My birthday got real weird. Twice.
I washed off my makeup and got ready for bed-- oblivious to the fact that things were about to get real, REAL, weird.
I know we’ve been talking about trying our best and the liminal space, but my birthday got pretty weird. I mean, real weird. Twice. And I gotta talk about it.
Most evenings, I begin to wind down at 7 PM, along with all the toddlers and great grandmas. On my birthday, at around 8 PM, long in my pajamas already, I went into my bathroom to take off my makeup and moisturize, as one does. As I removed my mascara, I heard strange sounds.
Rob and the girls were downstairs watching TV and I could tell the sounds were somewhere near me. It wasn’t a scary sound - it had a nice tone and cadence, like a woman having a quiet conversation on the phone. Sometimes I’ll play classical music quietly in the kitchen, so I thought I’d left the music on. I washed my face with water, patted it dry and realized the sounds were too close to come from the kitchen. So, I wondered if one of my girls had come upstairs, watching something on her tablet. Although, the things they watch don’t typically sound like a woman having a pleasant phone conversation, but an annoying family on YouTube Kids where the parents yell a lot in their “fun mommy and daddy high pitched voices” while prompting their kids to cover them in paint or frosting or let them open some huge haul of toys, making my kids think they live a life of boring civility, lack and poverty, so I have to ban YouTube while lecturing them on contentedness and gratitude AND MY MOM HAD IT SO EASY ALL I WATCHED WAS LOONY TUNES.
Anyway, as I rubbed in moisturizer it occurred to me that the sound was too audible to come from a device, and my heart rate began to elevate. I walked slowly through my hallway, listening intently, and as I entered my living room, I stopped cold.
There, on my couch, were my friends Amber, Kim and Melissa. Who had walked into my home, sat down on my couch and just— I don’t know, waited for me to stumble upon them?
I stood before them, in my shelf bra cami and boxers, and my glistening, moisturized face. Stunned.
“Get dressed, we’re taking you out!” Amber shouted.
I blinked. “Like, on a Tuesday? At night? Where?”
“Get dressed, hurry, and you don’t need to put on makeup!”
That was a dumb thing Amber always says because she looks precious without makeup and she also knows I don’t leave the house without AT LEAST eye liner and mascara and I don’t care if that seems superficial, it’s the way I am and I’m not going to walk around Target looking like I have the flu to make other people who don’t need to wear makeup in public feel better.
“Yeah right,” I said, then spun around to quickly get dressed and put a face on.
“And you need closed-toe shoes!” Kim shouted after me. I stopped abruptly and didn’t even turn around.
Mind you, I was two steps into my bed before they broke into my home. Now I’m reapplying makeup and wearing closed-toe shoes? This isn’t Vegas! What’s happening?
Knowing my thoughts Amber shouted, “Don’t worry about it, just go!”
I ran into my bathroom, reluctantly reapplied makeup to my freshly washed and moisturized face, threw on some clothes, and comforted Poppy who usually shrugs at my comings and goings, but this night decided to weep ferociously like I was off to fight in the Civil War. I threw her into bed, kissed the girls, slapped Rob’s butt, and we hopped in the car.
I perked up a bit at the surprise of it all but grew increasingly alarmed as we drove into a seedier part of town. “Are we going to a Haunted House?” I asked.
“No,” Amber said. “I tried that but they’re only open on weekends.”
“Axe throwing?” I threw out. I mean, why am wearing closed-toe shoes?
“No, but dammit that’s a great idea!” she shouted, turning to Kim and Melissa in the backseat.
She then turned into what looked like an abandoned car wash. A toilet was in front of the building.
A homemade sign said “Smash!” out front.
“Are we … here … to smash things?” I asked no one in particular.
“Yes we are!” Amber said, diving into her thundering belly laugh.
Hmmm. Okay … on a Tuesday night? A school night? As a 41 year old mother of two small children? Uh, okay. Yeah, sure. Why not?
The place was basically a room, with cement walls. Against the wall were buckets of beer and wine bottles, plates and tea cups, and before us were two television sets. An old school one and a flat screen. I have to say, it was so weird, so not me, but once I put the apron and helmet on, I had no choice but to get REAL into it.
And at one point, while attempting to throw two bottles against the wall to smash them to pieces like I’m a frustrated, 14 year old boy, I knocked my helmet off and threw my back out. So …
My point is— am I a grown adult woman who likes to smash TVs and bottles with bats and crow bars on weekday evenings?
The answer to that is yes. Yes I am. I can’t even begin to tell you how satisfying it was to throw the kitchen plates and tea cups against the wall. It was therapeutic, but probably for all the wrong reasons!
But then things got weirder. Or scarier? Or something I will also look back on for eternity, relishing in satisfaction? But then also think— could I have died?
Still on a smash dash high, we decided to stop near my house to a little bar and grab a drink before we all had to get home to our responsibilities. As we got out of the car, a sedan peeled up behind us and slammed on the brakes. I’ve been watching a lot of news lately, so I deduced this would be one of those murderings I’ve been hearing so much about.
“You dropped something,” the woman said to Kim and Melissa, who had just gotten out of Amber’s Honda Odyssey.
My stomach dropped, I knew something was up. “Just ignore them, let’s go,” I said from the sidewalk.
“What?” Melissa said, looking at the ground.
“Look, there,” the woman said again. “You dropped something.” Amber glanced up at me and our eyes locked. My heart sank.
(to be continued …)
I’m so sorry you guys, was the “to be continued” mean? This letter was getting out of hand and they say we all have 3 second attention spans now so I panicked!
Obviously, I’m still alive, so you can all take a deep breath on that front. But— what happened next is something I’ll never forget. I’ll share it with you next week.
And, in case you missed it, I’m giving away signed copies of my book for my birthday! Nominate someone special and tell me why they’re so amazing. If I pick the friend you’ve nominated, I’ll also send YOU a book. Sound fun? Good.
See you soon!
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Have we met? I’m Anna Lind Thomas, a humor writer out of Omaha, Nebraska. I’m listed as one of USA Today’s top ten funniest women writers, and author of the best selling book We’ll Laugh About This (Someday) and my latest - I’m Not Ready for This. Once you read them, text me (number’s in the back and I respond!). Don’t forget to say hi on Facebook and Instagram.
Oh Anna, are you REALLY going to make us wait until next week to hear the rest of the story? REALLY?!?