Today (March 5th) is my brother’s birthday. He lives in Texas. My dad called me tonight, as a sort of reminder about my brother’s birthday. This is one thing I love about my dad’s side of the family – we all remind the family whenever it is someone’s birthday. There are funny bits to this, of course, because it often means that whoever’s birthday it is gets a load of messages and phone calls all at the same time, followed by the thought of, ‘Hmm… I wonder what message just went out to everyone.’ For example, when it is my sister’s husband’s birthday, my sister sends a group text to the family, telling us that it is his birthday. Within about five minutes, we have all either called or sent a birthday message to him. There’s no way we all just happen to think of his birthday at the same time, so our ‘cover’ is just plain nonexistent – we were clearly reminded of the birthday. But, the point is that we all care enough to wish the family member well on his/her birthday. My dad, I think, is the one who started this sort of tradition we have.
Another aspect of the birthday tradition that my dad created is the song “Birthday” by the Beatles. Every year, without fail, he finds some way to play the song for us on each of our birthdays. One year, my eldest sister had an early-morning flight, and so expected to miss the song, since it was always played at home. However, my dad surprised her with playing the song in the car on the way to the airport (at 6am). When I was abroad, he would Skype or telephone me, making sure to play the song at the start of the call.
Today, as he was talking to me to remind me about my brother’s birthday, he checked the sound of the song with me, to make sure I could hear it well enough. He said that he was planning to call my brother right after he got off the phone with me, and I saw that FaceTime had an option to add a call, so we went ahead and called my brother on FaceTime (I did, anyway), by clicking the “add call” button. However, it ended up not working the way an “add call” button suggests it might work, so I improvised.
Right now, I’m sitting with my laptop on my lap, my phone on the lap of my laptop. On my phone, I am FaceTime Video-ing with my brother. On my laptop, I am FaceTime Audio-ing with my dad. It is the middle of the night for me and the middle of the morning for my brother and dad. The three of us are talking as though we’re all just hanging out together. Right now, of course, the two of them are having a bit of their own chatting time, and I am typing. This points to what is possibly my favorite part of this: I, in Japan, am joining two people on a phone call, who are barely an hour or two apart from one another in Texas. I’m not even talking right now, but the whole reason they are able to talk to one another is because of me, over here in Japan. So, it’s kind of like their conversation is taking the long way around… the Really long way.
Or something like that, anyway. 😛