Wednesday, June 21, 2006

30 going on ...

For the record, at the moment of midnight on his 30th birthday, our hero Benjamin was sitting in a movie theater, watching Lindsay Lohan and Meryl Streep sing over the end credits of his favorite filmmaker Robert Altman's A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION. Benjamin liked the movie. Benjamin usually likes movies where Meryl Streep sings, though he didn't like that conjoined twins movie where she did the BONNIE AND CLYDE-inspired duet with Greg Kinnear. Benjamin usually likes movies where Lindsay Lohan sings, too, though he is less inclined to admit that to anyone.

At 12:05 on his birthday, Benjamin was standing in the lobby of the Phipps Plaza AMC movie theater, staring at the clock on the wall and pushing buttons on his cell phone. At 12:06, he left a message for Vickye, one of his best friends, for she'd told him it was OK to call around midnight. Of course, she didn't immediately answer the phone when he called. At 12:07, he called his drowsy-sounding friend Scott, a man that Benjamin used to call "Snapshot" when he was interested in nicknaming people, and announced to Scott that he'd reached 30 and it didn't feel so bad.

"I made it!" Benjamin shouted over the phone, only half kidding. "I survived my 20s!!! And they really sucked!!!"

Then Vickye called him back, and he clicked over to make essentially the same announcement to her.

They talked for about an hour, during which she said that she was coming to terms with her own approaching 30th birthday - which occurs exactly two months from today.

"Vic," Benjamin asked her later in the conversation. "What was the best part of your 20s?"

"That's a question that requires some thought," she replied. "It sounds like one of your blog entries, one that ends with a survey question."

"I should be able to write an answer," Benjamin said. "I've been contemplating 30 for months."

Trying to answer his own question, Benjamin thought back on the last decade of his life. He thought about how he spent his 20th birthday, which involved his mom forgetting to call him to wish him a happy birthday. It also involved him forcing his friends Amy and PG to spend time with him, for he didn't want to be alone. Amusingly, at one point on his 20th birthday, Benjamin ended up as a guest on his friend Travis's college radio call-in show, where our hero bitched about getting older until all four of the show's listeners called in and told him to shut the hell up.

This, sadly, was a theme of Benjamin's 20s, one he didn't hope to carry with him as much into the decade before him.

Benjamin, just now, concluded that he couldn't evaluate his last decade of life in that way, even if it would provide an answer to a really good blog question.

Life is life, Benjamin thought. Given good and bad, you cope, learn and hope to grow.

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