When I crawled out of bed and slouched into the kitchen on Saturday, my Dad (who is always the first one up in the house, therefore always up a long time before me) was grumbling over a census form which came in the mail last week. It had sections for every person which lives at the same address, so my information was needed too.
Dad had filled in my basics while he was doing his and Mom's. "Is this right?" he asked, pointing to my birthdate and current age. He had written 36. I frowned.
"I'm 37, not 36."
Dad frowned at it too. "Are you sure?"
I do have to admit straight off that I am terrible at numbers. I make silly logic errors all the time when I'm doing math, because number logic simply doesn't stay in my head. It refuses to stick to the walls of my skull. Just slides right out, like ... like fish, or bars of soap, or much better metaphors which I am failing to think of right now. Even so, I was pretty darn sure that I was a 37-year-old math idiot, not a 36-year-old one.
My dad, though, is not a math idiot. He pointed to my birthdate. "This one is right, isn't it?" It was. I was born in 1977, and have already passed my birthday this year. That makes 36, he said. I still didn't believe him. I know I'm 37! How can I not KNOW how old I am?
In the end I counted it out. I had to see it for myself, and I don't have enough fingers, so I fetched paper and wrote down "1977 = 0" at the top. Then in columns, "1978 = 1, 1979 = 2," and so on through each decade: 1987, 1997, 2007. I counted very carefully, one number for each year, right up to this very year, which is 2013. The number beside 2013 was 36. I'm 36 years old.
Thirty-six. My dad just gave me a whole year back. I'm only 36! I have so much more time now to do things! One year, 365 days, 8766 hours! I could walk across the country, write a really big book, see 30 dozen sunsets! With a whole year, who knows? Maybe I could even learn how to cope with simple math, or keep track of my own age!
(Don't hold your breath on those last bits, though. I'm not.)