In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to surprise someone. Everyone is far too connected through so much social media. It’s even more difficult to surprise someone you love because you spend so much time with them.
For the longest time, I’ve had two things on my life’s to-do list regarding surprises — To throw a surprise party and to have one thrown for me. Since I’ve shared this list with CK, he’s well aware of these two items. So, when he birthday arrived, he would have a heightened sensitivity regarding a surprise party. Over the years, I’ve learned to not celebrate my birthday because in the end, if you don’t celebrate it, you can’t be disappointed by the turnout. CK is a bit different. He loves a big party and certainly loves to be the center of attention ;). Nothing was going to stop him.
I knew from the start if I was going to pull off a surprise for CK’s birthday, I wasn’t able to do it alone. I needed to recruit help. Since one of his friends wasn’t particularly thrilled with me after The Prometheus Debacle of twenty ought twelve, I decided to hit up his other close friend for help. It was the day before his birthday which fell on a Friday. I quickly shot him a message on Facebook and told him my plan to surprise CK the following day. I had one big problem. I was swamped at work. We were in the middle of a pitch, and I knew his friend has much more time on his hands as he was recovering from surgery. I asked him to pick a place, set a time, and invite the friends who were still bitter about the movie tickets, as well as any others I didn’t know about. He was onboard.
When he suggested we go to this cute little Thai restaurant in CK’s neighborhood because they also served alcohol, I immediately knew what he was talking about. “That’s perfect!” I responded. I used to order from Q2 when I worked in that neighborhood, and CK and I ate there the day he moved into his new place. I was thrilled, and it would work out well because it was close. It was never easy getting CK moving and out the door. Proximity was prime.
We also decided to create a diversion. I told him to have everyone involved feed a story to CK. The friend I was planning with was going to tell him he would meet him up for a drink later in the night, but he had dinner plans already (which partially was true). The other friends were going to be going out of town to Connecticut until Sunday, but would make it up to him and take him out to dinner Sunday night.
I told him I would take care of CK. That night, I made plans with CK for the following day. I was going to be working down in our Chelsea office, which is relatively closer to his office. I asked him if we could grab lunch together since I was in the middle of a pitch, and I wasn’t sure what time I would be done work that evening. He was thrilled, particularly after no one hit him up to make plans for his birthday.
In the middle of the afternoon, I called CK to make sure we were still on for lunch. We agreed to meet in Chelsea Market (probably a huge mistake). I figured we could get food there and take it up on the Highline to eat it.
I went in one side of Chelsea Market, and he went in the other. Of course, we didn’t find each other in the middle. When I reached the far door without seeing him, I called him. And I called him. And I called him. The phone rang in my hand about one hundred times before he finally picked up the phone. I was getting extremely frustrated since I had limited time to eat with him, and that time was shrinking. But, I took a deep breath and remembered it was his birthday. I needed to keep cool.
We both grabbed some crab/lobster sandwiches and made our way outside to the Highline to find seats for our “picnic.” As we walked, he told me about his friends and how they had plans. He was asking them all to come out for the night, but found only disappointment. I apologized and told him I was still unaware what time I would be released from work (and sadly, that was the truth). In reality, we had plans/reservations for 9:00, and I was desperately hoping we would make that time. I could tell he was a little upset no one would be around for his birthday.
He was very skeptical and asked if I was up to something and planning something, but I denied it over and over. I told him how one friend would meet us for drinks around 10:00, and how he told me the other friends had to head out of town for the night. One last time, he questioned me, and I replied, “Babe, I tried to do something, but it’s not working out. I’m not even sure I can spend your birthday with you. What makes you think I can plan something with others? I’m really sorry! Can I take you out for dinner tonight? A quiet night with just the two of us?” He agreed, but I could tell he was a little upset. I told him I had the perfect restaurant, but I wanted to surprise him with that since I wasn’t able to surprise him with anything else. He looked like someone shot his puppy, but his demeanor also changed. It was almost as if, “Well, if they don’t want to spend my birthday with me, then f*ck them.”
He no longer suspected a thing. We finished our meal, and he walked me back to my office. I gave him a big kiss goodbye and told him I would keep him posted on what time I could get out of work. My diversion worked. I completely threw him off the scent, and we both went back to work.
As soon as I got back to my office, I called his friend. “He was suspicious, but I think I broke his spirits a bit, and now he doesn’t suspect a thing. He thinks it will be a quiet night out to dinner for just the two of us. He has no idea what’s coming…”