There are a few advantages to getting older. You might be one of the first to be released in a hostage situation for one. Your eyes probably can't get that much worse and you're not likely to be accused of spilling your mate's secrets because you'll probably forget them anyway. Also, you don't have to suffer that devastating red-cheeked blush of embarrassment whenever, well anything happens which involves people noticing the simple fact that you exist. These days I only go red when I talk politics or forgot the SPF50.
I can look back now with more humour and less mortification at one of my more momentous moments of discomfort as a teenager. On an early morning bus ride to college, I'd dozed off whilst listening to Fleetwood Mac on my Sony Walkman. As one does. For no apparent reason I half woke, customary dribble down my chin and shouted to the now rather packed bus, "Shall I put the kettle on?"
Finje is still too young to suffer such feelings of humiliation. She's four. The world is split into hilarious or tragic. Bodily function acoustics still fall under former, especially when executed in public. This is of little significance to me. I grew up with a big stinky brother and three stinky male cousins who used to hold gas-expulsion competitions whenever they collected in one place.
Our family is pretty down-to-earth.
My German in-laws however, bit of a different story. Even the word for fart is severely frowned upon in their home so I've never dared to fart whilst in their company. If I'm caught unawares, I usually throw the cat a look of barely concealed disgust and hope they fall for it.
Finje however, has no such restraint. On our last visit to her grandparents she displayed both an impressive lack of bashfulness and a noticeable improvement in her Denglish vocabulary.
We adults were enjoying a rather refined 4pm Kaffee & Kuchen or coffee and cake (one of the more enjoyable German traditions). Finje entered the room in fits of laughter. In the middle of her futile attempts to explain the reason for her merriment, she blew one off. It was a cracker too. As I endeavored to blame it on the leather sofa, Finje put paid to my feeble efforts by announcing, in between spasms of giggles,
"Oh I gefarted!"
One can only be thankful that my in-laws can speak no English whatsoever.