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Another year, another slice of cake I did't share because, honestly, parties? Meh. I don't like 'em. I'd rather sit in a fun restaurant like Westerns Laundry in London, for a one-on-one with a good chum.

I don’t crave attention, even on my special day. I say I don’t have an ego, but a friend once called me on that and said I was actually the exact opposite. (D’ya think?) By saying that I do not want to call attention to myself, she says I’m holding up a neon sign that pleads, “Look at me!” Sounds like a load of bullshit to me, but then she’s a family-counselling therapist. Who am I to argue with a Ph.D.?

Being antisocial (or believing myself to be) is why a career as a writer is the perfect job for me. I can work alone, and everyone thinks it’s just the nature of the creative beast. They believe that so-called “artists” are just a bit more perverse than the rest of the population. Which is probably true.

Writing is sort of a “get out of jail free” card for me. I can say, “I’m on deadline,” and friends seem to understand. If I were to win a billion-dollar lottery jackpot prize, I’d be as quiet as the grass about it.

So, back to my natal day, which only comes once a year, thank God, several friends gave me gift cards, which was sweet and really ideal. I’m super hard to buy stuff for because I have almost everything I want/need, including a 500-year-old cottage in the Southwest of England. If I really want something, I buy it for myself. I’m super independent. And rich. Ha!

Do I want a new car? Sure, but there’s nothing wrong with the BMW in my garage. New bed sheets would be nice too—something in a printed flannel for the cold winters in England and the mountains of Southern California—but that’s probably too personal (or unimaginative) for anyone other than my mother to give to me. I would like an antique copper kettle for making tea, but I’ve never told anyone that I want that, so it’s another thing I’ll have to buy for myself.

There are tons of other things I’ve never mentioned wanting. Do I dare tell anyone about some of them? Probably not. Oh, hell, I want Prince Charming’s warm body, smelling like night-blooming Jasmine next to me. Too much to ask?

Over the years, I have received all sorts of very thoughtful things from friends that I quickly re-gifted, or that ended up on a shelf in a closet and ultimately sent to the local charity shop. So, unless I’m seeing someone special (which I thought I'd be doing this past b-day, but it turned out I was delusional), it’s best to receive a gift card.

I’m guilty of pretending that I'm giving an extravagant gift to a friend but I'm really giving it to myself. Example: I recently bought tickets to Taylor Swift's concert and tucked them into an envelope for my friend Trudy’s upcoming birthday. I’m fully expecting Trudy to ask me to join her. She isn’t the most popular in our circle, so I’m the logical choice to invite. Right? Oh, shoot! Having those £800 (each) tix could make Trudy suddenly super popular! What if she asks Tristan, the dude in her spin class who she yaps about constantly but has no chance of dating? Damn! I hadn’t thought about that. This could literally be her ticket for an evening with him. On my dime! Okay, so playing Lady Bountiful works both ways, like my birthday dinner with my friend Lolly, who works as an assistant curator at The Tate Modern. She gave me a lovely Visa gift card (right size and colour). But when the bill came, she suggested I use it for my birthday dinner.

So much for the appearance of generosity.

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