Sometimes the day-to-day drudgery of life, the sheer effort of living can make it easy to forget that I’m surrounded by wonderful, caring people. But this past weekend I was reminded of how many great souls I have in my life, and how rich my life really is. Christine threw me a surprise 40th birthday party, and because of multiple misdirections, I didn’t suspect that she had invited, well, everyone. Okay, not everyone, but her family and mine (and all of them came!), and my old-school and new(er)-school friends. And though some people couldn’t make it, just knowing they would have come was enough. It’s hard to describe the feeling of walking into that space (appropriately called the Bat Haus) and seeing so many people I love and care for waiting for me. I’m stupendously grateful for all their love. Plus the whiskey they brought.
They brought a lot of whiskey.
Word got out that I like rye whiskey and Ommegang Three Philosophers beer. I went home with a small pub’s worth of liquor. My fridge has enough beer to last me until the next ice-age. Christine said, “Maybe we should give some away. There’s no room in the fridge.” And I replied, “No! I’ll make room!” I’ll let you figure out how I’ll do that.
Yesterday, the day after my birthday, Chris and I went down to the Lower East Side of Manhattan to check out the Egg Roll & Egg Cream festival on Eldridge Street. The festival highlights the Chinese and Jewish immigrants who came to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and built a community there. Despite coming from vastly different backgrounds, the two groups get along swimmingly and have maintained their unique culture despite a century of change. It was amazing to see older Chinese women playing Mahjong next to a table where you could make your own yarmulkes. We walked into the old synagogue there, where a cantor was singing various songs from the Jewish holidays, when we look up to the balcony levels and see my sister and brother-in-law. This meeting wasn’t planned.
We hung out there for a bit, went outside into the sun, and got an egg cream, then said our farewells. Chris and I walked across Chinatown on our way to the West Village when I decided to turn down a street to avoid the pedestrian traffic. And there we ran into Ellen Datlow and friend. Again, this meeting was not planned. I don’t know if there was something in the air, but I never see people I know in Manhattan unless it’s a planned meeting. The city’s just too big. There are too many people. So to bump into people twice in one day is a statistical miracle. Maybe it was my good mood.
And to add icing to my (birthday) cake, I came home to this Facebook post from Sam J. Miller, who very subtly points out that my story “The Sounds of Old Earth” was listed as “Recommended Reading” in the Prime Books Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014:
Really, not a bad way to cap off an amazing weekend!
Now it’s Monday and the work begins again, but my heart is full. I’m so grateful to have such wonderful people in my life. Many thanks to all for all the birthday wishes!