Monday, June 12, 2006

I Don't Know How Old I Am (Or: Proof that I am an Idiot: Pt. XXIII)

I was going to write a long post about my birthday weekend (which was fine, nice and low-key) and all the things I did (ate too much, watched a couple movies, put up some shelves in the bedroom, did NOT go workout) but instead I'll boil it down to the following incidents, which underscore that I DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW HOW OLD I AM (or rather, How easily I can be tricked into thinking I am a particular age when in actuality I am something different.)

(But before I begin the following caveat: I don't really think too often about how old I am. My age doesn't bother me; I don't obsess about it; and at any given time I'd have to stop and think about what my actual age is. Now that we've established these caveats, let's move forward):

  • #1. – Yesterday, in the condo: My brother and Kari buy me a birthday cake and the two of them, along with Richard, bring it out to me after dinner and sing "Happy Birthday." I noticed that the cake has two candles for "38." I immediately think this is odd because I'm not 38, I'm 37. So I say, "I think we need to put this cake in the freezer for a year because I'm 37 today, not 38." After a lengthy discussion between the four of us pertaining to my brothers age, the age difference between us, some wizardry I can only describe as “new math” the three of them have me convinced that I am a moron who doesn’t know how to add correctly and figure out his age, and that I am really ONE WHOLE YEAR older than I thought I was. And while I feel I took the news rather well, I was sorta shocked that I’d been going around all this time thinking I was turning 37. How could I be off by a whole year?
  • #2. – Yesterday, lying in bed staring at the ceiling: Richard asks me if everything is OK, if it bothers me that I’m 38. I say, “It isn’t the fact that I’m now 38 that bothers me; it is the fact that all day I’d been walking around thinking I was a year younger than I really am. How did this happen?” I think back to my birthday last year -- was I going around saying I was 36 when I was really 37? While I remember it (stalking Robbie Williams on Old Bond St. with my friend Sean, party at my friend Kate's flat in London, lots of Pimm's, a birthday present involving a coffee cup with a photo of a guy at the beach who's shorts disappear when the mug gets hot) details are fuzzy as to what age was discussed.
  • #3. – This morning, at work: Talking to my mom on the phone, relaying the story of what an idiot I am because I’m not 37, I’m 38. We both laugh.
  • #4. – This morning, at work: My friend Phillip emails me, asking how my birthday went. I reply back saying it was fine, but in typical Will fashion, all day I thought I was 37 when in fact I didn’t realize until the evening that I was actually 38. He replies back with: “Are you smoking?? You were born in 1969 so that makes you 37. You’re 37, not 38.”
  • #5. – This morning, at work: I have a complete, though temporary, mental and existential breakdown. “How old am I, God?” I ask myself, “Seriously? How old am I? I ask you because apparently neither I, my brother nor my own mother know.” After some additional calculations it is determined that I am really, truly, seriously 37 years old. I am thinking about getting it tattooed to my palm.

How is it that a reasonably intelligent, successful person can walk around for approximately 13 hours not knowing how old he is?


CHW said...

You poor soul. Too much mental turmoil for just a couple of days :)

Wingman said...

What really concerns me is not the age confusion (I have to stop and count most of the time myself) but that between you, your brother, Richard and Kari, no one did the basic math of year you were born minus year it is. Alternatively counting up ('79, '89, '99, + 7 years). What the hell kinda math were you doing?

I am also a bit concerned that you were initially right but were then swayed by the opinion (and crazy math) of others. Stay strong Bwill! You know who you are!!!

Please call on your Wingman for future instances such as this. That is what me, and my calculator, are here for.

Oh, and Happy Birthday!!!

Cherry Ride said...

You have every reason to be concerned. This should show you just how fragile and brittle my mind has become over the last year. I will of course try to consult you in these types of situations moving forward.

Greggie said...

I have this same exact problem. The only reason I know I will be 38 this year is not because I know Im 37 but because I know im not 36. Does this make any sense? To you who seem/feel ageless like myself it probably does. My biggest fear these days is that I act/dress too young for my chronological age. I saw someone yesterday that had to be 40 and was dressed like that crazy guy from some UK tv show where they talked funny and kind of looked like that guy from some 80's band. He was wearing crazy red shoes and had crazy hair. It immediatley made me rethink the silver shoes i bought while in Venice last week and the crazy video game tshirts I wear. Do i need to start wearing banana republic all the time now? I was kind of considering my style unique. But now im worried I look like someone despratley trying to hold onto their youth.

KateR said...

I swear you were only 35 last year - but hey, the Pimms WERE strong :)

Sarah said...

hmmmm...not sure first comment worked..if not.

Humblest Apologies for oversighting the birthday. Please send yourself one of those endless free e-cards you have in lieu! xx

Karen said...

Don't feel so bad, Will. I've done this on several occasions (what, you gasp? How could a reasonable intelligent person do this, not once, but SEVERAL TIMES???). The answer is so simple, you won't believe it never occurred to you. You stated it best in the beginning of your post,

"I don't really think too often about how old I am. My age doesn't bother me; I don't obsess about it; and at any given time I'd have to stop and think about what my actual age is."

If you were actually obsessed with your age, growing old(er), etc. and not so secure with yourself, this never, ever would have happened.

Oh, and if you'd paid attention in 3rd grade.

But I digress. Happy (late) 37th or 38th birthday!