Monthly Archives: June 2012

No gifts, please.

Do you remember what it was like as a kid when your birthday rolled around?

My mom would ask me what kind of cake I wanted, and she’d make it herself. She would buy cake tins for Soundwave (Transformers), R2-D2, and a few others I can’t remember. Friends would come over, games would be played, cake and homemade ice cream would be eaten.

What an experience. Summer birthdays are awesome.

Of course, I’d also get gifts. I remember when I got … well … no, I don’t. I had toys, I played with toys, and I had lots of fun playing with toys.

But I’ve reached a point in my life that I don’t want for gifts (much). I don’t want more things in the house, but less. The exact opposite is true for experiences, however. As a busy parent in the Great Recession, there aren’t as many opportunities as I’d like right now for life experiences. Be it time, or money, those types of things are harder to come by these days.

Given the choice, I’d take an experience (or a surprise; I love enigmatic events) of any kind over any tangible gift every time. Let the kids have the gifts.

Today is my birthday. I am thirty-six years old. No need to say the obligatory words.

And no gifts, please.

Paradise City

The Sandbar

The Sandbar

Last night I had the privilege of joining a few friends to celebrate the birthday of Phil Martinez at one of Lawrence’s more colorful downtown establishments, The Sandbar.

We were there over the course of a few hours, and during that time, the Guns N’ Roses song Paradise City came on three times. A classic song, to be sure, which I always enjoy hearing, but it got me to thinking about the task of work.

The picture above is pretty crappy, but you can get the gist of the evening: lots of people out on the town, having a good time in a fun atmosphere. The Sandbar has, not surprisingly, a beach/oceanic theme, complete with a nice aquarium (far left) that I found intoxicating. There was a fairly large fish in that tank that I am sure was eavesdropping on our conversation.

Back to the beach …

There’s this part of me that thought “Man, it must be pretty cool to come work here every night.” Think of it – you’d always be surrounded by people who are there to have a great time, out with friends, enjoying the moment. Who doesn’t love dark settings, twinkling lights and a party atmosphere?

But it also got me to thinking that the people who work there, especially the owners, have probably heard Paradise City and other popular songs a thousand or more times. I’m sure there are songs they are absolutely sick of hearing. And there are probably regulars who are always welcome, but have made it their second home. I’ll bet it’s safe to say it’s like this in a lot of places.

I’m sure there are days they absolutely dread going to work.

It reminded me of the old joke, “Show me the most beautiful woman in the world and I’ll show you a guy that’s tired of being with her.” We all have our things that must seem pretty exciting to others because of greener grass syndrome, but for the people that are in those spaces day in, day out, it’s a real chore to get through.

But, we keep at it. We have things to take care of at home, responsibilities, people counting on us. Sometimes we just have to dig in a little harder to get through to tomorrow, because it needs to be done.

At least there’s places like The Sandbar to head to and blow off a little steam. It makes me wonder where Sandbar workers go to do the same.