I hate birthdays. Every year I push this thought to the back of my mind in the hope that I’ll stop caring, but with little success. It’s not to do with being older – I can deal with that just fine. It’s not the feeling of having achieved nothing in the previous year either – in fact I’ve done quite a lot in the last 12 months – toured Europe, moved to China, got a proper adult job, etc, etc. This year it has more to do with the underlying feeling that I’m not a fit centrepiece for a celebration, being the miserable non-gregarious cunt I am. Every celebratory failure reminds me of this and I get into my annual funny mood I can’t shake off.
Still, this year’s gathering wasn’t without fun. The fact that so few people turned up turned out to be due to confusing text-messaging on my part, rather than any personal animosity. “Pool party tomorrow for my birthday on Sunday” means Sunday (not tomorrow) to Chinese readers, apparently. And also to me, now I look at it.
Lying by the pool with a calimoxo is never a grudge, though, and the Indian restaurant we went to afterwards was excellent. Met up with some more people in the evening for drinks at a barbeque, which was good too, but I still ended up sitting there at 1am drinking with middle-aged German and Malaysian men, listening to bad jokes and interminable stories. I could have gone to a club but didn’t really feel into it by then, so I just went home to bed.
Today, my actual birthday, has been less of a strain as I have spent it generally on my own, lying by the pool again. For the first time in my life I’m getting a tan, in a country where tans are immensely unfashionable. It was a good day. Tomorrow’s teaching starts at 8am.
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