The big Two-One
At midnight on October 19, 2006, I turned 21 and went to Buffalo Wild Wings. I ran up to the bar, ordered a beer, awaiting the moment where I could finally show my ID, without a thumb over my date of birth.
The bartender set my bottle down. “That’ll be a buck fifty.”
A classic moment that never was. Thanks a lot. Asshole.
My 25th birthday was my third, and as of this writing, last birthday in China. I spent the day playing Starcraft 2.
The previous birthday (24), we went out to Papa John’s. It is to be expected that Papa John’s in Wuhan, China, is somewhat different than Papa John’s in, say, Jackson TN. Truth is, it’s different from every Tennessee Papa John’s I’ve ever been to. Gone is the standing room only front room where you pick up your order and the bored woman manning the register asks if you want something to drink with your order.
The place is a real restaurant. Hostesses greet you at the door. They have beer and wine, as well as different sorts of ice cream and what highclass restaurant in China would be complete without exhorbinantly-priced coffee in small sizes? They got it. Say what you want about the coffee selection, when you’ve been living on Nescafe Instant Coffee, this shit is gourmet.
So how’s the pizza? Not good, compared to what I have here in the States. They say Old School down by Wuhan University is the real place to go for pizza. I wouldn’t know — the night I went, their oven was broke. I had chicken alfredo.
Birthday 23 was my first birthday in China. We went to KTV. It was one of those 100 RMB an hour KTVs. Before I went, I had all sorts of ideas about what KTV would be like. I had the weird idea that it might be fun, or at least, remotely comfortable.
It was neither.
I’m a terrible singer, and according to some of the girls there, I did not sing passionately enough. It’s hard to feel passionate about Yesterday Once More. If you don’t already hate that song, trust me, after a few KTV trips, you will. And the trip wasn’t even special for me; when we got there, people were already there, and more showed up after we left. I paid 300 RMB, and I even had to leave some money for the others who showed up later.
I went to two of my brother-in-law’s birthdays. Both began at Jiulong with plenty of cigarettes and booze, and shifted over to a KTV with plenty of cigarettes and booze. Yeah, I know, it’s KTV, but hey, at least they keep things consistent.
Birthday 26 was celebrated here in the States with a cake and pizza. I’m inching closer to thirty. People in my life have told me that after thirty it’s all downhill. That’s complete bullshit.
And besides, if sixty is the new forty, then what does that make thirty?