Monday, October 11, 2010

Older Is Better

This past Saturday Steve and Julie threw Tom a 50th birthday party at their house in Sacramento. I drove us there in a City CarShare car at a brisk speed, trying to make up for the traffic jam that had us crawling inch by inch from the south side of Golden Gate Park all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge toll booths, mainly people looking for parking for the Blue Angels show.

Normally we would just go across the Bay Bridge (or take the train), but my sewing machine was in need of repairs, so we dropped it off on Irving St. first. North of the bridge, we took the John F. McCarthy Memorial Bridge from San Rafael to Richmond and then drove through a vast industrial wasteland en route to I-80.

In Richmond, we were stopped at a traffic light behind a Dodge Charger which was next to a Pontiac GTO, both with vanity plates, and when the light turned green, there was a spontaneous drag race, which the GTO won.

Tom and I found we’d both brought the same CD, which has never happened before: the Dixie Chicks, Taking the Long Way. That’s the only Dixie Chicks CD I have, and I think it’s wonderful. I got it after seeing the documentary Shut Up & Sing, which made me a permanent fan of Natalie Maines. If I’m driving alone, I bring Korn and Drowning Pool, etc., but when Tom will be there, I try to pick out something he might like. (He also brought another Dixie Chicks CD, surf music, and Billy Idol’s greatest hits. I also brought Fuel and Aerosmith’s Nine Lives.)

The party was splendid. As at all of Tom’s family’s parties, the company, conversation and food were excellent. Steve and Julie really outdid themselves decorating and making everything just so. The weather was perfect, too—warm and caressing, as it often seems to be there.

Steve, thinking of everything, provided Tom with an “Older is better” necklace and “50” glasses. I’ll post a photo of the latter one of these days.

Attendees: Steve and Julie, Tom and Donna, Ann and Mac, Paul and Eva, Lee and Shirley, Steve and Kathy, Melinda and Jim, Dan, Abby, and me. (Chris and Kristen were off to Paris, and Sarah and Josh were camping.)

Several of the group went in on a big gift for Tom: a previously cherished MacBook, to replace the latest in his growing collection of moribund computers. This was Julie’s thoughtful idea, I handled communications and taking pledges, and Paul did the heavy lifting—shopping, choosing a computer, going to pick it up, and attending to all the finishing touches. He even threw in a printer. Tom seemed very pleased.

It was really a great afternoon and evening. When Tom and I got home, we took a quick peek at my photos from the day—I also took short videos of Tom opening his laptop and printer—and the next morning, Sunday, I went up to connect the computer and printer and get Tom online. (Next project: extracting music files and photos from the dead computers.)

Then I got a pickup truck from City CarShare (the only thing available with no notice) and went to retrieve my sewing machine, which was already done, on to Rainbow for grocery shopping, and then home to chop veggies and rinse fruit.

I noticed lately I’d drifted into thinking that I shouldn’t eat certain things, so, to counteract that in a convincing manner, I have pretty much decorated my entire apartment with bags of potato chips, which has a strangely soothing effect.

Julie sent me home Saturday night with a giant slab of Tom’s chocolate birthday cake, which I had for breakfast on Sunday. I wasn’t really intending to eat all of it, but found that was happening, and realized there was a little voice inside saying it would be better if I didn’t. Which was leading inevitably to doing so.

So I told myself, “Of course it’s fine to have cake for breakfast. It’s perfectly fine to eat all of this cake right now, and of course there will be many, many more times when we’ll have cake for breakfast.”

Some other little voice in there, probably me when I was seven, said, “There will be?”

“Yes, of course there will be,” I assured that self, and then stood up and put the rest of the cake back in the refrigerator, and I’m pretty sure I heard that other self say, “Oh, well, if it’s allowed, then I don’t want to anymore.”

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