Happy birthday from the Internet

The homeless man was a nice touch.

By that time I had liked a few hundred birthday messages from close friends and near strangers on Facebook.

The ATM showed a screen full of balloons and encouraged me to “Take out a little extra and treat myself on my special day!”

My barista wrote “Happy birthday!” on the the side of my coffee cup.

I received competing “free lunch on your birthday!” offers from my favorite restaurants. The one I chose finished my meal with the staff singing a royalty-free birthday song.

Every website I visited had a special message or special offer just for me, just for today.

My music streaming service included songs like “Birthday” by The Beatles and “Birthday” by The Sugarcubes and “Happy Birthday” by Altered Images (or was it the Ting Tings cover?) in my rotation.

Flowers were sent to my work.

All that I expected.

The homeless man was a nice touch.

The homeless man, someone I walk by on most work days and barely even look at, said “Happy birthday!” I knew he was talking to me because he knew my name. When I looked down I saw he had a cardboard sign wishing me a happy birthday, too.

I gave him a few dollars. I’ve never done that before. I assume BirthdayMe paid him for his services, but I felt like I should thank him for his trouble.

Yes, it is kind of nice to have the people and computers I interacted with today all wish me a happy birthday. Better than the pre-BirthdayMe years when my day would often go unnoticed. The attention does make me feel special but it needs to stop now. The personalization industrial complex has gone too far.

This is too much.

For a moment I did smile when I saw the balloons and decorations in my house. My favorite dinner is in the oven and does smell fantastic. The cake on my dining room table looks delicious.

Then I thought, “Who was in my house?”

Someone was in my house. Someone had to come in and do all this. Break in.

I looked around more.

They had cleaned, which I appreciated, but that meant that had touched my things. They did my laundry. Who was folding my clothes? My underwear?

How did they get in?

Are they still here?

“Hello? Hello? Are you still here? This is enough now. Please stop. Please go. I want my birthday to be over. Do you hear me? Let’s pretend it’s not my birthday anymore. Hello? Do you hear me? Hello?”

Happy birthday Google Doodle
The actual Google Doodle I saw on my birthday. Kind of sweet. Kind of creepy.

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Read more Fiction Friday here, including these technology-themed pieces of short fiction:

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