The funny thing about my birthdays is that things almost always go wrong.
Still a fond memory is my eleventh birthday, where there was a party I never attended due to a monster storm that actually stranded about 30 of us kids in school. We had to sleep on PE gym mats strewn about the floor of the history classroom (I remember us trying to spook the younger kids), and played Agawan Base in the dawn sunlight, dew and all.
There are others: last year's surprise attack, for example, was also hampered by weather, and most guests couldn't make it, even the ones already on the way. Twelfth birthday, heavy traffic hampered the proceedings. And on and on. I stopped having parties after my 13th birthday. That was 8 years ago. Since then I usually spent my birthdays myself, using it as a day for being introspective, thankful, and assessing where I'm at.
Yesterday I had the best birthday of my life.
Neva had planned it all, along with my mom. While I fitfully slept through all of Saturday morning and some of the afternoon, they were setting up tables, chairs and food downstairs, and Neva was picking people up from a rendezvous point in Makati. They crept into my room slightly after one, and when I stirred, thinking there was a rat in my room (tightly-packed friends trying to be quiet makes a scuttling noise, apparently), scared me half to death by screaming mangled attempts at "SURPRISE!" (but which really sounded like one long "YAAAAAAAAARRRHHHHH!!!!!", not that I'm complaining). Thank God I don't sleep in the nude, as Marnie would mention later on.
Possibly the best birthday gift is having a birthday where everything goes just right.
I could've woken up earlier and seen the arrangements being made. I could've woken up and decided to catch some movies at Cinemanila. I could've woken up and read a missent text message from Neva telling me to "Be at Ramon's by 1 PM." I could've been buck naked (and the party would have died right there, a botched abortion).
But everything went off without a hitch, from the surprise to the food. We all had a nice lunch, talked all sorts of sordid subjects, watched some special features from the Amelie DVD, and just basically caught up with one another and enjoyed each other's company. Chris attacked the beer with gusto, as expected. Harvey showed me the finished comic strip we'd been working on, which looks terrific. Dep lent me The Evil Dead. General chaos and hilarity ensued. A good time was (hopefully) had by all.
My friends are rarely at my house, since I live down South (not that far down, but still pretty far from everyone else). As such, when they ARE here, a lot of my stuff gets borrowed, and effectively my shelves lose about a third of their contents. :)
Gifts included the fucking beautiful Pictures That Tick, an oversized hardcover collection of short stories by Dave McKean (from Neva, who was privy to my months of pining for it). Chris gave me the Catwoman: The Dark Side of the Street TPB, another book I'd been eyeing (indeed, its disappearance from CCHQ, where Chris got it, was something I brought up with store owners Kat and Tin, who played along so that I wouldn't know he'd gotten it). I got bungee laces from Alia, a caricature and card from my sister Sandy, some bath stuff from Trinka and Arlyn, a Traci Lords laserdisc from Carlo (co-starring Ricki Lake and Ted Raimi, brother of Spider-Man director Sam Raimi), and of course, from Julia, Japanese sweet porn.
I may not be the most popular guy or have the most friends, but I daresay I've got the best group of friends anyone could ask for.
If I died tomorrow that would be the best thing I could say about my life.
"I had the best friends."
Thank you Alexis, Alia, Arlyn, Chris, Dep, Gabby, Harvey, JoeyBrash, Julia, Katrice, Lia, Marco, Mark, Marnie, Ozzy, Quark, Tina, and Trinka for going.
Thank you Arnold, Bodge, Carlo, Colleen, Ate Cyn, Genie, Goldie, Hannah, Jeline, Jenny, Jessie, Joey Tolosa, Jomi, JoPi, Justin, Katie, Maggie, Marelle, Sir Mark Escaler, Mich, Mo, Nikki, Paul E., Paolo, PJ Chanco, PJ Mariano, Ray, and Tina for your greetings. :) Happy birthday to Bodge, and belated happy birthday to Carlo as well.
Thank you to my family, Donna, Tita Ambang and Lola Pi.
Most of all, thank you Neva. :)
P.S. If I've forgotten anyone, please forgive me and contact me ASAP to correct this list.