That table? I thought, feeling a smile cross my face. As we’d entered the restaurant, my family and I had been greeted by a server who had ushered us to the back. There, a long table, covered in simple white cloth, elegantly sat, set for our arrival. White napkins folded. Water glasses already poured. A reservation. A handful of times we have dined at “The Village,” but never have we been seated at this table; for this, the big table, hosted the larger parties of, say, twelve. This was the Event Table. And tonight we were The Event.
Moving around to the back of the beautiful Event Table, I watched as my wife helped my daughters select their seats. Behind us, our good friend and her son excitedly shuffled in out of the cold and joined us. Two more friends joined behind them.
“Happy Birthday!” one friend chirped, handing me a bottle-shaped gift adorned in sparkly foil wrap. I thanked her, so kind. “You know,” she began, “in Chinese numerology, the number four is bad luck.” A little confused, I mentally scrambled to catch up. I knew this line of conversation was going somewhere, but hadn’t yet grasped where. “In fact, people who are strong believers in Chinese numerology will not even consider purchasing a house if the number four is in the address. Not even if the house address is, say 13… because three plus one equals four. The number four is just bad luck. It’s bad.” Nodding, I leaned in. She was serious, and I really wanted to get this. But I still wasn’t there.
Smiling at me, my friend continued, “And so, you are leaving your forties. You are no longer going to be living in a decade with a constant four in your age. So…Happy fiftieth! Cheers!” All the adults lifted their glasses.
Ah, got it.
Reflecting, I thought: Wow, I’m sitting at the Event Table. And now this. Gazing at the menu through my new spectacles, I realized I may have a lot to look forward to this decade.