I smiled and said “Happy Birthday!”
“No but how old are you?” she repeated.
Most women, certainly including me, don’t like to reveal their age. We hope we look younger than we are (thanks to all those years of cream, care and cosmetics), and while we all know that men are considered good-looking at 70 women are looked upon as _____ (fill in the blank).
So I hesitated giving her an answer. But then I looked around and realized that I was in the middle of Korea and nobody knew me -- maybe I could reveal my age.
I did. “I am xx (real number here) years old.”
“Really!” she said. Then she looked at her husband sitting across the aisle at Gate 33G in the airport, and she said loudly, “Jake this woman is xx years old!”
Jake didn’t hear but a couple of passengers near us did. So then she yelled, more loudly, “Jake, this woman here is xx years old!!!” Jake looked up, as did the rest of all the passengers in the aisle.
“What is your secret to living more than 66 years?” she asked.
I had never thought about it but knew I had to answer her so quickly replied, “Staying thin.”
“What about balsamic vinegar? Do you eat it and is that good for you?”
“Balsamic vinegar is good,” I replied.
“Jake, she thinks balsamic vinegar is good.” And turning to me, she said, “What about rice?”
“Oh yes, but not too much.”
“Not too much rice, Jake,” she exclaimed.
“Do you eat meat and vegetables?”
By now everyone in the aisle was listening. She was smiling.
“Lots of vegetables.” And I suddenly decided I had to check with the counter to see if I could board early with all my carry-ons.
About 10 years ago I had another aging question. When my 6-year-old grandson came over after my dog, Sherlock, died, he said, “I am so sorry, Grandma, Sherlock was such a good dog and I liked him. How old was he in people years?”
“Well, he was 17 and one dog year equals seven people years, so I guess he was 119,” I told him.
Will looked up at me with wide eyes, thought a minute, and then asked me, “Gosh, that’s old. And his eyes got wider and he said, "But Grandma, who is older – Sherlock or you?”
I will forever remember that comment. I haven’t decided yet whether I will include him in my will.