Yesterday, I went into a pub and ordered a drink. No, it’s not the beginning of a joke. It’s the beginning of this post. And I suck at jokes.
Almost a week has passed since I became eighteen – and finally legal to order my own drinks at the bar. As my birthday fell on a Monday, a dreaded schoolday, apparently, I had a meal but did no more, though a friend had already organised our going out Saturday evening.
So, in effect, it was yesterday that I turned eighteen. I suppose I confused people by wearing a golden sash suggesting that my birthday was actually the Saturday. Not that it actually said so.
But I could argue that the sense of maturity came then, not whilst at school, doing what I have always done for the last billion Mondays.
The first drink I ordered legally was a Sidecar – cognac, liqueur and lemon juice. Yummy! – coincidently, the first thing that caught my eye on the menu. This is also exciting, as the Sidecar is the drink that Donna orders at the beginning of the Unicorn and the Wasp Doctor Who episode (in case you’re wondering: The Doctor orders a lime soda). I am also partial to the gin sour version of the drink, called a Chelsea Sidecar amongst other names. The Paris Ritz claims to have been the first to serve the drink, but there are many variations on the story (this was the 20s, so little evidence has kept). My favourite story is that the Sidecar is named after the sidecar vehicle that the American Army captain who created the drink used to travel about in.
Anyway, I could say that made a difference to my birthday – well, compared to the other numbers.
People always ask: “has anything changed?” or they go ahead and suppose that it has. In Psychology, we were revising patterns of sleep for a question that might ask use about age-related changes in sleep. Thus, in the midst of many boxes were two: ‘aged 12-16’ (adolescence) and ‘aged 18-30’ (young adult – I realise how ironic this is for the writer in me, who screams “but YA is the previous age group, and 18-30 category is New Adult. NEW!” I just nodded and carried on). My teacher, being the charming woman she is, asked me if my jumping boxes had changed anything. I replied no. Really, nothing has changed, not even in that. I’m just as sleepy as I was the day before.
Of course, as we went on to discuss, how someone sleeps is not defined by their age alone.
Neither is how someone may behave. I think that’s the biggest reason that being eighteen makes very little difference for me. It simply makes it easier to spend time with my friends without being in a place made claustrophobic by its familiarity.
It’s ironic, really; a year ago, I clung to familiarity. I suppose this change comes from the fact that I have stopped relying on my school. The place has changed so much more in the last year than it ever did in six; I face an alien home every weekday. But I am subjective – and the world has changed as I have, too. As I said, age is behaviour, not a number.
Being honest, I don’t expect change, though. The biggest changes come for me in the summer when I move to university. I think it will be then when I realise that I have become an adult. But I don’t mind. For now, I’ll use my age as authority!