Something funny happened last week. I dashed off a message wishing a friend many happy returns of the day. What’s funny about wishing a friend on their birthday, you wonder. Nothing per se, unless of course it isn’t their birthday at all.
On getting my message my friend thanked me and said that his birthday was on the first of February. Reading his reply, I wanted to bop him one on his head. What did he mean ‘on the first of February’? Of course I knew his birthday was on the first of February. Wasn’t that why I was wishing him anyway? Kind man that he is, he helpfully added, ‘My birthday is not until next week.’
Eh? What, what, WHAT? Next week? Like in NEXT WEEK? How could that be, I had happened to glance at the lower right side of the screen when I opened my laptop and had seen it clearly mentioned that it was the first of February. Omg, where and when did January go, I had wondered and jumping up had grabbed my phone to dash off the wishes.
Disconcerted, I scrambled to unscramble the crossed wires in my head, for crossed they were if they thought February was here when it was still January, by going to the source of the confusion. I looked at the date displayed on the lower right of the screen of the laptop. It said (in US style) 01/28/21. Seeing it I blinked. Once, twice, thrice, then a few more times, hoping it would clear and reveal the date for what I believed it to be. Nothing changed. How had I read 01/28/21 as 01/02/21 (Indian style)? The differing styles was easy to forgive, but reading 28 as 02, not so much. If only I had noticed the 28, this wouldn’t have happened. I grit my teeth and laid the blame squarely on my astigmatism.
Having found someone to blame, I went back to my friend. You know what, I told him, I did wonder when or how January had slipped away without my being aware of it. I am glad it is still around. It IS unsettling when months slip away without bidding you a proper farewell. Also when they arrive without proper announcement, as I had assumed February had done, especially when you are committed to ramble and find yourself unprepared. Not that I am any better prepared now that I know February is well and truly here. But that’s the whole point of this month, take the plunge, write down your thoughts as they come. Stream of consciousness stuff.
As for the birthday boy, he assured me that he any day liked being wished twice rather than once. In that case, why not a third, eh? So here goes:
Happy Birthday, Friend! 🙂
© Shail Mohan 2021
I too find this American style of writing the date confusing for it is not immediately obvious what the date is e.g. 2/3/21: is this the second day of March or the third day of February? This might be obvious now, but when you look at the date in December .. where were we? Some things are best NOT changed! As for your friend, it is better to be remembered early than not at all 🙂
You are so right! I feel date/month/year is the ideal way to go about it.
Trust me Shail, you are not the only one and happens to me so many times. I read the Indian calendar year out of habit and guess something never changes for us. Quite a funny incident and I’ve been wished days earlier and a week later.
You too, eh? 🙂
Yeah, sometimes I do the late-wishing too 😉
It happened to me hehe and I do wish late for missing the date! Once forgot the birthday of a close friend and can you imagine how she fired me! Now I write on my phone calendar to be safe 🤣
I blame the Americans for all the confusion. Have to blame somebody!
Haha, yes. What were they thinking, putting the month before the date 😉
It still confuses me. They dont follow the Metric system either. It gets pretty hilarious when I call family in India and complain-“its cold today, its just 30 degrees” and gently get corrected “You mean its Hot.”
Recently in a conversation with American friends I happened to mention it was quite warm at 33 degrees. After a pause my friend came back with, ‘Oh you follow the centigrade system!’ Haha.