Today is my 65th birthday. I’ve had a few very interesting birthdays over the years, like the surprise party that my daughter tried to give me with her dad’s help. It was a huge surprise when I showed up at my house packed with people and no party supplies. There was no food or drink, utensils … nothing except a lot of people. So, I spent the first part of that birthday party grocery shopping. Then there was the birthday that my friends’ daughter was born. They had asked me to come to their home birth to support the other two children. When this third daughter was born on my birthday, with me in attendance, they named her Deborah, after me.
Yesterday, it struck me how bizarre birthdays can seem. I don't feel any older than I was yesterday but much older than 10 years ago. My life undergoes drastic changes every 20 years, so maybe those are the birthdays I should celebrate. Meanwhile, this is the day everyone else recognizes, and that’s okay. I've been wading through my Facebook messages, trying to acknowledge every wish. I think it's important, since everyone took the time to post on my wall, for me to take the time to let people know that I've seen their messages. So far, this has been a good birthday, nothing extraordinary, but lots of thoughtful loving people reaching out to me, cupcakes at the end of class, lunch out and dinner out later. Those are the best gifts of all.
This is one of the few birthdays when I was able to answer the question, when asked, “What do you want for your birthday?” I was raised with the notion that telling people what you wanted was rude. You got what you got, and you'd better be happy and very grateful. As a result, I often got clothes that I never wore, books I wasn't interested in reading, and other useless things because my mom didn't really know me. I remember one birthday when this was a big issue. My dad asked me what I wanted, which was a novel thing, and I replied that I needed to think about it. Later, when I went looking for him with my answer, my mom, who was with him at the time, got very upset that I was rude enough to ask for something instead of waiting to be surprised. It didn’t seem to matter that I had been asked. Apparently, it was still rude. I do like surprises, but I know that I like to gift people what they want or need and often don't really know what that would be, so I ask and am relieved when I get an answer.
The other thing that often gets in the way of my answers to that question is not knowing the parameters of the gifts. How much money or time do they want to spend? Will I be asking for too much? Will they be insulted if I ask for a minor inexpensive thing? Will it be too hard for them to find? Will I seem rude if I answer at all? Will I seem rude if I don’t know? I guess I was trained well. This year however, I know what I want, and will find them for myself eventually, if necessary. I want a pretty cord for my glasses to hang around my neck. I want an office organizer for the dash of my car, and I want a portable pocket. Not a fanny pack, a pocket.
Yesterday, I read an article on Facebook about women’s pockets. Women’s clothing may as well have no pockets at all considering the size of them. You can barely fit your knuckles into one. I am a big pocket person. I’ve been wearing cargo pants to work in and have a work vest with many pockets. However, for the first time since I’ve had a phone, I’ve left it behind twice this summer because the skirts I was wearing didn’t have pockets. There is a whole social and political history of women’s pockets. Long ago, it was thought that women had no need to carry things around with them, so there was no need for pockets in their clothing. During the French revolution years, it was believed that women shouldn’t be concealing things. That could lead to insurrection. The current thought is that women have pocketbooks, so why do they need pockets? Maybe it’s because some of us would rather not have to keep track of a pocketbook. I don’t want to go into a bar to dance and have to worry about my purse. I want to put my phone, keys, money, a few business cards and my ID into a pocket. Years ago, women had portable pockets that they strapped around their waist, like a fanny pack. That’s what I want. I don’t want to deal with a zipper, drawstring or clasp. I want to be able to slip my hand into my pocket that is deep enough to hold everything without falling out.
I am a person that needs organizational things. I am easily distracted and tend to strew things, leaving a mess behind me, unless I have specific places to put them. Hence the organizer for my dash. I spend a lot of time in my car and need to access pens, Bluetooth, charger, hair ties, etc. without rooting around in a morass of random stuff. I need to hang my glasses around my neck when not wearing them, to avoid dropping them when I stand up, or tangling them in my hair because they’re on top of my head. And I need pockets … lots of them. Don’t we all? And, until fashion designers get on board, I'll be searching for portable pockets.