Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Personal Festival

Ramblings Post #210
If you're gonna be a bear, then be a grizzly. That line is from some movie of my youth. I want to say Cannonball Run for some reason. Anyway, what it means is that if you're going to do something, then be the best you can be. Which isn't that much more difficult to say, now that I think about it, but lacks the folksy wisdom feel of the grizzly thing. All that said, I know a lot of grizzlies.

Girlfriends - The successful black woman's ideal

Most of my personal dealings are with a specific sub-set of black women - financially independent, childless, early 30's to mid 40's and out doing the damn thing. The number of women on my Facebook page whose daily updates include gym check-in's, marathon finishes, photos from trips abroad, career sucesses, stories of their charity work and etc., must surely be above average. And living this life means they don't have simple birthday parties - they have Birthday Festivals.

What is a Birthday Festival you ask? It's just like it sounds, a festival. They usually have four or five parts over three or four days. It usually involves multiple group activities, various locations, clubbing, and lots of drinking. One I remember had it's first night start with a "Wine and Paint Hangout", where we would all go to a group painting lesson (Learning how to paint say, a still life wine bottle) while sipping the aforementioned wine. Another I one I was invited to, but didn't attend, started with a Saturday morning 5k "fun" run for some charity before heading into the north Georgia mountains for white water rafting. These festivals sometimes include T-shirts, commemorative CDs and gift bags. This all comes to mind because I just finished Serve's Birthday Festival. 

The Festival of Serve started with a Friday night of Indian Food at Bombay Cafe and then smoking hookahs at Therapy Coffee Bar. Dinner at an Indian restaurant seems to both lack and have a certain something about it in group situations. I think due to the size of our party, the service was more personable - the belly dancer kept circling the table - but the it all lacked a certain intimacy. But that may have been because this was the first Indian spot I'd been to that wasn't half empty. Therapy Coffee Bar, on the other hand, was like finding a revelation in a closet, as the tiny spot had a live jazz trio and served a mean Old Fashion. I'm not too crazy about hookahs, but when in the whole thing felt like a cool scene from a late 80's urban romance movie. Now, there was a final part of the evening that I did not attend, but from which I did get calls when people were headed home at 3am.

The festival resumed Saturday at Senor Patron, a Mexican grille in midtown. Well, that's when I rejoined, there may have been a day activity, but I had "thangs" to do. The Mexican food was supposed to be the start of a bar crawl, something I swore I had outgrown since I realized that I was way too old to be even drinking and walking any distance more than to the bathroom. I wasn't even going but Spanky begged me to come because she didn't want to be the only one to leave early and get talked about later.  However because this is a Fest- tee -vaal, the "surprise" group activity was a Midtown Scavenger Hunt. The women on my team were very competitive, but this was surprisingly fun, although I'm certain that various parts of this whole thing weren't fully thought through. Finding people to do the Mission Impossible theme, or one armed push ups, or even gathering napkins for bonus points wasn't that hard. In fact once we showed the list of items to strangers they were oddly eager to help out. No, it was the shots and drinks. At every location. By the time we were done (my team took second place), we'd "participated so throughly" it was no longer cold out.

The finale was Sunday at the Giants-Falcon game. And although me and Serve go back a decade, I wasn't about to kick out for a ticket to watch two teams I only care about in passing. There may have been something after that, but by then I was in the wind and trying to get my study vibe back on track.

I have a feeling in 2015, Serve's Festival will involve costumes.

I'm not sure what the deal with the Birthday Festival is. Maybe it's a need to get it all in while you can, as a lot of these single women are still planning on getting married and  becoming mothers at some point. Or maybe it's just a "why not go all out" attitude, that got and flaunt thang. Or an excuse to do something different with their friends while folks are in a good time mood. Or, and hope this isn't it, it'a an ego trip because they think that they're just that awesome and everybody should want to go all out to celebrate them. 

In any case I'm certain a Festival or three is around the corner. They do have their moments.

Barkeep. Water. Tall glass. It's holiday season, and all this drinking ain't even cool.

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