-key. I try not to give people verbal reminders (and the entry I made last night was not meant as a way to get my LiveJournal friends to wish me a happy birthday. Grin). I used to really enjoy being the center of attention, but anymore I just don't know what to do with myself. It's much more fun to plan an event for someone else.

Last year I went out for dinner and drinks with two gal pals and ended up almost having my car towed, standing there in tears while I begged him to let me pay him off, and getting thrown up on at a bar. We called it a night pretty soon after that.

Today, although it rained and stormed all day, and despite finding the used hypodermic needle in the real estate catalogue/magazine rack thingie outside of the Chinese buffet we went to for lunch, I had a good day. I won't go into any of that. The needle was dealt with, although not easily.

Instead, I'm really glad to have a few close friends who have taken time out of their busy schedules to celebrate my birthday in a thoughtful way – asking me to choose a restaurant I'd like to go to on Sunday with Scott and Jay; Annie coming over with her sister, Liz, my friend Liz, and our co-worker Katie on the spur of the moment to just watch some Sex and the City and drink cosmopolitans; they even thought enough about it to get a cake and candles. The last time more than one person sang “Happy Birthday” to me was probably ten years ago when I turned 21.
Then Cavan got me a Woody Allen movie that he knew I didn't have. And Charlie got my car detailed.

This is so weird, but I actually started bawling when I saw it. Having my car professionally cleaned was probably the most thoughtful thing he could have done for me. It's my primary mode of transportation to and from school since I'm not familiar with the bus route and I can walk to work or bike to the grocery store. The other day I had a horrifying encounter with a large, hairy spider that I was convinced was still hiding in my car for three days afterwards (I was never able to find it after it went rushing off under my seat and I swear to you that was the worst ride home of my life).
I did get some beautiful flowers and two new pairs of Crocs, but seriously — this was it. He took the time out of his day to drive it to get cleaned, had to have two different co-workers pick him up or drop him off.

The car was a complete mess when we got it from Charlie's new stepmother, who was mortified when she saw the condition it was in when we went to her son's house to pick it up. I cleaned it as best I could at one of those drive-up car washes with vacuums and a few dollars in quarters. It was disgusting but it was in ten times better shape than when we'd picked it up. Today, though, I was in tears. The carpets had been shampooed, as well as the seats. The tons of sticky, gross pennies Trent had left in the car had been cleaned out and left in a plastic bag for us. Every little nook, cranny, crevice was cleaned and every french fry, potato chip, and cracker crumb was gone.

Oh, and if they found that spider they didn't tell Charlie. But I'm sure it's gone. Sorry, spider.


Terror Alert Level: Red

Have we even been in the blue/green shades in the past five years? We're now severely something or another. How much money do you think went into creating the terror alert chart? How many people worked on that, I wonder? How useful is it, really?

I have to admit that everything I hear with this administration I listen to with just one ear open.

British authorities have arrested 21 people who they believed were going to try and blow up 10 different airliners on their way to the US from the UK. They had some sort of liquid disguised as sodas and electronic devices.

Now all liquids and gels are banned as carry-ons. Baby formula and medicines are allowed, but they have to be inspected.

It's the US administration using words “sophisticated” to describe the plot, and calling it “suggestive of an Al-Qaeda plot.” But in the same breath we're told how “these arrests have significantly lowered the risk of a terror plot.” Then they turn around and tell us to be scared, anyway. Oh, but don't worry: airlines are safe. But not too safe. Don't be scared. But don't be too relaxed. Stay vigilant and report anything suspicious.

All in time for November elections. Except it was British authorities, not American, so am I horribly wrong to be cynical?