It’s the fourteenth of August again – the day Japan ended the Second World War and my birthday, although they didn’t occur in the same year. I came along nine years after the war. No, party this year though for me. I’m not keen on them, but my wife has insisted on having one for the last ten years; this year I’m getting my own way and we’re just going out for a meal. I think she has been hoping that I would grow to enjoy my birthday parties, but it looks like she is finally conceding defeat.
I’ll say this for her though, she has tried harder than anyone since my mother to make my birthday celebrations enjoyable, but I just don’t like being the centre of attention. I enjoy other people’s birthday parties, just not my own. And it’s not because it marks my rapid passage through time, I don’t like receiving presents either.
She can’t understand that and never will.
So, here I am, sitting alone in the shop I go to every day drinking a beer and writing to you, my absent friend. Neem will pick me up in three hours to go for our meal in a nearby village and in the meantime, I will do what I do every year, albeit a bit later than usual, walk around all the shops in the village (all six of them) and have a drink in each one until Neem’s ready for me.
A nice surprise just happened: my daughter came to keep me company on my pub crawl around the village. She doesn’t drink, but that doesn’t matter. It will be the first time we’ve ever done anything like this together and she’s going back to uni in Bangkok tomorrow.
That is over too now, and I was slightly worried that she might find the walk boring, but when I thanked her for her company, she said that she would like to do it more often. I hope so too, it was my best birthday present for decades.
Thanks to everyone who helped to make my birthday special, including the eighty or ninety people who emailed me a happy birthday – that was probably ten times more than I have ever received before 🙂
All the best,
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