It's as easy to wake me up as it was to put Rasputin to sleep. They first poked me with a broom, collapsed the mosquito net on my face, flashed a bright light at my closed eye and then hit me with a bicycle speedometer. I eventually woke up when a copy of E.O.Wilson's The Future Of Life fell on my head. When I eventually stumbled back to half consciousness I saw five frustrated faces staring at me from outside my window. Five of my favorite faces in the world! I always insist that it is pretty silly to make a big deal out of your birthday but I confess I enjoyed the attention. I was handed over the other gifts that hadn't been used as missiles; The Blind Watchmaker, Reading Lolita in Tehran and a bottle of Merlot, which we finished in the half hour that followed. There was also a cake that had a lot of hidden cultural references.
The 31st birthday wasn't as confronting as the last one. No big milestone in the decimal system. No crossing over the hill. No underachiever angst. No deeply penetrating cheapshots about my age. Just raising a toast and moving on.