My Whole Expanse I Cannot See…

I formulate infinity stored deep inside of me…

Jan 1

Thirty: Day 2 – The birthday didn’t suck

Category: Life

So, when I woke up yesterday I was certain it was going to be a bad day. I had that dream, I was under the impression that my love, Monica, wouldn’t be around for my birthday, I really didn’t think anyone would be around. I was just going to go for the usual birthday dinner, hopefully get a quick tattoo and go home. I was pretty down about the entire affair, I wanted it over. Dinner, tattoo, home, done. Things, however, turned out differently

Doc Dog's Las Vegas Tattoo, Ybor City

We get to Ybor (home of Tampa’s fun restaurants, bars and tattoo shops), my mom goes ahead to see if our table’s ready at the Acropolis, this great Greek place. Apparently, the table isn’t ready, so my brother suggests we go get my tattoo real quick. We go next-door to my shop, Doc Dog’s Las Vegas Tattoo, and some things immediately strike me as odd. The front doors are wide open, then nobody comes to say, hi. This is weird because the double-door on the left is always locked, so someone in front sees me coming, they unlock that door, and I always get a “Hey, Mikey!” Generally, I don’t go by “Mikey,” but the way everyone at the shop says it is endearing, it’s not cutesy and weird. The way they say it, it’s like I’m “in,” I belong there. So, no locked door and no “Hey, Mikey!” seemed strange. Then, nobody’s behind the counter, the front of the shop is empty, my brother takes me straight to the back. Again, totally strange, but everything’s happening so fast I really only have time to think, “This is really odd.” Then I see Monica, and balloons, then people yell, “Surprise!” I’m shocked, I was completely had. Seeing Monica first, that makes me light-up inside. After two years, seeing her  after I haven’t, it still always makes my breath catch. She’s so much color, and light, and warmth. I started falling in love the moment I met her, the moment her soft brown eyes met mine, and I just keep falling. My friends who I didn’t think would be around are there, everyone from the shop, even my ENTDoctor Padhya, is there. I feel perfect.

I so didn’t want to be without Monica. If she wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have been there either, not really. I didn’t know her not being able to make it was all part of the surprise, I just knew I felt awful that she wouldn’t. Part of me would have been someplace else otherwise, part of me is always with her. I love her so completely. We talk without words, no knows me so well. As soon as I saw her, I knew the night would be better than good.

Aside from the friends I hadn’t seen in quite awhile, it was really great having Doctor Padhya there. Almost four years ago, I almost died by way of pineapple juice, Doctor Padhya was one of the people who helped save my life. He cut the hole in my throat and he’s taken care of me ever since. I have a weird trachea, I’m not an easy patient, I know this. Whenever I need something, whenever the chips are down, Doctor Padhya makes sure I’m okay. Whenever I need anything, one e-mail to Doctor Padhya and it’s done. I really wouldn’t be thirty without him, so having him at my thirtieth birthday party felt really right. Since the trach, I’ve really needed my doctors. You can tell the ones who genuinely care from the ones who are just collecting a paycheck, Doctor Padhya genuinely cares.

The Las Vegas Tattoo Gang.

Everyone from the shop was great, Doc (the owner), and Belle (Doc’s wife, and the best piercer in town), and Colt (Doc and Belle’s son, my spectacular artist), and Fish (my spectacular backup artist), everyone. I started getting my tattoos there nearly two years ago, Colt has done at least twenty of them. I got two last night, on the house, I’ll write about them soon. They’re just good people, they let us take over the shop on a big holiday, totally welcomed everyone. From my very first tattoo there, they’ve made me feel like I belong.

I expected the night to be astonishingly bad, I just wanted to stay home and stream awful horror movies from Netflix. I’m glad I was wrong, turning thirty ended up being pretty perfect.

I think maybe 2011 might be okay, I want it to be okay. I’m thirty, there are things I want before I disappear. I often feel like such a failure, I worry about time so much, running out of it. I’ve made so many mistakes, I get scared I’ll run out of time before I make up for my mistakes, before I have the things I’ve wanted for so long.


8 Comments so far

  1. Otávio Pacheco January 2nd, 2011 3:53 pm

    Good to read that you’ve had a great time at your birthday. Aniversário de trinta anos is not a common day. I’ve already 31 and it’s always a memorable time the birthday, but I still have some crisis, like yours, that I still didn’t do anything to be remembered and I’m still thinking about what to do with my life, but I guess I’m on my way. Who knows. Greetings!

  2. Celine January 3rd, 2011 8:51 pm


    Happy birthday, glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

    I just saw you on the “this american life”, it was on TV here in Norway tonight. And I just wanted to let you know that I really admire you and your strength.

    Whatever you’ve been through, I can’t imagine how it must have been. But I know that it made you the person you are today. And I believe that you are an inspiration for many people out there, including myself. Thanks for sharing your life with us and plz don’t stop sharing your thoughts to the rest of the world. I’m so going to continue reading your thoughts from now on, so keep on writing :).

    *Warme greetings from COLD Norway*

  3. sara January 4th, 2011 3:43 pm

    Happy Balloon Day!!!
    When I hit 30 it felt like shoes that didn’t fit but slowly getting older isn’t so bad. Of course I miss the badge of youth that allows you to fuck up, but after awhile fucking up gets “old” or maybe it’s me. I feel more “in tune” with people’s feelings and not the selfishness that boogles the mind of the young. I feel steady on a boat that is heading through rough waters, while when I was younger, I felt lost at sea only to cling on to anything thrown my way. I **sigh** at the little things and only hope when I’m 60 I’ll feel the same.
    Anway, may you go higher and higher

  4. Other Monica February 13th, 2011 6:49 am

    Happy Birthday!

    You write so well about your girl. Since it’s my name too (and not that common), it gives me second-hand fuzzies when you write that way about her.

  5. Marti Abernathey February 13th, 2011 7:21 pm

    You said:

    I think maybe 2011 might be okay, I want it to be okay. I’m thirty, there are things I want before I disappear. I often feel like such a failure, I worry about time so much, running out of it. I’ve made so many mistakes, I get scared I’ll run out of time before I make up for my mistakes, before I have the things I’ve wanted for so long.

    Dude, I just wanted to say there is no way you’ve failed at anything. Failure is quitting. Failure is not learning from your mistakes. Failure is giving up. It doesn’t seem like you’ve done any of that.

    It’s not as debilitating, but my best friend lives with a brain tumor that will kill her. No operations, no treatments. It’s stuck around her brain stem and their’s not a lot that she can do about it.

    Maybe right now she’s dying. Maybe 10 minutes from now. Maybe 20 years from now. She likes to say that “most people don’t know how they’re going to die, I do. But regardless, we’re all going to die.” I just cherish every single day that I’m on this earth with her.

    You’ll be here until your not. Fear does nothing for you except hold you back. Mistakes are what humans do. Just live, dude. Be. Keep writing. You’re a great writer. The thing I connect with most about your blog is that your posts come from your heart. I started blogging after I lost everything. It kept me sane, alive, and moving forward. It really did save my life and preserve the will I had to keep it going.

    Live, love, laugh.


  6. Ormolu March 24th, 2011 3:15 pm

    This sounds like a most perfect birthday. I’m glad that you enjoyed it. 🙂

    Happy (belated) 30th Birthday, Michael!

  7. tattoo artist in Las Vegas January 25th, 2012 6:32 am

    Thanks you guys are a great las vegas tattoo shop.

  8. Tess August 29th, 2019 8:29 am

    I had forgotten this day.