How late is too late to admit you've forgotten someone's birthday?
At what point do you just pretend no birthday took place?
What about when the forgotten person is your brother? Your big brother?
I talked to my 'big' brother two days before his birthday last week. We don't talk all that often, but on this particular afternoon, we had a lovely long rambling conversation, the kind that only takes place when one of the people involved is driving and killing time on the 'phone. I was the one on the land line, and while I had lots of other things to do, I didn't mind a bit that I was helping him through his commute.
But as I hung up, I didn't think to say, "And Happy Birthday, if I'm not talking to you on Friday."
Friday morning, as I made my daily to-do list, I put, Call Brother right there at the top, and several times through the day, thought to myself, "I'll just do this one last thing, and then I'll call Brother." But I never did. And I didn't remember on Saturday until I was tucking into my supper, but I wasn't about to delay my steak and lobster for a 'phone call, and after dinner, of course I promptly forgot again. It came to me again as my mind rambled on Sunday during the sermon,(boring!), but disappeared until the cold knot of dread hardened at the bottom of my stomach on Monday morning as I was making my yet another to-do list.
So, I did what any normal, rational person would do: I procrastinated. Because really, he wouldn't want me calling him at 4 am, especially to offer belated wishes for many happy returns of the day, two, now three days ago.
And then, my mind went the other place most normal, rational minds would go: The Rationalisation, and I started adding up all the crummy things he had done to me over the years so that he didn't deserve my 'phone call anyway, right back to the time he kidnapped my Barbie dolls, some 35 years ago.
Boy, that sure worked, and now I don't feel guilty at all, no sireee, not me!
I should just pick up the bloody 'phone, eh? Fine.