Covert Birthday

Well I slipped into the ambiguous puddle that is turning 26 with sneaky aplomb. Dad phoned me and told me I wasn’t a young man anymore, which was a real boost. My teaching assistants got me a cake (they do massive sickly cakes here, with no sponge or substance, entirely made up of cream and icing) and my crazy Chinese mate Gaea got me a Chinese military fur hat, perfect timing considering yesterday was 36 degrees. In fact she turned up to present my gift on her new scooter, which she promptly drove into some tram lines thus wedging herself just as the lights changed and she was surrounded by honking traffic – it was much better than the gift. Actually, when I find myself in Nepal on the backside of a windswept glacier I might take that statement back, it’s an unbelievably warm hat.

I also got to name my first kid, who turned up to school rather naively, without an English moniker. “Will you name him?” Begged his mother, clutching vainly to trust and reason. “I shall.” I nodded sagely. So I called him Anakin. As in Anakin Skywalker. From Star Wars. Now Aussie Ben and I consume countless minutes of valuable class-time yelling bad Star Wars quotes at him (they’re bad as they’re from the bad new ones). “Anakin don’t do it I have the higher ground!” “You were supposed to bring balance to the force not bring it into darkness!”

etc. As my dad said, I’m not a young man anymore.

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