Rick's Ramblings

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I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Today was my 36th birthday. I wish I could say that I did something special or out of the ordinary, but it was fairly routine. I remember saying out loud during my boring commute to work "Now don't get killed today, OK? That would suck." In the continually running dialogue (monologue?) in my head, I remember that thought making me chuckle and making me somewhat nervous, until I safely arrived at work, at which point the thought of dying disappeared.

Work was routine. No one knew it was my birthday.

I didn't open any presents tonight, because in a tradition that my wife and I enjoy, we opened presents the night before. So last night, my daughter bounces out from her dinner table to announce "Presents! For Daddy! Open presents, Daddy? Presents? Happy Birthday Daddy! You like presents? Happy Birthday Daddy? Happy Birthday Mia! Happy Birthday Mommy! Open presents?" During this entire little speech, she grabbed a wrapped box, and tried to hand it to me. What fun! So after dinner last night, Mia helped me open all of my gifts.

My brother Ron called. My brother Renato sent e-mail. My mother-in-law called. A few other nice e-mails. I spent a lot of time drifting off into dream land, thinking about friends, about family, thinking about that inevitable cycle of life.

I watched most of NCAA Women's Basketball championship. I broke down boxes for garbage day tomorrow. I enjoyed a brownie. I read bits of a book. I listened to part of a DVD commentary.

As I sign off tonight, my prevailing thought: I'm glad to have gone around the calendar one more year!

Monday, April 05, 2004
A few days ago I ate lunch by myself in the company cafeteria.

My group apparently went out to lunch, but I missed them because I was at a meeting that ran late. So there I was in the cafeteria, eating by myself. It was disconcerting.

I think it's one thing to eat by yourself in a fast-food joint where you are often eating in the company of other loners. It's another thing to be eating in a cafeteria at work, where you often know everyone by name, if not by face. Normally if I find myself unable to join my group, I go to a smaller cafeteria to eat alone.

Just like in school, there are the usual cliques in our company cafeteria. The same groups of people, and often the same exact tables. Our group has our own table, but we have second and even third choice tables, in case someone else has taken "our" table. I sat alone, somewhat worried about "what other people are thinking." But of course, I know that no one was thinking anything. It's not school. It's work. I'm grabbing lunch. So what if I'm by myself?

I lingered a bit in my aloneness. When I finished, I headed back to the office, skipping my usual dessert.