My Birthday Is Tomorrow

As is customary for probably most companies to announce the advent of birthdays in the workplace, ours are posted by the employee mailboxes, which are located near the switchboard, which is located near the employee entrance. The president of the company throws in really cute quips with each birthday. I wonder how he does it. It must be tiring having to be witty with employees’ names day after day, and year after year according to each’s tenure with the company. Though I don’t remember what he said about me before, this year, since my initials are E.T., his adorable joke invoked a sort of grade school nostalgia. You know, “Phone home.” I’m the extraterrestrial. I admit, I could’ve had it a lot worse in terms of “childhood trauma induced by name-tweaking.” The worst I’ve gotten was, “That’s my grandma’s name,” or, “You’re a mole*star.” The clever one always thinks he’s the first to throw it out there. Sometimes, I like to oblige him with an overtly sincere, “You’re the first one to think of that, congratulations!” (If you can’t tell, my humor has gotten slightly more sophisticated sarcastic since grade school.) Today, though, after their jolly birthday wish, I’ve had 2 or 3 coworkers guess which birthday I was having, undercutting the correct number by an average of 3 or 4 years. This is all great, don’t get me wrong. When I get carded after ordering a drink? Very fine and dandy. It’s par for the Asian American course, really, because it seems as though our DNA codes specify we look like little children the first half of our lives. Somehow, though, in the back of my mind, I’m preparing mentally for the time servers stop asking me for my I.D. I don’t think that’s too bad of a mark to not-dread-too-much, considering that starting tomorrow, I’ve been legally drinking for 8 years. Now that’s a long time. I was in existence for about that long before I learned my first naughty word. Thankfully, by that time I had already performed “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano with two hands in front of 50 people at Age 5. (That’s also a rite of passage for the average Asian American.) *Phew* So you know, I’ve been getting these accomplishment milestones right.

  • Performed Bach Violin Double Concerto with Milwaukee Symphony at Age 12: check. (Also an Asian American rite of passage, as if you didn’t know.)
  • Drivers’ license at Age 16: check.
  • First “job” at Age 17: check.
  • Entered Uni at Age 18: check.
  • First car at Age 22: check.
  • First full-time job at Age 23: check.

And supposedly, that mid- quarter-life crisis hits somewhere in between then and now. I think the list continues somewhat like this:

  • Get married before you’re a) 26, or b) 30.
  • Have children before you’re a) 30, or b) 35.

I’m thinking they’ve not happened, though. That is, the fulfillment of the remainder of that list nor the crisis. And … I don’t really think I want it to happen, so I’m just going to not let it. I’m too busy for a crisis, anyway. Maybe if I had some spare time, I could pin all my hopes and dreams on Mr. Right. I could tally up everything that’s “supposed” to happen by now, put them all on a mental list and rush into the next best thing because some random culture in this world, in which I happen to have been raised and groomed, dictates so. The guy version of the “numbers game,” as I’ve been made aware, means to hit on as many chicks as you can so that you increase your chances of coming away with one. Just one. The girl version of the “numbers game” means to necessarily get married before you’re 30 or your chances of being “selected” by one viable husband goes way down. This is so you can make babies before you’re too old to make one that’s healthy, and you can raise the child before being old enough to be its grandparent. And then I’m thinking that perhaps my life is too important to be thrown into the statistics pool. That maybe, if I believe he is out there and we’re “meant” to be together (who said I wasn’t romantic?), we can outweigh the statistics enough to defy them while realizing we’re too insignificant to make a blip in them. So yeah. This “30” number. It’s a year away, now. I’m fine with that. Because that’s all it is - just a number.