Monday, December 14, 2009

Two Decades, Two Birthdays

I'm twenty now. This will take some getting used to.

It happened en route from Bangkok, on my way home to Utah, somewhere on the flight from Kuala Lumpur and Sydney. I took in the biggest skyline Down Under for the third time in three months, chilled for a few hours, then got on a plane to San Fransisco. The sunset from the window seat six miles up was gorgeous. It also happened in 2x fast-forward, since the plane was going east almost as fast as the earth's rotation at that tropical latitude. Just three hours later instead of the usual six, it was midnight, December 13. Then we crossed the international date line, and it became my birthday again.

(True-color Earth, courtesy of NASA.)

If I could somehow go back to that other hemisphere exactly a year from now, I'd troll the stewardesses with a ridiculous legal edge case: I'd try buying a beer four times on the plane. It wouldn't work the first time, because I'd still be twenty. Then, after midnight, I could celebrate being twenty-one. Crossing the date line the other way, the date would jump back, to Dec. 11, and I'd be underage again. Finally, by the time we landed in Sydney, my legal age would change a third time.

Not that it would matter, since the drinking age Australia is 18. Cheers!

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