I have always thought that knowing how old you are is an important part of who you are. Your age lets you know what kinds of things you should be doing, and what is expected of you by wider society. My birthday has always been an unshakeable fact, as it is for most people I know.
Istanbul is for the most part a very clean city. So clean that the only litter on the streets are cigarette stubs. So naturally, on my first night bar-hopping with some friends, when we had settled in to waiting for our cocktails, smoke in the bar wasn’t a big deal. There weren’t that many people in the bar, so maybe we could have evil-eyed the smoker in our midst and gotten him to stop.