Go, go, go shawty
It’s your birthday
We gon’ party like it’s yo birthday
We gon’ sip Bacardi like it’s your birthday
As I do every year on my birthday for no good reason whatsoever, here’s a rare frontal shot of The Daughter and I. This is from a few years ago. We’re at our favorite diner.
Which diner is our favorite? That would be whatever diner we happen to be sitting in. They’re ALL good.
My posts tend to be somewhat city-centric. I don’t dwell in New Jersey too often. I don’t have the same affinity for the Garden State that I do for Gotham City. I don’t mind living there, but I spent so many years in the city that it got under my skin. Unlike any rational human being, I never tired of the inconveniences and downsides.
But over this past holiday weekend, I saw New Jersey in a different light. We went to an authentic, all-American block party for the 4th of July. Two ends of the street were blocked off with orange cones and kitchen chairs. There were dozens of families there and everyone brought something to eat. (One evil super-villain brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, knowing full well that it’s my kryptonite. God bless you, Col. Sanders. God bless you, evil super-villain.)
To be perfectly frank, I don’t have a great chemistry with our lovely neighbors. Mrs. Wife fits right in. Over the years, she has become an integral part of the community. She volunteers at the school and is at the core of a group of people who try to make it a better place to live. But I got nothin’. It’s not from lack of effort, either. I go to these gatherings and can’t seem to insert myself into any conversations. They all peter off into that embarrassing silence. I talk a pretty good game! I don’t get it. It’s as if I was back in high school, sitting at the corner cafeteria table being ignored. I thought I’d seen the last of those days but here I am again.
I was sitting off to the side all alone stuffing my face with fried chicken, cold pasta salad and beer, and I watched the swirl of activity going on all around me. My usual city cynicism was nowhere to be found. What I saw was suddenly very moving to me.
Some manly men were manning three grills and feeding the masses. There were about a half dozen long folding tables overflowing with food. Coolers filled with drinks were everywhere. I have no idea where any of this stuff came from! It just appeared! You simply walked up, filled your plate, opened a cooler, grabbed a beer and enjoyed yourself. I watched my two daughters stand in a long line of kids who were patiently waiting for pink and blue cotton candy. I watched 5-Year Old Daughter wrestle with a wad of cotton candy as big as her head, big smile on her face, a red ribbon tying back her hair, and it moved me to a place I’m too embarrassed to mention.
There were water balloon toss games and Silly String battles for the kids. When darkness fell, thin glow sticks came out and glowing bracelets and necklaces were fashioned. I wore two bracelets; one orange and one yellow. Some guys had their guitars out. A spectacular, city-sponsored, fireworks display was launched from a barge floating on the Shrewsbury River.
I get it.
I get it!