It's the damnedest thing--every year on the same night I fall asleep, and then wake up the next morning a year older. Every single year! This year my plans for this day were elegantly simple and satisfying. I planned to hit the bookstore as soon as it opened, snatch up my copy of "The Laughter of Dead Kings," which I've been anticipating for months now, and retreat behind closed doors with said book and a bottle of wine (hence the elegance of the plan). As with so many things in my life, my plan did not go as intended. I showed up to the nearest Barnes & Noble in their opening minutes and made a beeline to the new fiction section, then the mystery section, then wandered aimlessly in indignant confusion because--horror!--no "Laughter" was to be found on any shelf! Finally I staggered up to the counter to ask the lady there about the book, and after a few pecks on the keyboard and clicks of the mouse, she informed me with some surprise that while their store had ordered the book, it hadn't yet arrived.
Okay, plan B. Back in the car I headed a few blocks up Westwood to Borders. I usually don't like to go there because their parking garage is hot, dark, and cruelly lit by harsh florescent lights and the elevator you have to take up from the garage to the store looks like it also services the tenth circle of hell. But the importance of my mission outweighed the scary parking garage, so I braved it. As they say, all's well that ends well. I found "Laughter" in the "books you've gotta read" section and even came across two other books I was hoping to find.
After that initial glitch in my plans, all went as expected. I whiled away my birthday hours with my book and my wine, and in the evening some friends came over and we watched movies and ate way too much pizza. In other words, it was pretty much a completely unproductive but thoroughly enjoyable day. Amen.