Birthday with friends and strangers

Last night I had a wonderful birthday dinner at one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Trilussa, in Chapel Hill. We noticed a big table set up across from ours and wondered what the occasion was as it was filled up by a large, happy group. Before I could get up the courage to go and ask them what they were celebrating, I said to my friends, laughing, "Now isn't this like a reception of sorts? Should I make a speech?" and tapped a knife against my water glass as if I were going to do just that. It being rather loud due to the number of people I, naturally, did this in jest not expecting to be heard, or heeded so, needless to say, I was surprised when the entire restaurant became silent and expectant faces turned to hear my announcement. I explained, quickly, that I had nothing to say, and my friends rushed to the rescue, exclaiming "It's HER BIRTHDAY!" You know what happened? Yes you do. They sang to me, the whole place, an unintelligible slur where my name should have been. After this grand display I visited my fellow restaurant-goers to uncover their story.

"We work for a company called Vietri..."

"WHAAAATTTT? WHAT? Vietri!? Vietri??? I looovvveeeee Vietri! I registered for Vietri pottery for my wedding! The plates? With the fish? And the rams?"

"This girl registered for Vietri! This girl!"

I was whisked around the table and introduced to several key players as my wildest dreams came true. Becoming friends with employees of my favorite Italian pottery company on my birthday? And hanging out with all my favorite people? And delicious food and wine? JESUS CHRIST TWENTY-EIGHT IS WHERE IT'S AT.

The excellent mood carried on to the next bar, even when the new electronic jukebox (which we HATE, do you hear me jukebox vendors?) wouldn't play "Brandy" by Looking Glass no matter how many dollar bills we fed it. Paying roughly $20 or so to hear "Brandy" on your birthday seems worth it at the time.

Today I'm thinking it wasn't the best decision. But it doesn't matter. I had a short work day, and (parked illegally because I so desperately needed it) went to Panera Bread so I could get some lunch to go and made it home just in time to catch the last 15 minutes of "Starting Over," which is like "The Real World" for housewives. And people who don't have cable. I mean, I don't like that show or anything. I don't get excited when I get to watch it (don't tell you are not allowed to tell anyone).