“I don’t remember anyone’s birthday” i said.
“You will remember mine.” Hawina replied almost 20 years ago now.
And as usual, she was right.
While i dont put much stock in this particular celebration, many people and the community think these things matter. It especially matters when you turn 50 and start getting pension hours. This slightly recklessly designed system is one of the more clever things about Twin Oaks (which Acorn sadly does not mimic). For those who tuned in late, I live in an egalitarian community, where we dont work for money. Instead we work a quota of 42 hours a week and in exchange for this the community covers almost all our costs. Including but not limited to food, clothing, housing, some education, some entertainment, full medical and dental coverage and most transportation. Your quota starts to go down an hour a year when you reach age 50 (as Hawina did this year). i am now 55 and will soon be getting my 7th pension hour (dropping my quota to 35 hours a week, when i am at Twin Oaks only). Making quota is not a problem for me, i am generally over quota and i often operate within labor collectives. But i care about it in the context of whether others can live here and how we take care of our aging population.
Hawina is an expert in designing the birthday parties she wants. This year was no exception. We played games, especially her group game favorite Werewolves (aka Mafia). And it is the super powered players which make this game interesting. There is a “curious girl” who can peak and see who everyone is, but if she were revealed the werewolves would try to get her right away. There are lovers who’s lives are linked and in one game the lovers won, despite the fact that one was a werewolf and the other not.
Similarly, Willow redesigned capture the flag for his most recent birthday, by adding super powers and special zones. He has taken Games and Strategies classes at his Cville based home schooling group for several semesters now and wants to control the playing field (just as i generally do). Of course, as a funologist, i am all over this. I even got the kids to do a funological review of the game immediately after it in which they suggested some great changes to the rules to improve the game (including: alternating sides of the asymetric field, moving bases in from the edges to avoid boundary breakers from repeated jail breaks and running out of the boundary to avoid capture, and adding a time limit to how long you can be in the safe zones).
It is my son’s birthday, but this is my present.
i had thought Hawina had said they were coming into the bus station just a bit before 9PM. But when the NYC bus arrived, Willow’s half brother Fabian, Wieneke and Micha were not on it. I had to stay at the station to pick up my virtual friend Jason.
But as luck would have it, when i showed up at the train station, 30 minutes late, their train had just arrived. There was an animated reception in the station and we all hopped in the car to go back to the commune.
While we were driving i mentioned that i had set up a chess tournament for Fabian, who is something of a a chess wiz and had enjoyed playing with a bunch of members and guests last time he visited Twin Oaks in 2010.
We were talking a bit and Fabian said “Too bad the last day of the tournament is not Wednesday, then we could be part of the party.”
“What party is on Wednesday?” i asked
And the car fell silent. Wednesday is Fabian’s birthday.
And when we were talking about my mistake later Micha said “It is exactly right, when you signed up to be a sperm donor, the agreements were very clear. No rights, no responsibilities. This includes not remembering birthdays.”
Despite Facebooks endless pestering, i am a disaster at remembering birthdays. Truth is i dont want these obligations. I could care less that you happen to be born some integer number of years ago, dont tell me it is your wedding anniversary – tell me what you plan to do together for the next few years instead. In this sense i am a very classical American, ignoring history focusing on the future.
Today Fabian turned 14. Elsa organized a party and we played Werewolves and liars dice. Jonah pulled several epic bluffs and all the kids got to light sparklers (Wienke promises some of her photos). It was a low key event. We are working on a broader set of memories.