I suppose one measure of self-absorption is how soon after your birthday you return to normal life, to stuff you need to do and can’t get out of by saying it’s your birthday and you don’t feel like it. (Tried that yesterday but in our rush to leave for my birthday dinner, it became apparent I’d need to fold some laundry after all.)
The kids were out in Queens for the night. J and I entertained the many possibilities the evening offered. We could… eat! See a movie! Drink! Ultimately we only had enough energy for the eating (which was fabulous) and one glass of sangria each. We aren’t heavy drinkers and we’re out of practice too. We got back to the neighborhood and considered visiting our favorite bartender at the Latin restaurant down the block, who makes fabulous mojitos, but we admitted to each other we were just too tired.
There was also the matter of two or maybe three helicopters flying low over the neighborhood, shining bright searchlights in the direction of what we figured out was a march related to the Eric Garner and Michael Brown killings. Instead of heading home we walked down the avenue until we saw the cordon of flashing lights, and arrived in time to see a group of a few hundred (or more) people head down a side street of our neighborhood. We followed the marchers (staying on the sidewalk) and then watched an endless procession of paddy wagons behind them (from the reports I read, arrests yesterday, at a march of perhaps more than 40,000 people, were minimal). I learned today that they marched all the way to a housing project where yet another unarmed man was recently fatally shot in a stairwell by a police officer, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That was a ten mile march.
I was sorry once again not to be able to join. I was inspired once again by the refusal to let this injustice get swept under the rug.
I was grateful to think of something other than myself, my age, and my current health predicament. And sort of relieved that my self-absorption has its distinct limits.
We went home. It was quite early. A party raged upstairs, but we hit the hay earlier than usual. It was just enough birthday for me.