The hostess at P.F. Chang’s led us to a table. “Are you two celebrating a special occasion?” she asked as she seated me and my good friend Phyllis. “Yes, we’re celebrating life,” I said as she handed us the menus. Our hostess smiled and flitted off.
Since my 5-hour surgery for a hip replacement, I have appreciated life more than ever. My surgeon told me on one of my follow-up visits that things could have gone wrong during the surgery. I would not be writing this to you right now if it had.
I’m unclear why the hostess asked us if we were celebrating a special occasion. Does every P.F. Chang’s hostess ask this of customers as she seats them? Or did Phyllis and I look way too happy for it to be an ordinary Thursday?
The P.F. Chang’s server took our order. As she collected our menus, she said, “Happy Birthday,” then whisked away. She didn’t even check to see which one of us might be the Happy Birthday Girl.
Our hostess must have thought I had said “birthday” and passed that on to our server. After all, who celebrates “life” at P.F. Chang’s?
Hallmark has the marketing slogan, “Life is a special occasion.” I like the slogan but it doesn’t mean much when we know Hallmark has ulterior motives. Their slogan actually means, “Life is a special occasion when you buy Hallmark merchandise. So, come on in and shop the Star Wars line and get yourself an R2-D2 coffee mug and Darth Vader salt and pepper shakers.”
Ever since the cave man or cave woman invented the wheel, there has been reason to celebrate. “Oh, Honey, you made a round thing! What does it do? What do you call it? Let’s celebrate with some nice big hunks of raw meat~since we still haven’t invented cooking and fire yet.”
Celebrations unite us by giving us reason to share in a joy. And we need them too because there are so many negatives in our world. The book I’m currently reading focuses on misery and torture. I’m only reading it because I liked the TV mini-series, which had much less sword-wielding and knife-slashing violence.
I can’t go to Facebook for any happiness either. In the beginning, years ago, Facebook had your real friends on your timeline and it helped you to get caught up on each other’s lives. Back then, I enjoyed the pictures of my friends’ cute kids standing in the pumpkin patch or their cat curled up under the Christmas tree. I even got a kick out of seeing pictures of what others had prepared for dinner. One day, I don’t know when, Facebook did a 180. People I didn’t know sent friend requests, and people who were friends of a friend became my friend and started preaching and ranting about whatever their cause was. Soon commercial ads began stalking me. Priceline wouldn’t stop flashing until I clicked on to see what car rental deal they had for me. Facebook has its moments of celebration for birthdays and anniversaries, but you have to wade through all the unwanted posts to find it.
I definitely can’t turn on the news for relief. I just turned it on a little while ago and learned Kim Jong-un wants to blow us up with a missile strike to the west coast, including Alaska, or to Guam. It appears for now, you’re safe if you live on the east coast. Lucky, you.
All the unhappy news is more reason to celebrate the good things we have in life, like friendship, ladybugs, butterflies, coffee, peanut butter cookies, and the unabashed laughter of children when you squirt them with your super, mega-blaster water gun.
I read about a 94-year-old named Trixie who found reasons to celebrate each day by noticing the beauty in the ordinary. She has the motto, “Don’t stop the carnival,” and celebrates life by taking great pleasure in the scent of flowers, animated conversation with laughter, and turning an everyday meal into an extraordinary event (probably with lit candles and Darth Vader salt and pepper shakers from Hallmark).
The author of the article suggests Trixie’s celebration of life is her secret to longevity.
I took my P.F. Chang leftovers home with me and announced to Jerry, “I brought you some delicious wonton soup.”
“No thanks,” Jerry said as his face scrunched into the unhappy expression of someone being offered pickled eyeballs. “I don’t like P.F. Chang’s,” he added. Okay, I recall he did have an unsatisfactory meal there once.