Sunday, May 2, 2010

Teetering on the precipice...and knickerbockers

In 50 minutes, it will be my birthday. Again. I’m teetering around on the top of the hill, just waiting for the chance to slide another year toward the finish line.

As you may have gathered, I’m not particularly cheerful about birthdays. I don’t necessarily fret about them, but I don’t embrace them with open arms either. It’s not a Big One this year. But the Big Ones don’t bother me. Generally, I can take an impartial look at them and be reasonably happy with the way life is going at that point.

Nope, it’s the ones either side of the Big Ones that seem to cause the most trouble. Take 29, for instance. There was some serious angst around that one. Mostly because I was in a great job with a terrible boss and was experiencing some, er, dissatisfaction with that dichotomy.

As a rule, my birthdays aren’t particularly memorable (those acquainted with this blog will know that this is because my memory has holes in it). My 21st is memorable because I spent half of it in a phone box (before mobiles, people…), crying over some boy who was not worth it.

My 30th was a huge affair in a dingy pub in the middle of The Big Smoke. A Sparkle party, with lots of people, lots of drinks, and a DJ in an orange shirt playing lots of ABBA. What can I say? I know how to attract the right crowd.

My 12th birthday was memorable too. Mostly because I was wearing knickerbockers (thank you Princess Diana). Khaki-green velvet knickerbockers with shiny gold buttons at the knee, worked back with a khaki-green, tiny-checked shirt. My memory fails at the shoes, but I remember owning a pair of gold flats at some point and it makes sense that this would have been the era. I went to Pizza Hut in my Princess-inspired finery.

When I was eight or nine, we lived in Alice Springs. Molly Malone, an American girl whose father had something to do with the secret US bases out there, came to my sleepover birthday party. That girl could put away a lot of pizza. Somewhere in our vast home-movie collection there is footage of her pretending to eat icecream. There is probably footage of me blowing out the candles or something, but I remember her, eating invisible icecream.

My 17th birthday involved pizza (are you sensing a theme here?) and Nutrimetics. The party plan saleslady told me, very seriously, never to line my top lashes. It would make me look mean-eyed and squinty. I took this advice very seriously, until my friend A (who has the same name as me and has earned the right to be brutal through sheer longevity) told me that I looked as though I’d put my make-up on upside down.

Which brings me to tomorrow. A Monday. A Monday after a wonderful weekend with my boys and some good friends. I'm in a good place. And this birthday, on a Monday, this birthday is a continuation and a new beginning. This could be the year it all happens. What? I’m not sure. But, you know, ‘it’.

And if it doesn’t? Well, there’s always pizza.

{image: Philippe Leridon}


  1. I think you need another pair of those green knickerbockers. (Because velvet makes any birthday better, you know.) Here's wishing you "it" and more!

  2. Happy Birthday! I hope that you have a wonderful year, and that it does all happen for you!

  3. Happy birthday! I think we must be the same age - because, I had those khaki corduroy knickerbockers too and have a tragic photo of me at 8 or 9 with those, long brown boots and a ruffle necked tartan shirt - along with the princess Di haircut. Meh. I think I'm even standing in front of my Dad's celica.

    Enjoy your pizza! xx

  4. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Enjoy your day and I hope you're spoilt rotten. Even if it is just with pizza. xo

  5. Happy Birthday. You sound like you are in a good place. The knickerbockers memory is hilarious - I didn't realise they could be so ornate! Mine were dark blue poly-cotton!!

  6. Happy Birthday for yesterday :) Love how the expectation to have the best day ever is so great. It's like New Years, but with the spotlight on you alone. The only thing worse would be to have your birthday on New Years Eve. Or the best - ready made party. :) BTW, my 10th b'day, I had a chick come over who put away the pizza too, maybe she lived here before gong to AS?

  7. Happy Birthday, fellow Taurean (I should've known, right?)...hoping this year is a brilliant one. With lots of good pizza!

  8. LOL birthdays... who'd have 'em? I've never been concerned about getting older, but I really don't "enjoy" birthdays, probably because there's so much pressure. Everyone saying "HAPPY Birthday" what if I'm not happy? What if I'm just neutral? I can't be happy on command.
    Anyway, ummm... yeah... Happy Birthday.

  9. Happy birthday - hope you celebrate with lots of invisible icecream {and maybe a smidge of the real stuff too}. Ahhhh, knickerbockers, mine were white, worn with a white, ruffle-fronted, pouffy pirate shirt and white shoes that had a touch of gold interwoven at the front. Indeed. Any wonder I became a goth in later years...

  10. Happy birthday, mate! I always forget we are oddly lined up in the birthday department also!

  11. You're just 21 (with 20 years experience). Not old at all!!!!
    Can you pop in for a birthday cuppa today? Would love to see you if you have a spare 15 - 30 mins. Or I can meet you out for a cuppa (or a drink if you need one ha ha ha)

  12. Happy Birthday old girl. Did you ever have roller skating birthdays? I dont remember ever having a birthday party. In fact you would be the one to know if i did or not.
    love Shauna (not Michael)

  13. Happy Birthday wonderful girl, wonderful writer. I LOVED reading about your birthday memories. Haven't you had some crackers? So glad you are a in a good place xo

  14. Happy no-pressure neutral birthday! May this be the year for you (no pressure).
    PS. No big 40 yet? Oh dear. But that one truly was the best night of my life (no pressure).

  15. Hope you're having a great birthday!Sounds like it will be a lot of fun...and you can write about it tomorrow!

  16. You had VELVET knickerbockers!?
    I'm so jealous!! :)
    Happy birthday. x

  17. Happy, happy birthday! You should have a re-enactment of the velvet knickerbockers. That Princess Di had a lot to answer for. Nutrimetics - gosh I'd forgotten all about that. My mum was a rep for them for a while. Lots of very expensive apricot kernel oil we weren't allowed to touch.

    Hope you're banking lots more lovely memories.

  18. OMG - I think I was at that nutrimetics party... What a memory.
    Oh and BTW - my knickerbockers were chocolate brown velvet ;)
    Happy Birthday Allison!

  19. Thanks everyone! Had a great day. But I just can't believe the number of knickerbocker stories coming out of the closet. Who knew?

  20. I don't recall getting an invite to the nutrimetics party (I think a parametic would be more useful for me. I once asked a friend who was training to be a beautitian what she could do for me and she told me to put a bag on my head).

    You may not remember all your birthdays, but I remember some very fun theme parties from those early years. I remember a denim theme party at your place. Deb W had a P, Pink or Punk party and you went as a punk ( I went as a pigmy and left charcoal marks from my spear on the roof).

    I remember having a Post World War 3 themed funeral. Brett wasn't allowed to go because his parents thought the theme was too dark. It was meant to be a joke. I look back and consider myself lucky that I had friends who either understood, appreciated or tolerated my sense of humour.


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