I dont know about you, but I’m feeling as if I had a pound for every time someone said that to me on my birthday I’d have more money than Taylor Swift. Last year when I turned 21 I spent the day in an underground bunker in Fife and then having fish and chips in a car by the sea because the rain was too heavy for us to stand outside. A fairly standard 21st if you ask me and the best way to experience Fife- 100ft belowground level under two feet of concrete.
This year I deliberately took the day off, which in freelance terms means I spent a day deliberately unemployed, but I'm glad I did as the week leading up to Monday the 17th of July was unbelievably busy including at the weekend. The Saturday prior to my birthday was spent at Hamilton Race Course. I didn’t have a flutter for a few reasons: I thought ‘having a flutter’ was innuendo for something I’m not willing to commit to text, I didn’t know which horse to bet on, the bookmakers shouting made no sense so I thought I’d accidentally wandered into the auction portion of Bargan Hunt and I was working so it was probably bad form. Walking amongst the crowd at the race track was like playing a game of 'have they just won money or are they very drunk;' the answer was both. The Sunday saw me up early for another job and by the end of the day I was thoroughly exhausted and wanted a quiet and relaxing Sunday evening but after dinner, gin and a glass of sherry that didn’t happen.
Monday (my birthday) came around and I had the best lie in that anyone has ever had. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had been legally dead for some of it. It was my first present to myself, the next was to come later on. Eventually getting up the plan was to go through to Glasgow, grab a bite to eat then go out for drinks and a show. An itinerary so simple that only an idiot would struggle to talk you through it. Today, my present to me, was being that very idiot.
Arriving at Falkirk High train station (named after the dizzy feeling you get when you find out the cost of a weekly ticket and should not to be confused with Falkirk Low or Falkirk Medium) I put the My Dad Wrote a Porno Podcast on. With me, I had my rucksack (a cheeky little number from John Lewis that was stuffed with a waterproof because, Scotland) and a small flight bag suitcase the kind of thing you see cabin crew rolling around the Airport. I had this bag as I was staying in Glasgow that night and was working in Edinburgh for two days after and needed a handy selection of clothes to see me through. This case was ideal for weekends away or work overnights as it was small but practical. It fitted easily in the overhead luggage rack, it didn't even stick out a little like the bigger cases do.
Happy as Larry, listning away, we pulled into Glasgow Queen Street. Literally the moment I stood up and threw my bag over my shoulders I realised something. The tickets for tonight show were still sitting on the kitchen table, 20 miles away, back in Falkirk.
I jumped off the train, and walked swiftly to the barrier. In the time it took me to do that I had phoned my mum who kindly agreed to help me out and meet me at Falkirk station with the tickets so I didn’t have to go all the way home. Passing through the barrier I did one of those travellers checks (not n a medium of exchange that can be used in place of hard currency, that's a travellers cheque). A travelers check or ‘Trav Check’ as I like to call it is when you check you’ve got everything you left home with and need while on the move, it takes seconds. So in your head you go from left to right. Phone, Check. Headphones, check. Rucksack that weighs two tonnes, check. Killer ginger quiff, check. Wallet, Check. Travel card check. Flight bag… Flight Bag…Shit.
I’d only gone and left the bloody thing on the train. I was though the barrier by this point, but the train I’d just gotten off was still in situ so I ran to the ticket machine to get my return. It all happened in slow motion, it was like a movie. A movie with no budget, bad casting and pointless narrative. I sprinted back through the barrier and up the platform, my rucksack jumping up and down like a giant boob in an ill-fitting brasier, but the only boob here was me. In the offending carriage I searched like a camp sniffer dog, back roughly where I was sitting, in the overhead luggage rack and around, It was nowhere to be seen. Thinking I’d searched the wrong train, I went to the other on the platform. I pressed the button and the doors opened with a shrieking beep, I was met by a larger man carrying an equally large bin bag in one hand and in the other my flight bag. My eyes widened and I pointed with both physicality and my voice saying ’Thats mine”! He glanced down and said “Can you prove it?”, I was taken aback “I just ran up the platform for it”, he paused, “aye, nay bother” and he handed it over.
Calmed down, I was on the train back to Falkirk, only half an hour after getting into the city. My mum met me at the station with the tickets saying ‘you’re an arse’ and stood with me till the next service back into Glasgow. Suitably annoyed, I treated myself to some sushi as a late lunch.
The evening plans were to meet up with the boyfriend who’d gotten me tickets to see Broadway lady and diva impressionist Christina Bianco at Wild Cabaret and drink copious amounts of wine. I have to say Christina was flawless. We were front row and I got to ask her questions during the Q+A; it was amazing. It pips the nuclear bunker from the year before by some bit and it was a great way to usher in my 22nd year.