024B4: The Online Birthday


Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 168

My birthday started with a mix of good and sorta bad stuff (or at least stressful stuff). But it ended with a really amazing time despite the limitations of this lockdown. 

First, the 1-hour #BaduyPride live stream vlog episode ended up being a 90-minute crazy hangout where everyone could ask questions about my favorite things. Tobie kept losing count of how many questions had been asked already since he was trying to go through 38 questions in honor of my birthday. A lot of our "regular" Baduy Pride viewers were there but a lot of other friends joined as well thanks to Tobie's insistent invites. I know it was a lot of work to convince people to get on a live video stream, even if just to chat.

After we tried setting up a Facebook Messenger Room for people to hang out in. We had already had more than a few drinks but a lot of friends were still game to get on proper call so we could all talk instead of just interacting through the chat within the live stream posts. There were some limitations for that platform and the group had to move over to Zoom to continue the conversation.

We didn't have specific topics, we just went with whatever felt right. We played with Zoom backgrounds and dug up old photos. Inevitably there were a lot of O Bar stories and a lot of talk of missing being together at the bar. All of that was a lot of fun and actually reminded me and Tobie of the sort of conversations we've had around a table at O. Tobie and I haven't really been drinking this quarantine since it feels weird to do so at home, but during this online video call, it felt a bit like the better times before this pandemic messed everything up. And having that feeling, even for a few hours, was magical given everything else going on in this stressful life.

Super big thanks to Tobie for helping to put this together. We didn't have a distinctly concrete plan for all this, but because of the nature of our good friends, it became a magical experience. And it was one of the best birthday celebrations one could hope for while still in lockdown. Sure, it also made us miss being together with one another, but that's a natural consequence of this lockdown. But we'll endure and get to that point where we can all be together again safely.