29. The night of your 21st birthday
Paul: Oh, yeah. There were fireworks and a huge street party. Everyone was celebrating. We had a barbeque during the day, so we ate leftover sausages all night. There were hundreds of people dancing with me.… What?
Andrew: **looking unimpressed** You were born on Australia Day. There are fireworks on your birthday every year. Everyone was celebrating Australia Day, not your birthday.
Paul: Yeah, okay. So it was pretty much like every birthday I have. I never have a birthday party because everyone has plans, so I think I probably went to the pub and then on to a club as usual.
Andrew: **taking Paul’s hand** We’ll have a birthday party for you next year, okay? I’ll specify that no one is allowed to come in any patriot clothing. And we’ll have sushi or something really unAustralian, okay?
Paul: **smiles** Okay. So what about you? What was your 21st?
Andrew: If I’m correct, it was mid-week, so I had to work the following day. Mum made a chocolate cake and we had it after dinner, then we carried on as usual. We had a party that weekend. I remember it, because my grandmother arrived with this big present wrapped in green paper that had the number twenty-one all over it. Grandma’s hobby was knitting, and I wondered if I would get a dorky jumper, but it turned out to be a very nice suit for work. I was in my first year of the corporate world, and appreciated professional clothes because I was struggling to buy good quality stuff on my new but tiny salary.