So it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. N and my birthdays are apart by just a month so we entered a deal a long time ago to do just one person’s birthday each year because it’s entirely impossible for people with our outlook on life (sit on the couch for maximum periods of time) to perform two ‘events’ in just a span of 30 days. Plus over time we’ve become appreciators of the quiet birthday routine more than anything else so while we’ll do tiny things over the course of the day, there isn’t a lot to talk about.
Anyway, this year, it wasn’t ‘my turn’ (not sure if it’s his either) but N kept pushing to at least do one dinner. And by dinner he meant something that involved changing into socially acceptable clothing and that couldn’t be categorized under takeout. So I made reservations for this Japanese place I’d been wanting to try out since quite some time. It has an amazing terrace where we wanted to have food right under the sky and the weather was so great that both of us got pretty pumped to have some birthday fun.
We’d been swamped during those days with lots of chores we had to get done before leaving for Pakistan for N’s brother’s wedding. On my birthday itself, we had lots of stuff to pick up from random locations, run around doing silly chores, pack and the most crucial of all: get N’s sherwani done for the wedding.
So the birthday arrived and we started early with our chores checklist, one of which was going for our ‘last’ sherwani trial but it wasn’t ready. A couple of other things also decided to expand into nuclear missions and suddenly we were all over the place. After a full, tiring day of trying to get everything under control, it was time for our dinner. Despite being exhausted, we both wanted to do the birthday thing, and so I did my hair, both of us got into decent clothes and headed out. We had a tiny stopover at the sherwani place for the 100th trial after which we’d decided to drown our pain in some serious sushi.
But sherwani place screwed up again.
We waited for the thing to get fixed and got horribly late for our reservations (it’s a busy place so it was an issue). We were tired and hungry and mood swings were heading our way fast. But we were all decked out and the restaurant was calling us to ask when we would get there and so we were still hoping and chasing that dinner. And it was then when it hit me, that just because we’d planned something, didn’t mean we couldn’t enjoy ourselves if that didn’t happen.
I immediately told N that we were going to take the sherwani and quietly head home. Pack our stuff, order in good food, watch some TV and have a relaxed time. N was dissatisfied because we were dressed well (that hardly ever happens), I’d hot-tooled my hair (so much effort) and it was a birthday dinner that both of us had suddenly been looking forward to. But after some convincing he got on board.
And just like that all the rush was gone. The tension was released. We got our sherwani done in peace, went home, got the suitcases packed up and crashed on the couch after a long, long day out.
It was almost midnight by that time and we were just about to have dinner. I was having a food-ordering-block (like writer’s block) and couldn’t think of what to get. Then N had the genius idea to order in chicken wings (in BBQ, garlic and parmesan, MY FAVORITE). And to sex it up, he also ordered lasagna from another place (PASTA IS KING). Both the restaurants were closing down, but we barely squeezed in and they accepted our order and it felt like a thrilling chase, very 007 like. If you’re a foodie, you’ll know, that suddenly the sun was shining, my skin was glowing (I promise) and we were high-fiving each other. We ended up having the most delicious dinner right at home, watched some Netflix and had so many laughs together because everything had been such a ‘disaster’.
It was pretty much what we do every.single.night and yet it was just different. It was the most poorly executed birthday celebration ever and yet it turned out to be the best.
We could’ve gotten to the restaurant eventually, sure, and had that dinner but we’d have snapped at each other somewhere along the way, ‘because he should’ve done that thing my way’ or ‘if I’d listened to him we’d have been done sooner’, blah blah, because crisis generously brings out the best in all of us, if you know what I mean. I just didn’t want us to be in a sour mood or be nasty to each other for something as ridiculous as a dinner.
Being older and wiser (LOL, yeah right) has definitely given me perspective on how enjoying the moment trumps everything else. If a plan’s falling apart, it’s so much better to just let it and enjoy the crash. If making the thing happen, that’s supposed to be a joyful experience for you and your spouse, is actually causing heartburn, it could be a trip around the world and it wouldn’t be worth it (I’m pretty sure I’m lying). The point of making plans really is to have a good time and if that’s not happening, its best to abort mission and switch to alternate.
So here’s to more ‘imperfect’ birthdays and tons of kickass memories (because they’re always better recall than the perfect ones).