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I am...a New Yorker
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Tuesday, September 3, 2002
Celebrated
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Eating...
BBQ, cafeteria style.

Wearing...
A black, clingy, lacy, hippy thing...which seemed to do the job.

Kissing...
A boy with a brain, for a change.

Talking...
For hours (and weeks) first, which I'll take as a good sign. The guy I couldn't talk with was just not a good fit.

Singing...
Nothing lately, but "Dock of the Bay" with a subway performer recently.

Surprising...
The woman in the next room moving out because she found a studio for $800, which is just unreal in NY -- half the market rate a year ago.

Enjoying...
A walk in the rain.

Watching...
F*** the Disabled, the comedy of Greg Walloch, a fellow escapee of the Empire.

My First Mister.

Schoolhouse Rock on DVD -- hurrah!

Irritating...
Seeing several men in the elevators and hallways unescorted. Last month, the staff wouldn't allow my 12 year old brother upstairs with me, but adult men are wandering the halls freely. So much for security.

Writing...
A letter to headquarters, as the on-site administrators could give a shit less about the management of the building. They are only hear to live expense-free and save for their retirement.

Realizing...
The many options before me, which I don't always see.

Working...
On a project I'm really excited about and that feels amazing.

I am...greedy, to be sure, but I'm less concerned on my birthday with presents than with the presence of a few good friends.

I hate when people use lack of presents or lack of money as an excuse to cancel at the last minute. It's impossible to make reservations or even to shop and make dinner. That's irritating. But what can you do? Sometimes people think you won't miss them, but when everyone thinks that, it adds up.

All the cancellation calls came as I got off work and went across town. The one friend who had a legit excuse, actually let me know by early afternoon that she was in no condition to come, as she had to put her very old cat to sleep. He was a dear, furry, old man and I'm sorry to see him go.

I picked up my cake, brie, apples and pears on my way to Rob's. To my surprise, he was there early, so I could get a shower before the others showed up. It's good not to be a stinky Birthday Princess.

James and his wife Sang arrived and we ate brie that I'd melted over the fruit. It was gooey and delicious. James and Rob got acquainted. Although I'd worked with Rob and then with James, they had not worked closely with one another.

We walked down Ninth Avenue to the Delta Grille, a New Orleans restaurant not far from Rob's. It was a unanimous hit, unlike last year's pick, Tagine, which Rob still complains about. I ordered Catfish LaFitte over crawfish and succotash (leading to much succotash debate and humor), Jamie ordered blackened tofu over salad like a good boy, Rob ordered pecan-crusted crabcakes and Sang ordered Jambalaya, which came in a tiny, black cauldron. No one would venture to share some alligator with me. We all sampled and compared dishes. Everything was savory and/or spicy and all around delicious.

During dinner, I took calls from Mom and The Boy from Dodger Stadium, Dorothy, the boy with a brain, and missed calls from Louise and Nina from my building (I have a very common cell phone model, as did a guy at the next table, so I gave up figuring out whose was ringing after a while).

Fang called as I was leaving Rob's. I'm so glad for that. She got fired shortly before me and hasn't been doing very well this summer, either. How I've needed to touch base with her, both because I needed the understanding only she can provide and because I've been concerned about her. It was great to have one of those brilliant, funny conversations like only we sisters across the ages can have.

. . .

I didn't mention it was my birthday at work. Esther, the person who sits nearest me noticed I was a bit more animated and giddy just below the surface when she'd only seen my calm, cool, workplace exterior. So I told her, very late in the afternoon. I walked into my boss' office half an hour later and he looked at me, dumbfounded.

"So, it's your birthday? Why didn't you say something?"

"I was keeping it on the down low this year."

"No, don't keep it on the down low! You've got to share things like this."

. . .

I was supposed to help Esther stuff envelopes Thursday afternoon, so I didn't think much of it when she asked me to join her in the conference room. Except that we'd agreed I'd do the stuffing at my desk, so I could answer the phone.

"I have a few other people helping," Esther said.

I turned the corner into the small hallway where the conference room is located and there were dozens of people spilling out of the conference room into the hallway. When I saw one of the Rabbis, I realized this was not a mailing project and it dawned on me what was going on, what that last minute meeting in my boss' calendar meant.

The facilities manager told me she turned 50 right when she started at the non-profit. "I was new, like you, so I didn't say a word, either. Then the president called me up to his office and they surprised me just like this. That was six years ago. Welcome to the family!"

I can't say when I've ever been so touched.

[Next entry: "Hoping for a Sweet New Year"]
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