M claims to hate birthday parties, so I kind of tricked her into having one. First it was just her and one other friend coming over for dinner. A few emails and texts later (“I think we’ll have too much food! Invite more people!?”) it ballooned to about 10, including Z, who came up from New Haven as a very surprise-y surprise.
The menu was loosely Maine-themed (because we never made it up for a visit this summer), which worked out well for having to pre-prep almost the whole meal for a Monday night. We had shrimp rolls on butter-toasted split-top buns (because it’s not very hard to not be able to afford lobster rolls for 12), a big pile of roasted corn cob halves, a huge pile of broiled baby zucchini, an ENORMOUS pile of potato salad (it turns out the secret is to just pour in all of the cornichon pickling liquid), several pints of Sungold tomatoes that Z brought from the Yale Farm tossed with basil and olive oil, a watermelon’s worth of watermelon wedges, bourbon lemonade (and spicy tequila lemonade, just because), and Melissa Clark’s whiskey chocolate cake (because what does M love more than whiskey and chocolate?) emblazoned with sugar letters that read WE LOVE MIFANDA POPKEY because I ran out of letters.
What do I love more than whiskey and chocolate? My friends, that’s what. (Especially N for throwing me this amazing dinner, and then encouraging me to invite a truly heinous number of people into her apartment, and Z for coming in from New Haven.)
The thing is that I don’t hate birthday parties, exactly, at least, not when they’re in-progress. It’s the idea of throwing one that makes me anxious: how presumptuous, to demand that people gather ‘round to celebrate your birth. (Also, and here’s the real problem: what if no one comes?)
N, because she is a genius—on Monday I may have said knowing her is “the cheat code to happiness” (something along those lines, certainly—forgive me for not remembering perfectly; I was a little drunk! It was my birthday!)—did exactly what I secretly, in my heart of hearts, wanted.