After having been stood up for dinner the night before my birthday, I spent my whole birth-day continuing to be alone, with no other invitations to accept or decline, and no inspirations for world exploration with or without anyone else.
I woke up before 9 a.m. on my own, which hardly ever happens.
I wore my pink glasses to hide my puffy eyes.
I took myself to breakfast, barely able to order my French toast and coffee.
I went to the library.
I went swimming.
I got lunch.
It was Monday, just Monday.
And then I decided to treat myself to a Hollywood studio tour, something I couldn't imagine any of my LA acquaintances wanting to do, though something I'd enjoyed once with an out-of-town visitor. (More on that later.)
And then with nothing else to do, and still no plan for the evening, I went home and tried to strategize.
And then my phone buzzed, not for the first time that day, but for the first time with communication from someone actually in LA.
"What r u doing??" read the message from my friend and former coworker Michelle (the same one who once discovered me slumped in my office, befallen from concussion, and called 911).
"Wallowing in self pity," I responded.
And then, like an angel sent from heaven, Michelle rescued my birthday: "Let's go eat!! My treat."
I'd wished and hoped all day that something like that would happen, that someone would remember my birthday beyond the Facebook reminders, commemorate it beyond the cursory wall posts. (It should be noted that Michelle is not even on Facebook, and remembered on her own.)
I'd prayed that someone might actually inquire as to how I was celebrating, and want to be a part of it.
I needed someone to take charge, and tell me what to do.
And so, within an hour, party dress on, cucumber cocktail in hand, and Michelle by my side at the bar, the tears were dry, the sadness subsided, and the only decision I had to face was whether to get the hibachi steak and shrimp or steak and chicken, chicken fried rice or steamed rice. Everything else was taken care of for me, including the green tea ice cream dessert with lit candle, birthday serenade, and Japanese happy song.
My crestfallen heart was lifted. I couldn't believe how lucky I was. I couldn't believe how much better my birthday turned out than the sad, drunken, solo scenario I'd imagined. My wish had been granted, my prayers answered.
And if I've made only one good friend - a real friend, who calls me just to see how I am, who invites me to happy hour, who wants to know about my life as much as she wants to tell me about hers - then things are not as hopeless for me in LA as I thought they were.
And I am so grateful.
My First Birthday Alone in LA