It’s true what they say, the days are long but the years are short. Today is my birthday. I’m 44 but I don’t look a day over 57. I’m usually pretty into the Day of Me. I expect a lot of fanfare and serving. I demand special meals and cakes and cookies. Balloon animals and confetti, maybe even a small parade. But this year it snuck up on me. I completely forgot about it. I sometimes know what day of the week it is, but I never know the actual date.

This is the second birthday I’ve celebrated in France so I’d say it calls for something really special. I know many of you delight in the rock star life I live over here and today I’m really ramping things up. At 10:30 this morning I shall treat myself to the crème de la crème of birthday pleasures — détartrage, more commonly known as descaling. Yes, who wouldn’t want to spend their birthday getting their teeth ground clean by a French dentist?

I’m telling you, it’s a goddamn mardi gras 24/7 here. Of course the one of us who speaks French made this appointment. I was incisor deep into book edits and responding with rude grunts and a raised hand anytime he asked me something, so I can’t really complain about the day he chose. All I can say is that there better be some big ass chocolate something or other to follow the most spectacular meal he’s ever made. And there better be a very chilled bottle of Meursault to wash it all down and undo that poor dentist’s work.

Actually going to the dentist in France is a blessing in disguise. It’s the one place in town where I’m not expected to be understood. What odds I say. I shall hoist my wineglass and shout, “Here’s to me!” One more year above ground. A little older but a lot wiser. A brilliant sidekick, a blook waiting in the wings and an incredibly uncertain future. The old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be. I’ll drink to that.