Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

When I was a kid, I went through a phase where I had friendship bracelets.  Sadly, I do not remember what friends I shared those bracelets with.  I’m pretty sure we got them at the local arcade (or the equivalent to a Chuck E. Cheese) and wore them until they got faded and never replaced them.  As I got older, I started to sport other accessories such as watches and rhinestone rings, but I never returned to bracelets (and never did I sport a WWJD or Lance Armstrong bracelet).

My 28th birthday has been a bit of a bittersweet affair.  My birthday was overlooked at work, so I didn’t get the birthday cake in the conference room.  While I wouldn’t consider it heart breaking, and I know most work-purchased birthday cakes are subpar, I would like to get a cake, knowing that my co-workers have gotten cakes for their birthdays.  I also wouldn’t mind being paid on the clock to eat cake and to chit chat.  If I was working at an office that didn’t celebrate anyone’s birthday, I wouldn’t be feeling so weird about it, and I’ll fully admit that I’m being kind of petty about it.  If they get cake, I want cake too.

Moving around my 28th birthday has been difficult as well.  No matter how close or far a move is, and no matter how much or little you own, moving is never fun, it’s never easy, and you’re never too prepared.  I wouldn’t say that the move was dramatic and full or surprises, but it was exhausting both physically and mentally (thank you Time Warner Cable), and throughout the move, I’ve had a lot less friend interaction than I’m used to.  Couple that with no internet (for the time being), and all of a sudden I’ve been feeling completely isolated.  Couple that with the lack of birthday cake at work and… I’m just kidding… or bitter… or both.

It took a couple of weeks to have an actual birthday party because of my friend’s wedding and the move, but it was actually worth the wait.  About 23 of us piled into the a shuttle with a bunch of food and alcohol and headed to the Hollywood Bowl to watch Bugs Bunny and the Symphony.  I had friends from the present and a couple of friends from my college days join me in what was a fun filled night that ended with fireworks.  This is what I love about birthday parties, it is one of the few occasions that you can different groups of friends together to hang out with you.  So, while I was drinking beer with Chris, I was sharing rice crispy treats with Allison and Charis, and and getting passed along food from Allison’s parents.  While the Bowl doesn’t really encourage mingling with a large group, it was enjoyable for everyone, except for the people who tried to park at the Bowl (but they had a good time once they got in).  I was handed birthday cupcakes (I couldn’t eat them all) and that more than made up for my lack of workplace cake.

Before we got on the shuttle, I was given an envelope from Charis and Allison and they told me that there was a present inside.  There was a handwritten card from the two girls.  It had an apology for its sloppiness and an explanation for it (they made it in the car).  It also contained two friendship bracelets in it.  Apparently, there are conflicting sources on the prices of these bracelets.  Charis says they’re normally 25 cents, Allison says they’re a dollar, but mine were free.  Allison quickly tied them around my wrist and told me that I’m not allowed to take them off (but later told me if the colors get too faded, she’ll make me new ones).  It’s the first time I’ve had friendship bracelets since I was probably around their age, and while I’m not going to try tug on the heart strings by saying their friendships is the greatest gift of all or that they went from being my show assistants to being my friends, I will say this: by sacrificing $1.25 our of their own pockets, Allison and Charis made me stop worrying about how stressful and crummy I’ve felt over the last couple of weeks for at least a little while.

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