I can't recall if I've told you this before, but Singaporean taxi drivers have always had a penchant for guessing my age, and being very bad at it. When I was fiften they'd peg me for thiry-something and married. "Do you have any children?"
As I grew older, it seemed to go the other way. A woman at church once told me, "It's so nice to see the youth invovled in church work."
I stopped. "How old do you think I am?"
I was twenty at the time.
One taxi driver looked at me closely and nodded confidentially, as if we shared some secret. "I think you're older than you look. You have a baby face."
Twice in two days has this come to haunt me. In Sigtuna, mother and I ducked into a small museum to have a look about. The woman at the desk, as she was typing out our tickets, motioned at me. "How old are you? You do look to be about..."
She makes one of those kindly oh-that's-too-bad-faces. "I thought you might be younger than nineteen. The price would have been different."
And finally, on our way back up to Umeå, mother, father, and I stopped at a restaurant serving delicious meatballs and smashed potatoes. A row of one-armed bandits stood in the hallway on our way out, and mother said the "spirit of gambling" flew into her, and she put one krona into one of the slot machines. I helped her figure out what button to press when I see the cashier standing behind us, waving at me. "You can't play."
"But I'm not playing," I point at mother. "She is."
"Well, you can't stand that close to the machines."
"Please back away from the machine."
Mother is confused. "But she's twenty-four."
Granted the age limit is twenty-three for slot machines, but the woman must have thought I was a great deal younger than that. She raises her eyebrows. "Oh, I'm sorry. You don't look it. Do you have any ID?"
"In the car." Suddenly I feel six-years-old and very silly. "My mom can verify."
You May Also Like
Tyler Creasman is an American boy who, like me, has lived most of his life in Singapore, but unlike me, has picked up Singlish (Singap...
My friend Alicia and I went to high tea at the Raffles Hotel, which is very exclusive and very lovely. We dressed for the occasion, of cou...
Emil Nyström is a friend of mine, a talented musician (he plays in the band Zonaria) and he is an excellent photographer to boot. I have d...