Well, I must say, I impress myself: I didn’t think I’d live to see 25. I fondly reminisce the catalogue of occasions when I should’ve died, and I think, “I AM PANDA. I AM INDESTRUCTIBLE!” But, like my spirit animal, God has deemed me evolutionarily unsustainable and will undoubtedly have a harsher punishment awaiting me in this next quarter century…
Taking Stock at 25
I’m no spring chicken anymore. I need to get my shit together. Time to stop going ham (every pun intended) and find me a man. In the next five years, I plan to slough off this biting-but-some-find-it-sexy personality and invest heavily in Botox and other aesthetic remedies, as I thoroughly intend on marrying up in the world. Work is hard. I can’t seem to convince anyone to invest in my awesomeness by my own devices, so best do it the old fashioned way and just be some Wonderbread corpse’s jade pet (don’t judge – girl’s gotta eat).
Here are some flashback snippets of my life leading up to this milestone that remind me of my maturity:
A few nights ago, I was lying in bed, encased in an effective rat’s nest of pillows and duvet cover and clothes (that I’d been putting off putting into my drawers all of 3ft away from my bed for—eh—two weeks), my face illuminated by not one but two screens: the first, Sex & the City playing on my laptop screen; the second, my iPhone, as I was pinning food porn onto my Pinterest board labeled “Soul Food” (it’s actually really stunning food photography I recommend everyone troll it). Then I broke out in maniacal laughter as I exclaimed to the universe (and to my roommate on the other side of our paper-thin, makeshift divider wall), “I am so sad.” Time of death: 10:23pm EST.
“Have you realized yet that your entire New York existence is three degrees of separation away from The Swan (local watering hole)?”
Boss: “You always bring interesting-looking food in.”
Me: “That’s because it’s ethnic.”
Me: “Must be said [insert_boss’s_name_here], it makes me really insecure when you stand over me while I eat.”
Male Caucasian co-worker: “You know, I’d love it if this office was less white.”
Me, as only non-white in office: “Me too, girl.”
Roommate comes into my room with a Whole Foods cupcake impaled by a star-shaped candle. “Haaaappy biiiiirthdayyy—*candle blows out*—aw shit, rewind.” Leaves the room. Returns 11.2 seconds later with re-lit candle. “Haaaaappy biiiiiirthdayyy…”
Mildly hot friend of a friend who came to my birthday drinks and bought me tequila shots: [in heinous attempt at Spanish]: “Feliz cumpleaños a ti, feliz cumpleaños a ti…”
Me: “Do you even remember my name?”
A couple weeks ago, for my über-hot intern’s leaving gift, my boss made me buy him an iPad, on my card (to be reimbursed at a later date). Have yet to be reimbursed the $400.
On Monday’s team meeting:
“We have xyz in the production pipeline, so Frances should be promoting that this week. By the way, it’s her birthday.”
Everyone, with immeasurable enthusiasm and verve (in unison): “Oh yea, Happy Birthday.”
Co-worker: “We all got you a little something, too!” (Really, everyone?)
In a little square box from Pier 1 Imports, I found… a little glass pig… with wings. The inscription read: “Penelope the Pig is so charming, she just made the impossible…possible,” to be interpreted as either a snide comment about my work or a comment about my curves (TBD). Upon later inspection (What the hell does this mean?), I found the price tag still on box: Retail $3.00. They couldn’t just buy me food? I am not one for the finer things (See: title of this blog), but no one thought to get me some nuclear ho-ho’s or something?
Friend: “Girl, you need to get the hell out of there. Are they tryna tell you you’re fat?”
Me: “I have NO idea what they’re tryna tell me.”
Text from Mom: “Happy birthday Baby. What did you do to celebrate? Did you get drunk yesterday for being a year older?” Ye of little faith. But yes, Mom, I did. Because age is something to lament…unless you’re Asian, because I’mma look this way till I’m 60.
Call from Dad: “Haaaaappy birthday! Are you at the bar?”
Me: “Thanks, Dad! But no. It’s 10am and I’m at work.”
Dad: “Aw, that suck.” (No, that’s not a typo)
Me: “Yes, Dad.”
Still broke, but in all serious, I’m actually very happy. My life is a beautiful mixture of nonsensical paradoxes: Why am I in finance when I studied to be a Renaissance Woman, otherwise known as a kept wife? Why does a coffee shop in the middle of the hood sell a cappuccino sans latte art for $4? Why am I attracted to the Brazilian waiter at my local samba spot when he looks like Tarzan in a high bun? Has my local bodega guy really started calling my roommate and I “chicken cutlet”? That’s New York. It’s beautiful and indulgent and colors your world with many an exciting thing, like a kimchi taco from a food truck at 4am or a gospel church in someone’s basement. I still can’t believe I’m here sometimes. It’s just the right amount of weird and unrefined, with a shot of highbrow sophistication at unexpected moments, more often than not on days when I didn’t bother to shade in my eyebrows.
New York, YOU are my great milestone gift. I love you. Thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone!