Remember the days when you'd get a birthday card from a distant aunt in the mail and a call with your parents and siblings clustered around the phone having planned long in advance to make an actual long-distance call (or in my world, a collect call from Mrs. Nocall – wink wink – that I was to reject but which, I was to understand, was meant to stand for birthday wishes in a cheap manner that also served as economic warfare against Ma Bell)? If you were lucky, you’d get a bunch more cards at the birthday party that the sisters in your feminist collective or the relatives in your cousins club would organize in your honor.
Well here we are in 2011 and for my 64th birthday I got good wishes from well over 100 people - many of whom I've never met in the flesh - on a dozen platforms. I got a handful of snail mail cards from several continents, including one sent early by a local friend who was in S. Korea before her greeting arrived at my door. I got phone calls from a score of friends from around the country, from Tel Aviv, from Bristol England, and from London.
I was Skyped by a friend who was in Maine after just returning from the Philippines and messaged by a Middle Easterner living in D.C. I was chatted by a Californian and had voicemails of “Happy Birthday” sung to me with various degrees of ability in various languages on both my landline and my cell phone. I was thoroughly texted.
Facebook was totally over the top. About 100 of my nearest and dearest were incredibly near and dear and some said the sweetest things about my over-rambunctious posting habits. I felt so appreciated and I replied to each and every individual good wish; assuming I didn’t miss any in the crush. (That heart is for the love my friends gave me, not any love for FB itself.)
I got a snail mail card from one bank and then a happy b-day email from another. I find that, frankly, creepy and it’s a shame these institutions don’t know my opinion of them or they’d save the byte and stamp.
There was the door bell and face-to-face hugs (and goodies) from both my partner and my old friend (as in, since the day I left home for Boston in 1965). In addition, two close girlfriends (from Italy and Switzerland) arrived to stay with me.
There were online birthday cards, some with innocent, jolly music – and some with naughty images. There was even a sort of poem, an annotated lyric to "When I'm 64", printed and hand-written with special love.
So to repeat in no order. The ways in which people can now communicate a birthday wish have multiplied -- and mine included:
- Mailed cards
- Online cards
The only one I can think of that I missed out on was a message written in icing on a cake – although I was given both a pie by my pal, a fluffy cake by my dance students and a chocolate torte by my overseas houseguests. And there was no slingshot delivery, no sign pulled by an aircraft nor any skywriting. Can you think of other media I haven’t mentioned?
Thanks so stupendously much, my friends. It was ever so much fun running from Facebook to Skype while the phone was ringing and the door was knocking and the mail was arriving and the chat box was beeping and the online cards were tinkling. Now that I’m actually 64, I’m going to lie down and try to recover.