Thursday, 31 December 2009

You have yesterday as well as today

and, all being well, tomorrow.
Rachel pointed out that I have yesterday. It is just as well. It is my birthday today and I am not feeling particularly happy about it. Indeed, if I am honest, I am not happy about it at all. I am too old. I have not achieved enough. There are times when I feel I have not achieved anything at all. Other people can retire at my age. I feel as if I have barely started. I need yesterday.
Last night my father said that he wants his 90th in three years time. He wants it with a splash and a magician. He had a magician for his 80th - a friend of his. He hates the sort of party where people "just stand around and talk". I think I just hate parties. Really.
You cannot talk with people at parties. They are noisy. People fuss. Some of them eat and drink too much. The "conversation" is superficial - if there is any at all. I do not "network" well. I cannot sell myself, nor do I want to sell myself. I would rather know about other people.
There is usually a curious assumption that I have a party to go to on my birthday, after all it is New Year's Eve. Right? Wrong. Most years I have just crawled into bed or, more likely, on to bed in the heat. I do not want to be out and about when idiots who have had too much to drink are doing wheelies on the roads. I remember one disastrous year in my early teens. We took the one family camping holiday we ever had - complete with borrowed tent, sleeping bags and camp equipment. We were in a large caravan park. The caravans had the best sites of course. Tenters were expected to be well away from everything else. We were at the farthest point. My parents hoped it would be quieter there. It was not. The entire night was little better than a drunken brawl Australian style. There were also mosquitoes, flies, ants and other insects - all of which expected a share of the baked beans on smoky black toast which was my birthday tea. I have never wanted to celebrate my birthday since then and, even before that, I was not exactly keen.
Coming in the middle of the school holidays as well as on New Year's Eve my mother always found an excuse not to celebrate my birthday. "Later perhaps" I would be told but later never came. Then, quite suddenly, I was simply too old for birthdays to matter and now I do not want them because they remind me of how old I am.
But yesterday is important - the long yesterday of my life. It is what I have most of, what has made me into my today.
My father has made me a wooden box. Inside he put some wooden buttons, oak, olive, mulga, elm and walnut. They are "experiments". The timber is beautiful. The grain on each button is fine. The olive and the mulga are streaked with colour, the oak is silky as is the walnut. The elm comes in between.
I feel like a button fastened on to life by a single, fragile thread.

4 comments:

Donna Hosie said...

It is normal to feel melancholy on ones birthday, but I will wish you a happy day and a wonderful 2010. It's been a pleasure getting to know you, and I mean that most sincerely.

catdownunder said...

Thankyou Donna. It is 42'C here so I have a good excuse to hibernate!

Rachel Fenton said...

Point de capiton; anchor points to hold you steady. How beautiful that your father made you those.

Ring out the old, Cat (wring its neck if it helps - twice) and ring in the new - a better new year; a year where everything turns out unexpectedly right and you get the success, health and happiness you deserve.

Rachel Fenton said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY - hope it's quiet spectacular!