I crack up every time I think about it. About six months ago, I was at work, and a business man was outside talking with my dad. I guess they were talking about their families, as family men do, and then they came in and dad introduced me to the man as his oldest daughter.
“Oh, nice to meet you–how old are you?” the man asked me.
In this country, you don’t ask a lady her age, and if you have the audacity to do so, she would still never tell you. So his question took me aback because I’m not used to the question, plus for a couple seconds, I honestly couldn’t remember my age.
So I stammered a little bit, and finally remembered which of my thirties I was in, and because I don’t always abide by protocol, I didn’t mind telling him I was thirty-five.
And then he stammered and hemmed for a couple seconds, poor man. I guess the men had been comparing children and ages or something, and he explained that he thought I was in my upper teens. Which of course was very flattering if unbelievable.
But now every time the big man bustles in, I want to giggle at the funny, awkward memory. But I think I’ve refrained so far.
So yesterday I couldn’t say I’m thirty-five anymore. I still quite enjoy birthdays, and think June is the best time of year for them. I like the chance to look at a milestone and try to take stock of the year, and think about what I’ve learned in the last twelve months, and what I want to aim for next year. I proudly count two new white hair, which I’ve gained by honest means. I’m glad I’ve learned uncountable, intangible things that will shape me for life, and hopefully I unlearned other things.
It was a lovely birthday. My sister worked for me in the afternoon and freed me to go to town and meet two friends for a long, leisurely coffee. In the evening, four of us went to Dunmore, got locally-caught fish, and chips (with salt and vinegar–ahhh!), and ate them on the cliffs in the wind and song of the sea. Back home, we took a good long walk then played a fun round of Scrabble, and at the end, a family from church walked in, carrying a strawberry-decorated bun with a lit candle, singing Happy Birthday, once in English and once in Polish.
I think it will be a good year, being thirty-six. Even if someone asks me how old I am.