On my birthday, that annual day of celebration and mirth, I ran away from the table and down a flight of stairs, tears streaming down my face.

No, I was having a wonderful time. It had been a great day. At the time of our heroine’s episode, I was surrounded by dear friends, good food and raspberry beer. There had been a toast in my honor, animated conversation…I felt much loved.

It was that damn nacho chip.

You see, I’d been discussing tours and shows as I enjoyed our shared appetizer — a plate of delicious nachos. Routine multitasking, until I swallowed and felt a chip lodge itself in my throat. Air could move in and out, but that chip wasn’t moving. And if fucking hurt.

(I would like to note that this was never a problem when I was 25.)

I played it off as my eyes began to water. “No, I’m okay. Keep talking.”

And then I bolted.

A restaurant employee in the ladies’ room must have thought me either bulimic or drunk as I coughed and cried (despite myself) in a stall. “Are you okay, sweetie?”

“Fine!” I gasped. “I just have this chip” – cough – “stuck in my throat…”

I’m glad she wasn’t there a few minutes later, as I sipped a glass of water and jumped up and down to dislodge the offending item…

ANYWAY, birthday: enjoyable. Flowers, myspace message, emails and texts sent from friends and loved ones, some of whom surprised the hell out of me. The eighth grade crush? “Happy birthday!” That much-adored collegiate friend everyone has during the pursuit of higher education — you know, the one whose face you happened to wind up kissing on occasion? “Happy birthday!” Acquaintances, family (including a song performed in unison from Utah), friends — even someone I’ve only met twice. “Happy birthday!”

I was surprised and touched. Amazing, what a little myspace birthday icon does to get people to think of you, even if only briefly, on a day that’s important.

It’s little, but it matters. It all adds up to a day of a constant smile, even for someone prone to little annual bouts of frowns.

So, long story short — I’m thankful for remembrance.

But I’m boycotting nachos.

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