Wednesday, September 8, 2010


The other day was my friend Omar's birthday. This blog was supposed to have been posted already but due to bad backs and crappy work schedules, I'm just getting it done now.

Sorry, Omar.

I've known Omar for a long time now. He, along with my sister Wendy, and I worked together in the hotel industry back in the late nineties. That's how we met. I decided to accept him as one of my own despite his unfortunate habit of rooting for New York sports. I think we've always gotten a kick out of each other and he's seriously one of my favorite people to hang out with.

We always have a good time, even though I probably give Omar a harder time than I should (wait...did I just admit that?). The day we spent in Boston to go the Harry Potter exhibit at the science museum was really just hysterical ( I really did want to steal that monkey. And touch Voldemort's robes. And play more Quidditch...). And then there was the day we went to Storyland (with my sister and Jupiter, too. We didn't just go to a children's amusement park on our own.) and ended up walking through the park together pushing an empty stroller as we tried to catch up to my sister and niece and getting a lot of weird looks from the passers by.

But there's always the possibility that we would've just gotten a lot of weird looks anyway. That happens sometimes.

We even have a good time when we're just bumming around the Best Buy in the mall, hanging around the kids playing Guitar Hero until they finally get creeped out enough by our presence and abandon the game to our completely inept hands. I really don't know how it is we're just so damn bad at that game but we really are. There was even one instance when we couldn't get out of the game's main menu. But I don't like to dwell.

Omar likes gadgets so we do spend a lot of time hanging out in Best Buy looking at the video games and computers and the cameras (that's actually how I found out that my camera had a flash. Pathetic that I didn't know before, I know, but see? Hanging out with Omar is not only entertaining but also educational. It's edu-tainment.) But now the mall has an Apple store so we've taken to hanging out there. Omur had a really great time one afternoon watching me swear at the iPod Touch because I found it to be a completely impossible device. And I think he might have flat out fallen on the floor from shock the day I told him I didn't completely hate the iPad.

I was pretty shocked by that too.

When we're not skulking around tech stores making the security people nervous, we go to Old Navy and Target just to wander around. We go to Borders and discuss good books (and bad ones too). And when I say we discuss books, I really mean that I talk incessantly about books and Omar smiles and nods at various increments. Sometimes, when I'm on a particular pen hunt (and there have been many), we go to every office supply store in the vicinity just to look at their pen selection.

Because Omar's cool like that and while he might be thinking about what an OCD lunatic I am (although I don't think he does), he never outright says it. Unless he's saying it very quietly and I've been missing it all these years.

And then there are our trips to the movies. Every now and then comes along a film that I watch a trailer for and think "I'm going to see that with Omar." Because it's just our kind of film. These films usually involve special effects and large explosions. So far, I think my favorite movie going experience was when we went to see Star Trek at the IMAX and sat next to the little old couple who were unintentionally hysterical.

Last year on his birthday, I told him I'd take him to the movies, any movie he wanted to see. I figured he'd pick Avatar or something else with a big special effects budget but Omar surprised me by sending me an email with the subject line "I PICKED MY MOVIE!" The movie? It was a film about the Yankees winning their latest world series. And, true to my word, I did look at securing tickets to the event but the date had already gone by. I swear it had. I mean, it's not like I was heartbroken or anything over our inability to watch a movie about the Yankees winning the world series and the Red Sox well, not winning the world series. But I did seriously look at getting tickets.

And you can't prove otherwise.

Omar also works late a lot of nights and I often can't sleep so we have a lot of late night email conversations. My favorite was the night that we, for reasons I can no longer recall (was it National Poetry Month or something?), spent hours emailing each other in rhyming couplets. We were really very clever.

And you can't prove otherwise.

So, please join me in wishing my very bestest young padawan, Omar, a very happy (if belated) birthday. As seriously the nicest, sweetest, most supportive, good natured Yankees fan I have ever known, you totally deserve it.

And I'll take you to the movies again. Any movie you want. Any movie that doesn't involve the Yankees winning the world series anyway...

Happy Birthday, Omar!

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