[Originally written 12.31.2002]
Before I get into the fun of my birthday, I wanted to mention that three days ago I acquired a new tattoo. Cost me $100 and it’s on the back of my neck, at the bottom part of my head. It’s a bar code with the numbers 01380, which represents the only label I will ever need; that being I am human — nothing more, nothing less.
Sunday — Did not feel like sitting here doing nothing again, so I checked the movie times and decided on a 4:30pm showing. Chosen flick: Gangs of New York. Called up Jon to see if he was interested in going even though I had planned on going with or without him. Thankfully he was in the same mood to go out and do something, so he invited me to come over. A couple hours later I was in the happy land of South Jersey, the chilly ocean air filling my lungs. We had enough time to the hit the bong [because apparently we enjoy being high if we have to be in public] and then we were on our way.
Let me just say that was a damn good movie. It should win many awards, but that’s just my humble opinion. The costumes were great, the acting was great and I must say that Daniel Day Lewis stole the show. There was even an appearance by P.T. Barnum and his dime museum that we loudly applauded, much to the confusion of anyone else present.
Went back to Jon’s place where dinner was made and consumed as we talked about our favorite scenes. Wish I knew how to throw knives as well as Bill the Butcher, but that is not a skill Jon knows so unfortunately he could not teach me. It did make for an interesting conversation about someone he once knew who was a knife thrower and stories about how he performed better drunk than sober. After loading up the dishwasher, he rolled a fat blunt and we settled in bed together, watching television until we both fell asleep.
Monday — Somehow managed to pry myself out of bed and drive up to the DMV [in Springfield] around one. The line was ridiculously long, so I walked right back out again. Passed by the one in Elizabeth and said fuck it. Went to the mall for some new shoe laces, because that’s where my priorities are. First, I attempted to hit up Jersey Gardens, which was still packed with people [probably getting in on those post-holiday/end of the year sales], so I went to Woodbridge instead. Bought two sets of sparkly black ones and two sets of sparkly red ones. Drove around aimlessly for about an hour or so, as I really did not want to come back to the house, and it would be a few hours until I had to meet up with Jon again. Saw one or two diners that might be worth visiting. Passed by this run down Motel. Those dives really creep me out, because you know at least one person died there. Eventually decided it was time to head back, as Jon had specifically asked me to be in Newark by six, no later, not even a minute.
This is where the birthday ‘curse’ kicked in.
Somehow, I mistake a turn for an on-ramp to get back on the Parkway and wind up on 287 instead. Okay, no big deal, I can find my way; it is Jersey after all. So I get off at South Boundbrook because I am slightly familiar with the area. Of course I start driving in the wrong direction and don’t realize it until I’m near where the Ren Faire used to be held. Well, at least I finally knew where I was. Turned around and headed in the opposite direction, passed through Boundbrook and then forget which street to take to get on 22. Instead, I keep going and see a sign for 287, figuring I can at least get back on that. Followed the sign and wound up in a dead end. Even though I had seen the highway, I didn’t know how the hell to get on it. Turned around and ignored the sign as I passed it again, went back through Boundbrook and turned down a street that seemed like it would take me where I needed to go. Lo and behold, there’s a sign for 22!
Now that I had wasted a good half hour or so, I was finally on my way back to Union. Of course this was also around quarter to six, and I knew there was no way that I would be in Newark by six. Especially since I had to stop back here for some things, which in hindsight, I should have just taken with me to begin with. Manage to arrive at the house around 6:05, have enough time to get what I need, get card from Mom and run back out again. Unfortunately, I missed my Dad because he had called and said he would be stopping by at 6:30. Hell, if I had known that sooner, I could have called him at work or something. Oh well, his loss. He had the whole weekend to call me, and it’s certainly not my fault that someone cared enough to actually plan something on my birthday.
Hauled ass and arrived in Newark about 20 minutes late. Jon seemed a bit disappointed, but when I explained what happened he just laughed and gave me a big hug, assuring me that it was alright. We climbed into his Chevy where a celebratory blunt was lit and he could sense that I was excited for our evening out. However, the ‘curse’ continued as soon as we hit the road; the Holland Tunnel was completely packed. So we ditched it and headed for the Lincoln which also was crowded, but at least the traffic was moving.
Arrived in the City and I still had no clue where we were going, as Jon wanted to keep it a surprise. Parked the Chevy in a lot, and together we walked a few blocks to Broadway. That is when I noticed he had dressed up for the occasion: red button down shirt, vintage black silk tuxedo jacket, fitted black trousers and red leather boots that had silver caps on their pointy toes. This was not a side of him I often saw when we out together and quickly realized he meant for the evening to be special. Of course I managed to create a classy outfit with a simple black vintage dress, white tights and comfortable black leather pump. Had freshly shaved the sides of my head that morning before installing tons of blond extensions to contrast with my black hair, then flipped everything to the side.
We stopped in front of a theater as Jon had to search for something in one of his many coat pockets and there was a huge smile on his face when he looked up at me, a pair of tickets magically appearing in his hand. The sweetest boy in the word had brought me to my very first Broadway play called Dance of the Vampires. The story was about a vampire who falls in love with a woman and doesn’t want to reveal his secret; it contained a little drama mixed in with comedy. The set and costumes were fantastic, the overall presentation was quite good and I even did not mind all of the singing. Suffice to say I really enjoyed myself, especially since I had such great company.
After the play we wandered around the City until we found a decent place for a cup of coffee and slice of cake. Jon was all smiles whole time and of course I was to, thanking him at least a half dozen times while he kept assuring me that it was my birthday and I deserved something special. It certainly made up for those many years where the extent of celebrating my birthday was having ice cream cake with Mom and my sister. To be honest, I never really wanted much of a huge party or anything like that, just at least one person that wasn’t a relative to do something genuinely awesome with. Sitting in that joint and smiling because I was happy to share that moment with someone I have been friends with for two years now.
We spent a few more hours walking the streets to finish the blunt we had started earlier and recounted the night we randomly met. New York City was often painted as a place where anything could happen and you see it in movies yet there are doubts you could have such an experience. Life is funny though because it is always the unexpected that is waiting for us so long as we are in the right place at the right time. That just happened to be at a random party where I didn’t know anyone and was being the epitome of a wall flower, yet this amazing tattooed man wanted to talk to me. Two years later I sometimes still wonder what it is that he finds so appealing about me as I already have plenty of reasons for my feelings.
Picked up the Chevy and returned to Newark where I got into my own vehicle and followed him down to the Shore. It was somewhere in the early hours of the a.m. by the time we got to his house. Oh I was definitely happy to get into my comfy clothes. Dressing up is nice and everything, but after a long day, I just wanted to relax. We smoked a couple of bowls while curled up in bed and it didn’t take long for me to pass out.
Today — Didn’t go to school again because I was so tired. Jon said he had a few errands to run, so I drove up to the Rockaway Mall [as I knew Jersey Gardens would still be packed and didn’t want to go to Woodbrigde again] to spend some of the money he gave me on a couple of much needed bras. Passed by a horrid accident on the way in. That mall was packed as well, so I drove all the way back and went to Woodbridge anyway. Fortunately, Victoria’s Secret was having a 25%-50% off sale. Bought what I wanted and headed over to Linden to get some hair from the beauty supply store. Passed another horrid accident. Bought a pack of black human hair extensions, black eyeliner, clear lipgloss and a blue head scarf. Came back here to update about my adventures before getting ready to ring in the New Year with Jon.
In fact it’s time for me to head out. Going to legally purchase a bottle of champagne because now I can! Here’s looking forward to what the New Year will bring!