One of my first male friends shared my birthday, when we were about six; then there was Alex at school who also did (and does still). We had a sort-of joint thing once, by which I mean that I went to her birthday thing and some people gave me presents too and then I didn’t have to do any organising myself. Good work. And then we went to college and met not one, not two, but three people who also shared our birthday. And now I am living, next year, with a guy who also shares that birthday but is, I believe, a year younger than me. So happy birthday to all those concerned!
As you can imagine, if you’re about my age and have facebook, my wall is filled with congratulations on my birthday. Some of those are from people I haven’t spoken to in ages and people I never knew that well in the first place and I wonder if that’s just some kind of reflex reaction – see birthday notifications, send good wishes. I’m sure, however, that it’s all very well-meant. Some of those people I’ve not spoken to in ages are people I’m very glad to have heard from and I would probably do the same, even if the messages themselves are a bit generic, how many different things can you say about a birthday? Happy birthday, have a lovely day, have a good one, have one on me, have you got anything good planned for tonight, then? Then there’s the more old-fashioned Many Happy Returns, and then one friend (who I really haven’t seen in a long while and would really like to, when I’m a bit less busy in a few days, definitely, plan) who has reminded me that I am now old enough to adopt a child and hire a car in a foreign country, possibly even at the same time. Excellent.
Other people, whose congratulations are equally as bland, are indeed very good friends. So thank you to those too. And other people have used my birthday as an excuse to get back in touch and start talking about meeting up, to which, yes, if you’re reading this, absolutely.
So although I was tempted to get all curmudgeonly and bitch about how on your birthday, on facebook, millions of people you barely remember, and don’t mind forgetting, decide to get in touch to say something mindlessly dull about a day that really doesn’t matter that much to me. But actually, most of those greetings have put a smile on my face. I’ve been reminded of friends who are currently in wholly the wrong country, people who have been away or busy, or I’ve been away or busy, and however much we mean to meet up, catch up, it keeps not happening but that doesn’t mean that the thought’s not there.
So what I’m really saying is that, where it’s truly meant well, as an expression of friendship cherished and or memories well-loved, thank you. Really, I do mean that, despite the next paragraph.
I’m not into mindless giving of birthday wishes and this is where I think facebook is a bit weird, this obsessive collecting of ‘friends’, and there are plenty of people I’d not have on my friends list but deleting them is so final, if they found out it would be a rather complicated social slight and basically I can’t be bothered with making waves and upsetting people just because I really don’t remember or care about the last time we spoke but you might. Yes. Curmudgeonly, I told you. And, well, deleting people, even with Dom’s helpful list, is still a bit tedious.
Another thought I’ve just had is this: it’s kind of surprising how quickly one year or two have gone by and suddenly you think, when was the last time I saw X? And then you do, you have lunch, and it’s like you were never away. Or it’s awkward as arse. After all, this ain’t When Harry Met Sally.