“Happy birthday”? Well. . .

Last week, my boyfriend and I went out to dinner for my birthday. Someone at the table behind me was also celebrating — shortly after we sat down, the servers gathered around to bring cake and clap and sing. (Restaurant birthday protocol is a hell surely created by extroverts.)  I cringed, and when the song was over I whispered to David, “Don’t even think about it.”  
Of course he knows better; he gives me a hard time about it, but he’s never actually brought down the embarrassment of having the whole restaurant looking our way — never mind wearing the sombrero or riding the shark or whatever strange tradition the place dumps on people in exchange for cake and attention.  
With other people, though, it takes some doing. I’ve not told or not reminded people it was my birthday, I’ve carefully timed bathroom visits to avoid surprises, I’ve refused to go to a sit-down restaurant, skipped ordering alcoholic drinks, and even just said, “Hey, don’t say anything, okay?” I must be doing something right, because I don’t remember the last time I ended up with a crowd of people looming over me making noise. Having dinner and dessert unharassed? That’s a happy birthday.