Showing My Age - 11.08.99

Well, my birthday is coming up once again this Friday, and although it's a big one (25) I'm going to focus on some funny moments of birthday past. Last year, I talked about goofy things like renewing my license and famous people who shared my birthday. Even though I told myself I wouldn't worry about silly things, I've found myself thinking about strange things and getting down on myself for reasons I really shouldn't be. Anyway, on with some older tales.

On a Sunday four years ago, I turned that magical age of 21. Instead of going out and having a drink (I was even more against drinking back then), I studied all day and then just went out that night with some friends to a nice restaurant. They all knew it was my birthday, so once we were there I started getting chided to order an alcoholic beverage. Eventually, I decided to go with a Strawberry Daquiri, but after our waiter slagged-off and forget it several times I decided to just cancel my order. Adding to his mad skills, he shredded cheese in one of our party's lap and didn't bring our bill for far too long.

Three years ago, not too much at all happened. I was in the beginnings of what would become a rather strange relationship, and to tell the truth I don't remember one thing out of the ordinary that happened. Nothing really happens on the 22nd birthday anyway, though.

Two years ago, I was walking around downtown with a good friend of mine and a friend of his. We'd just gotten done stopping in a couple stores, and we were trying to decide what we should do in the nearly 40 minutes we had to kill before our movie started. For a fall day, the weather was still fairly nice out, so instead of going and standing in line, we decided to sit down on a bench under a tree and chat a little bit.

After sitting down, the conversation turned to relationships and my good friend and I started to bounce back different statements regarding our lack of them. They went back and forth from joking to bitter, and we all had several good laughs as we sat there for awhile. Eventually, the friend of a friend spoke up and started talking about the relationship that they were currently in. Instead of them being happier than us, though, they sounded like they were even more bitter than us lonely souls. Not only did their significant other have super-strange quirks, but they couldn't talk with each other as well as we were while sitting there and talking on that bench.

One of points of difference in the particular relationship was a lack of maturity of the person that they happened to be dating. After a short discussion on the subject, we then moved on to age and somehow it was mentioned that my birthday was coming up. Being the somewhat silly person that I am, I played it a bit coy, sat back and told the person to guess what age I was going to be. I tried to flash my youngest looking smile, but apparently it didn't work because they guessed that I was at least 25. When I told them that I wasn't even 23 yet, I could see that they felt somewhat bad and instead tried to backpeddle a bit. I wasn't at all offended by the guess, but I pressed the subject just a little more to see what I would hear. After asking what had given them the impression that I was that age, they responded with (and this is a direct quote), "I don't know, you just looked more emotionally damaged."

What was meant to be a compliment (they further explained that they had meant to say that I acted more mature than the average 22 year old) had turned into something else decidingly different. Instead of getting upset, though, all that I could do was laugh. Really, it didn't bother me one way or another what people thought my age was and it just gave me a great line to use in defense of myself if I wasn't feeling very good. You'd be surprised how people look at you if you tell them that you're feeling rather "emotionally damaged."

Last year was probably one of the most relaxed birthdays ever for me (not that I don't secretly enjoy people mentioning it) because only two people in the town where I live even knew about it. The only plans for the evening were all three of us catching a movie at the local art-house theater (the very excellent Pi), then going out afterwards dancing at a club where a person we knew was DJing. We stayed out until closing time and all got extra-sweaty dancing like maniacs. The only bad thing was that I think I got a cold from going outside afterwards dripping with sweat into the very cold night.

And so I'm now nearly at the quarter of a century mark. As only happens once every 7 years, it falls on a Friday, so I don't have to worry about how long I stay out or what I do that evening. I don't have any major plans yet except for going out for lunch with some people from work, trying to catch a new movie and again go dancing afterwards. Maybe something really super-exciting will come up between now and then, but I doubt it. If it does, I'm sure you'll hear about it here sometime in the weeks following.

If you want, drop me a line and wish me a good one or impart some words of wisdom with me.