Wes Anderson and Bill will not be dining with us this evening…

Five days and counting until I self implode or sprout wings, turn into a pegasus and shit rainbows. Those are my two options for turning 31. Aside from worrying about the fall out of colorful diarrhea, I’m trying to plan my birthday dinner.

For the last 12 or 13 years I have always had ideas of grandeur when it comes to my birthday dinner. In my brain space, it takes place on some gorgeous late summer evening; outside with ample candlelight and rows and rows of those pretty little ball lights strung from this to that like you see in every rom-com about Italy or France. 

Wine and whiskey are flowing. People are not just happy, they are gay because shit, this is my birthday soiree (‘party’ does not quite envelop the essence I am obviously going for) and we are not just laughing, we are reveling in gaiety! 

Dinner is beyond fabulous at some beautiful outdoor table littered with flowers and candles that emit twinkling light which dances across my beautiful friends’ faces as we chatter about the most important things in life, and do so with wit and cleverness. (I pretty much stole my birthday dream dinner from Chocolat, if you still need a visual.) 

Some girls dream about their wedding day, I dream about the perfect birthday. The perfect dress, the perfect hair, the beautiful people who are all around to celebrate the most fabulous thing: I WAS PUT ON THIS PLANET.

This dream has never really come to fruition save one pathetic attempt for my 21st birthday and that came out of necessity because I was dating a 20 year old who couldn’t go to the bar. 

It usually plays out something like this: a few weeks before my birthday I will be mildly drunk and these romantic visions start floating back into my head. I’ll start talking of plans, possibly even text a few people asking them to save the date. I may even go so far as to look up recipes for delightful appetizers and scrumptious meat dishes because you can only have ‘delightful’ and scrumptious’ food at this ‘gay soiree’. 

About five days before, friends will start asking me about solidifying plans and I balk. Not because I don’t have a venue or a menu or something to wear. I realize that none of my friends have ever really met one another. Ultimate birthday soiree fear: will the beautifully diverse group of friends I have cultivated get along?

If my life was a Wes Anderson movie, this would be the perfect setting for hilarious shenanigans, a rousing game of darts in head dresses, and insightful conversation with awkward moments at every turn. But my life is not a Wes Anderson movie. Bill Murray is not on the guest list.

Someone always manages to offend someone else. An off-color remark is made that is well received by some, distasteful and shameful to others. I will of course try and prevent this but whiskey and wine do not held tongues make. 

And every year I start to realize there is a reason my friends don’t often know of one another: I don’t introduce them to protect them. I know Burtha is going to make a racist comment that is going to appall Jackson so why even put them together in the first place? Dennis is going to feel out of place by Karen’s Chanel bag and incessant babbling about her fabulous job because he’s still working in construction and waiting for ‘this next job’ that’s going ‘to be the big one’.

No, it’s not my place to do this. It is not my place to keep people separate for fear of combustion. But I do. And every year I have to wonder why I gravitate to such diverse people that can never seem to get along when all together. I still have yet to figure that one out.

I came across this quote this week while reading Travels with Myself and Another by Martha Gellhorn:

“I am certain that the barrier between the races- white, black, brown, yellow- is not only due to color prejudice and the dissimilarity of values. It is largely due to boredom, the real killer in human relations. We do not laugh at the same joke. We bore each other sick.”

(Politely ignore any outdated terms as this was published in 1978 and frankly, Gellhorn wouldn’t give two fucks if it did bother you.)

She is speaking to the trip to China she endured where she met with royalty and peasant alike and very rarely did she have a laugh. Even through translation, she didn’t get the joke. 

I want my dinner party to be an evening of love and happiness and laughter. I want everyone to get the joke. I just don’t think that they will. 

So my plans of grandeur will be stunted with excuses; small get-togethers downtown and late evenings drinking on the porch will surface and my birthday will get spread across the late summer evenings of a few days. 

Just once, I wish I had the balls to ask Wes Anderson and Bill to show up for my birthday soiree. Maybe next year.

This is Leo. I know, original right?




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