Thursday, May 6, 2010

Birthday Wishes the Easy Way

My sister’s birthday is in two days and, unfortunately, her card is going to be late. I’m not usually late with things like birthday cards, unless the birthday falls during the first week of the month. What happens is I flip the calendar to the current month, usually sometime around the 6th, and realize how many birthdays I’ve missed between the first and the sixth. Oops.

Clearly, I’m not as organized as I used to be. I used to have an entire system built around birthdays where I had several alarms alert me at appropriate intervals prior to said birthday that gave me plenty of time to buy the card, purchase stamps, type a long letter to enclose in the card, sign the card, and then finally mail the card and letter, which would arrive either the day before or the day of said birthday.

These days I’m more likely to send an e-mail birthday greeting. If I’m really truly inspired I might even send an e-card, but those require extra steps – and I suspect that some recipients don’t even bother opening the attachment. Nevertheless, I seem to have joined the ranks of the lazy (or the enlightened, depending on your viewpoint) where e-mails suffice for all sorts of greetings. I take some comfort in the knowledge that I haven’t yet resorted to e-mail wedding wishes, condolences or thank you’s (for big stuff, anyway).

I have this weird knack of remembering people’s birthdays. My best friend’s birthday from first grade? July 8th. A coworker’s birthday from a summer job I had in college? November 30th. The kid I babysat when I was 12? February 11th. I could, of course, be totally making up those dates and you wouldn’t know the difference. But they’re all true – really.

The only problem with remembering birthdays is that there are a whole lot more people who have come into my life through all these years and my little brain is getting full up. I suspect I’m gonna have to start dumping some of the old birthdays to make room for some of the newer ones. After all, do I really need to remember the birthday of the guy who sold me my first new car? (June 1st.)

Like many old(er) people, though, my long term memory is more reliable than my short term memory and I can’t seem to remember birthdays of newer folks in my life (like, say, the people I’ve met in the last 5-10 years). I have to rely on careful recordkeeping and an accurate calendar for that. And, again, woe to anyone whose birthday falls anytime during the first week of the month.

Obviously, I don’t send birthday cards to everyone I know or have ever known. Can you imagine the expense? I, for one, don’t own stock in Hallmark. But even worse – can you imagine the reaction of the coworker from my summer job during college upon receiving a card from me? The word “stalking” might possibly enter his mind and he’d ponder the necessity of taking out a restraining order. Not the sort of reaction I would have been going for by sending a card featuring happy birthday-singing kittens!

So, instead, I merely send birthday wishes through the cosmos to anyone who might potentially involve the legal system. I figure it’s much safer this way. I can only imagine standing before a judge and pleading, “…but they were only singing kittens, Your Honor!”

Now, of course, there’s Facebook. Birthdays are announced in the little box on the lower right side of the home page. Plus, I even get a weekly e-mail alerting me to all the upcoming birthdays. Pretty convenient, eh? This should be a relatively failsafe method of wishing those folks celebrating birthdays anytime during the first week of the month, but I have a tendency to hit the “delete” button a little too quickly as I don’t like a lot of e-mails in my in-box at any one time.

I wonder how many people actually appreciate receiving all those “happy birthday” posts on their wall in the days surrounding their birthday? Maybe not so much if they’re trying to forget the number of birthdays they’ve actually celebrated. Personally, I like having my birthday acknowledged. I mean, yeah, I’m pretty shocked at how old I’m getting to be, but as the saying goes, it’s better than the alternative!

I believe there’s a moment in everyone’s life when they briefly catch their reflection in a mirror and wonder who that middle-aged person is. Yep, it’s happened to me. I don’t like it much, but don’t think I can do much about it. So I’ll just be the old lady who remembers birthdays and sends happy birthday-singing kitten cards. Only don’t expect them on time anymore. I mean, there’s only so much I can do with my little full-up brain and my unreliable short term memory.

Oh, and by the way, Happy Birthday Denise! (Now, if I can just get you to read one of my blogs. If you did, you’d see that your card is gonna be late.)

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