[Please refer to “Jeremy Doesn’t Want to be 44” before reading this one.]
Disclaimer: This blog is based on rough plans that haven’t happened yet. We are just using our imaginations here. But, we really are planning to go wine tasting in Ojai!
Thank God I wasn’t born on Feb 29… or else I’d be 11 instead of 44.
Things go well at the wine tasting in Ojai. Everyone meets someone pleasant and begins to feel that there are new possibilities in life. The wine is good. Sylvia says she’ll meet up with us back in L.A….where we are going to the Korean restaurant The Prince for dinner. Will she really come to L.A.? Does she like me that much?
Aline, Jen, Shelly and I arrive at The Prince. There seemed to be several birthday parties taking place in the room.
The guy at the table next to us is an acupuncturist…he’s having an acupuncture birthday cake that looks like an arm with tall thin silver candles like acupuncture needles…long skinny needles…
There is another party having a cake in the shape of Korea. They are cutting the cake. One person is saying “I want Pusan…” His sister is saying “I want North Korea…I want to eat them…” Another guy says, “I’m a Seoul brother… I’m from Seoul…Give me the piece that has Seoul in it!”
The menu is fantastic. They have their signature dish, deep-fried Korean chicken…and also sweet potato fries…deep-fried seaweed…and several types of Korean pancakes (large and thick, like egg foo young) with seafood, meat, or vegetables. Aline and I order dishes of raw meat we can grill… and a lot of root vegetables… Jen orders Korean pork belly wrapped in a leaf with other vegetables. It makes sort of a little taco. Shelly waits to try samples they bring to the table. I order a special plate with a little bit of everything. After all, it’s my birthday.
My friend Myung comes in with two people I have never seen before. “How are you? What are you doing here?” Myung introduces me to his sister Chae and his friend Gun-woo.
“Would you like to join us? It’s my birthday. I didn’t know you’d be in town. Come join us,” I offer.
“Sure! My friend Gun-woo is a software developer who just moved here. He will stay with us for a while. Are you still looking for help with your website?”
“A developer! Gun-woo, I am looking for a developer!” We talk shop for a few minutes. They have brought a baduk board with them, and we play. Gun-woo hears Aline say that I am 44…and smiles: “I’m also 44!” The evening is going well already. Chae hits it off with Jen and Aline and Shelly. They all talk about me while I am playing baduk with the guys.
After that, a birthday cake shaped like a giant notary stamp arrives…leaking dark chocolate black ink. “I want the part that says notary public,” I say. “I want the handle,” Shelly says. Everyone claims a special piece. It’s served on plates with Jurat wording “Subscribed and sworn before me…”
“Save some for Sylvia, I say optimistically. Everyone looks at each other doubtfully. Just then, Sylvia opens the door and walks into the room. The girls are all surprised she made it. I am too happy for words.
“I had a hard time with my GPS but once it got used to L.A., The Prince was easy to find,” she says, smiling. I am so happy. Sylvia looks lovely. “What are we having?” she asks. “Well, you could have the Korean tacos… Dahkgogee. Dahk is chicken. In Korean, the word for chicken is pronounced Dahk. But, what is the word for Duck — Chicken? Probably not! Or you can have bulgogee…which is meat. Beef or pork.” She orders some quick tacos and has some of the notary cake I saved for her. She just smiles at me.
I count the number of people in the room (a habit of mine)…and it is 44. I look at the bill for the glass of soju and it is $6.44… everywhere is 44…
Myung says, “You should have gone soju tasting instead of wine tasting…” We laugh. Gun-woo likes Aline and is talking to her non-stop.
“We have a surprise for you,” says Jen. Jen and Aline are smiling impishly. Suddenly, someone is behind me– and my face is forced down into a pie on the table… Everyone is laughing. They take pictures. I grab a few napkins as they are laughing hysterically. I finish cleaning up in the rest room…
“Let’s go dancing… ” I say. Sylvia looks right at me, right into me, as if she has known me all her life. Jen and Aline say, “You haven’t been dancing for years!” They are surprised but happy.
Sylvia and Gun-woo are 44 too, and they are the coolest people I can think of. Maybe being 44 is not so bad. In fact, you know what? I have decided that I like being 44. I want to be 44 forever!>