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My 23rd Birthday

I’m listening to "Strictly Game" by The Harlem Shakes as I drive to a Wells Fargo ATM a few blocks from my apartment to get forty bucks for more weed at 8:30pm on a Saturday that doubles as my birthday. The lyrics are appropriate (This will be a better year…) and I sing along with hope that the chorus applies to me, too. I’m still thinking about the voicemail from my father that assumed I didn’t pick up the phone because I was out partying. He sounds drunk. Is it bad that I don’t want to call him back because I’m embarrassed that I’m not out partying? But should I be? I’m high enough already and worried that the headlights in my rearview mirror belong to a cop, so I make a full stop, count to three, and turn right. When I’m in the dark parking lot, I’m worried about being mugged, about my car being stolen, and I have to prepare myself for that possibility. Nothing happens. I get home. I pet my cats. I hope online.

Earlier, I celebrated growing older by acting young. Miniature golf never left anyone but the overly-competitive without a smile. AJ, my girlfriend, played me three rounds of golf out at Scandia, where we also stood in line for thirty minutes for a churro, played arcade games for nostalgic enjoyment, and it was upsetting to note that my phobia of air hockey continued. Before that it was breakfast at Orphan with lemon poppy-seed pancakes and avocado scrambles. Highly recommended. Sleeping in was nice. Day started with a birthday kiss from my girlfriend, and it was nice to celebrate my birthday by doing something together other than watching LOST on Netflix. It was nice to see the sun again.

My goal at 23 is to have a novel published. How, when, why, and where–I don’t have the answers to. But it’s one of those goals that will carry over for every year for the rest of my life, until it is either accomplished or accomplished so much that I turn to other interests, like cooking. Can you blame me? I’ve graduated from Sonoma State with a Bachelor’s of English (emphasis Creative Writing) and I’m working in my grandmother’s coffeeshop a half-hour’s commute away, in Auburn. Nothing wrong with having a job, but it’s certainly not what I went to college for and it’s not helping me pay off twenty-grand in loans. I’m not complaining. I’ve done enough of that already. Someday, somehow, I’ll make it happen. I’ve already got a book being read by AJ right now that could be the one. There’s another idea brewing in my brain, too, and maybe that’ll be the one. If not, then the next. Who knows? If anything, 23 will be the age in which I try.

What am I writing this for? Well, first of all, I’m not even sure this is what the website is asking for. This was only meant to be an introduction, of sorts, to a running journal of a young adult’s life in Sacramento suburbia in a time when Obama can’t pass anything, people are still dying in a war that no one likes, and so far as I can tell the whole world is bankrupt and falling apart (except for China). I want to write about observations. A point of view from the background, from someone taking their firsts steps into this messed-up world to face the worries and threats and dangers of a modern day that everyone liked to warn me about. A bad economy. Restructured healthcare. Toyota’s massive recall. Blizzards across the east coast. The struggling Euro. Global warming. 2012.

My name is Chris Fryer and I live with my girlfriend, AJ, and my two cats. I graduated from Sonoma State with a useless degree and I’m not alone in realizing that nobody told me it was going to be like this. I’m relatively shy, soft-spoken, friendly, and calm. The world doesn’t bother me and I don’t bother the world, but that doesn’t mean I don’t laugh at it a lot, and these are my thoughts.

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