Leaving work this afternoon, on the eve of my 32nd birthday, I thought I should start looking for signs. You know, like omens. I do this every year on my birthday because even though I know it’s stupid, I secretly think that the universe might be extra revealing to a girl around her birthday. At least it can’t hurt to keep your eyes peeled, is all I’m saying.
The city was carpeted by low-hanging fog. Fog in January! The snow has all melted so it kind of looks like spring, the yucky early weeks of spring where the snow melts to unveil garbage and waterlogged leaves and all sorts of ugliness. Except at least in the springtime, it’s actually, you know, spring.
As I headed toward the subway station, I could hear someone playing a saxophone. The musician was quite talented but I could not see him/her, given the fog and the crowds of commuters. It was one of those slow mournful kind of saxophone songs. It seemed familiar but I couldn’t place it. Anyway, it matched the fog.
“This is not a good sign,” I said to myself. “It will be difficult to spin this in a way that accords at all with my image of what the universe should be saying to me on the eve of my 32nd birthday.”
As I opened the door to the station I was debating whether it was best to accept that the year ahead was bound to be foggy and mournful, symbolized by a lone saxophonist in a crowd of people who just want to get home, or to abandon entirely my whole system of looking for signs, deciding instead that the year ahead will be rational, sensible, and totally ungoverned by the unseen.
But lo! I realized with a jolt that I did recognize the song. It was Blondie’s The Tide is High! It’s just that it was practically unrecognizable, you know, due to the mournfulness and such. “I’m not the kind of girl who gives up just like that,” Debbie Harry informs us calmly. “Oh no!” This is one of the earliest pop songs I remember because I used to dance around to it at my neighbour’s house, where we listened to it on 8-Track. It is still a favorite and is already programmed into the iPod for Saturday’s big bash.
So clearly, not only is this meant to be my theme song for the new year, it was being played in such a cryptic and nearly-unrecognizable format because it was meant as a sign that only I would recognize. Duh.
The tide is high, but I’m holding on.