Earlier this year, my good friend Rio asked me to write a guest post on his blog for his 31st birthday. Rio’s used his talent and creativity to surprise me on past birthdays (see: birthday activity sheet #1). It was only fitting that I repay the favor.
I lifted what I wrote for his blog and made some changes.
I’m jealous of Rio. Today, he gets to say he’s 31. I’m counting down the days until I can say that. Yeah, I know I’m not your average woman.
I’m obsessed with the number 31. I take photos of it when I see it randomly on a bus or sign. I make a point of noting it as a hashtag on my Twitter feed when something is #31ftw (for the win, e.g., my favorite baseball player Andre Ethier hitting 31 home runs in 2009) or #31fail (e.g., Justice Sonia Sotomayor getting 31 nay votes in her Senate confirmation). My friends and family don’t get it, but they still send me photos when they spot a 31.
The truth? I don’t really get it either. My affinity began late in high school. That was when friends started teasing me about my many crushes and I earned the nickname “31 Flavors.” I didn’t mind it, after all, I was born on the 31st of August. Soon, the nickname became part of my first email address. I grew out of a lot of my other high school/early 20s mini obsessions. Not 31.
As for the photo series, that didn’t begin until I bought a digital camera in 2004. The next spring I went out to lunch with my ex-roommate at a diner. We ordered our food and the cashier gave us a number for our table. It was 31. I had to take a picture.
Soon, I was spotting it around school, LA, in my travels and so on. I took more photos. My friends and family spotted the number occasionally and sent me photos too.
I kept it up for several years, but never sat to think about what 31 means and why it’s awesome. Some reasons why:
- The best months — January, March, May, July, August, October and December — have 31 days.
- Some of the best days of the year are on the 31st (César Chávez Day, Halloween, NYE, my birthday).
- It’s a prime number, a self number and all kinds of other cool math stuff I don’t really understand.
- California, my beloved home state, was the 31st state admitted to the Union on September 9, 1850.
- The motherland, Mexico, is made up of 31 states.
- In Lotería, the 31 card depicts las jaras, or the arrows. (I think this is pretty cool considering Cynthia is one of the names of Artemis, goddess of the hunt, forest, hills and moon. I’m also pretty keen on the moon.)
- Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors of ice cream. Yum.
- In the periodic table of elements, Gallium has the atomic number 31. It’s primarily used in semiconductors.
- Nick Hornby wrote a book called 31 Songs all about songs that have impacted his life and his music taste.
- Thirty-one rhymes with “flirty one” and “dirty one” making for a particularly sexy year.
- The Dodger record for a hitting streak is 31. Sadly, Andre Ethier didn’t tie that record.
- If you subtract 31 from 100 you get 69. I won’t espouse on that one because I’m an adult.
- The old 31 line of the MTA started in the neighborhood where I was born and continued west in to the heart of East LA.
- I live on the 3100 block of my street.
- Greg Maddux, one of the best pitchers in the 90s, wore #31. His jersey has been retired by both the Cubs and Braves. (Fun fact: he pitched for the Dodgers in 2006 and 2008.) Reggie Miller (Pacers), Mike Piazza (Dodgers) and Kurt Rambis (Lakers) also wore #31.
- Aimee Mann has a song called “31 Today”. I can relate to it in some ways.
- If you inverse 31, it makes 13, which might not be so popular in Northern California, but is more liked in LA and Southern California.
- If you add the digits of 31, you get 4. There’s lot of cool things about 4, like the 4 elements, 4 directions, Cuatro Caminos from Café Tacuba y más.
Those are all just random reasons, but I’m pretty sure 31 will be an awesome year for Rio. I can’t see why not.
Yes, I’m happy to say “I’m 31” when someone asks my age.
As for the 31st birthday, it was low key. I spent the morning and afternoon at Disneyland and California Adventures with Sean. We rushed through several short lines and finally got to check out the new Star Tours. I loved the old version, but the upgrade is pretty neat. Throughout the day, I heard from several friends near and far (e.g., China). Their birthday greetings made me smile and feel loved. Afterward, we met up for dinner at my favorite restaurant with my mom, Adrian and his girlfriend. The rest of the familia was working. I’ll really celebrate with the extended familia and friends in a few weeks at my birthday party.