The lockdown birthday. It comes to us all in the end. For me it arrived last Thursday in the form of a day off with my girl and the full Karate Kid trilogy. It’s difficult to reconcile being one step closer to the gallows and the continuing drudgery of Covid with the idea of celebration. So instead I took the opportunity to use my birthday as emotional leverage. Gently pressuring my girl, through a combination of whimpers and sad eyes, to get her to watch a lot of something she wasn’t at all interested in.
As any student of the Miyagi dōjō knows: man who catch fly in chopstick accomplish anything. And so it was, through a mixture of my childlike enthusiasm and Daniel-san’s bumbling charm, that my girl fell steadily in love with the world of make-believe karate. She’s now committed to watching Cobra Kai with me. Which is a gift in itself. It’ll give me a much needed break from her choice of film which always seems to involve a heroine who is tired a lot during act one, develops a tickly cough in act two, then spends the whole of act three whispering through a bloody handkerchief as she (all too) slowly succumbs to a diabolical wasting disease.
Anyway, speaking of gifts, I did get some cool ones. That’s the good thing about birthdays, unlike Christmas, you don’t have to pretend to be interested in giving — you just sit back and watch as the conveyor belt of poorly wrapped parcels trundles towards your grasping hands.
I’ll say right now, I didn’t get this hat. It’s from the Japanese brand Tatamize — rare on these shores, but always worth keeping an eye on. In one way it’s the ideal un-try-on-able lockdown purchase. It’s ‘size free’, which in layman’s terms means you just wrap it around your dome until it feels right. To be specific, it’s designed to have a 60cm circumference, but there’s a good 3cm give both ways to get the fit right. Off-white, olive or black are your choices; you can grab one over at Tatamize Stores if you like. I didn’t get one of these for my birthday, but I kind of wish I had.
I did however receive some Aesop Post-Poo drops. For the uninitiated, we are talking about a small vial of “botanical bathroom deodoriser.” I have no idea what prompted this purchase. I asked my girl for instructions, before immediately being made to feel as dumb as a horse. No, apparently you don’t use the pipette directly on the dung, you flush first.
Thankfully, my other gifts were less faecal. I was given a lovely pair of Toga socks, more Comme des Garçons SHIRT underpants and this magical sweatshirt from my current fave brand Post-Imperial. I won’t list any of my other gifts for fear of further exposing just how much of an unbearably spoilt madam I am. But suffice to say I also got a ‘challenging’ bookazine featuring what appears to be a black man painted white with his knob hanging out. As someone who enthusiastically pretends to understand art I love it. It’s perfect coffee table material to make visitors feel slightly uncomfortable. But of course there aren’t any visitors. And no, Mr Miyagi doesn’t count.