Last night, I received a spontaneous message from a friend inviting me to drinks. Eager to meet more people, I said yes. We went to El Chato, an old bar with a homey atmosphere. We drank at the stand-up bar outside, as it was completely full inside. Even though it was only 8 Celsius, I didn't mind because I had my winter coat and boots. It was great speaking Spanish with the guys. I'm sure they were pronouncing very carefully for me, which I appreciated because the Jaén accent and talking speed are difficult to understand. An hour later some auxiliaries arrived, and the waiter granted us a table.
As we ate, one of the auxiliaries asked what I did before I moved to Spain to teach. Hardly anyone in our program was a teacher before coming here, and not many continue teaching once they leave. I stated, very proudly, “I was a video editor. I worked at a t.v. news station for thirteen years.”
She stared. “Did you say 'thirteen'? How old are you?”
“WHAT?!?” She then proceeded to translate for the French auxiliary what I'd said.
The French girl was confused. “Vingt-six?”
“No,” her friend answered, “TRENTE-six!”
“Dude! My roomate's 20. You could be his mom!”
Everytime this happens, it makes me laugh but I also feel a bit embarassed. I asked everyone else's ages, and it turned out that I was the oldest at the table. The girls were flipping out, saying I looked ten years younger. It's cool that I could get away with wearing short skirts and wild hair colors (if I wanted to), but one disadvantage is that once people find out my age, it tends to change the atmosphere. People stare at me, flabbergasted.
In my circle of close friends, there are those in their twenties, and older ones who are 40, 45, 50...I get along well with all of them, although with the youngins, I'm usually the one to go home earliest, as in midnight or 1 a.m. I think what matters in forming friendships is not the age, but the attitude you carry.