If you woke up today wondering why your keys have gone missing, you have a sudden intense craving for a chai latte (tall, nonfat, no water), and you're walking like you've come down with a case of polio, don't worry. It's not a brain tumor; you're just celebrating International Arley Appreciation Day in style. (That ringing in your ears: probably angels descending from heaven to sing glad tidings of joy). That's right, today I am 27 years old, which makes me officially old as fuck. (At least when you're 26 you can consider yourself closer to 25 than 30. The main purpose of your 27th birthday is to make you think, "Hot damn. Do I really only have another 10 years of viable reproductivity left before my babymaker shrivels up? Shouldn't I at least have a paying job by now? Should I start going on dates? Should I stop using phrases like "babymaker shrivels up" so as not to scare off potential suitors?")
I am determined, however, not to let this birthday descend into another quarter-life crisis; (those of you witnessed my drinking-to-forget-and-winding-up-puking-for-three-days-straight 25th birthday will agree that's probably for the best). No, today is a day to look on the bright side and I am determined to remain cheery. For example, when I woke up this morning and opened my medicine cabinet to find a brown cockroach-shaped blur speeding off my toothbrush (!!) to hide behind my leave-in conditioner, I did not think that my 27th year was getting off on the wrong foot. Instead, I told myself that this was a chance to give myself a special birthday present in the form of a brand new toothbrush and one of those toothbrush protector cases. Happy birthday to me. I also told myself that going leave-in-conditioner free would just give my hair that extra hint of body (read: out-of-control frizz) that will make all the gentlemen swoon. And the fact that I went to brunch with friends and then ran into a former professor of mine without brushing my teeth: well, maybe they were so focused on my breath they did not pay attention to whatever social gaffes I was making at the time. See! Silver linings abound!
I do, however, have a lot to be thankful for. Yes, I might have a few cockroaches in my house, but my rent is so cheap that you have to expect to share the place with a few roommates...and that many of those roommates will have more than two legs. A few nights ago, I was sitting with A. on the couch eating homemade chili and garlic bread, watching the Utah Jazz lay the smack down, with my cat (who has somehow decided that the statute of limitations for being pissed off at me has expired) purring on my lap, thinking, "well, yeah, I still walk like a downtrodden 17th century peasant, am unable to sit for more than 5 minutes on a hard surface without significant ass bruising, have no career prospects or any idea where I'll be living in the next month, but I actually have it pretty good."
Part of my cheeriness is, of course, that I'm hanging out in Illinois and have been on a mission to cram as much socialization into the short time I'm down here as possible. Last night, for example, I went to see "The Men Who Stare At Goats" with Shawna and after the movie I was craving a nap. But when I found out that Amanda and Josh were going to a free concert at Krannert Art Museum (the band was called The Walkmen and they were actually pretty good), I thought to myself, "Arley, you can sleep when you're high as a kite on morphine recovering from surgery to correct your Freaky Cyborg Hip. Or, you can sleep when you're back in Vancouver and spending your Friday evenings catching up on the latest episode of "Say Yes to the Dress" and wondering, like oh my god, if the bride-to-be will pick the white dress or the other white dress. Get out there and see some live music." So, I did and got to spend a few hours listening to some good music and playing a friendly game of "Spot the Hipster." (A.K.A. "Are those shoes orthopedic in nature or just so incredibly trendy that they're beyond my powers of appreciation?") Then, even though I was tired, I thought, "well, I could sleep, or I could go out with Josh, Amanda and A. to a townie bar in Urbana until 2 a.m.," which is why, ladies and gentlemen, I have been in Illinois since Tuesday and am still firmly entrenched on Pacific Standard Time.
So, yes, I am having a great time and a happy birthday. If you live in Illinois, you should join me tonight at the Esquire (in Champaign) at 9 p.m. for a birthday celebration. If you live in Vancouver, you should wait for me to throw myself another birthday party once I get back because my ego is too big to allow my birthday celebration to be contained within one short day.
Oh, and to the GEO: there is power in a union!