I'm obsessed with a new song, Vincent Delerm's "Les filles de 1973 on trente ans," in which the singer waxes nostalgic about the girls of his generation, his adolescent friends and crushes who have just turned 30. The melody is catchy and wistful, and every time I listen to it, all the little hairs on my skin stand up in recognition.
Celles qui ont fait des exposés
sur l'Apartheid et sur le Che
Celles qui ont envoyé du riz
en Somalie, en Ethiopie
Celle qui ont dit, "tu comprends pas."
("The ones who wrote essays/on Apartheid and on Che/The ones who sent rice/to Ethiopia and Somalia/The ones who said, 'you don't understand'")
There's something you don't expect about turning 30 -- the realization that everyone you grew up with is doing it, even the ones you haven't seen in years. Jofka Foreman, Gabby Leventhal, Katie McCaffery, Joy Kaplan, Cindy Vitiello, Emily Wilk. David Hand, John Sifton, Max Koltuv, Nicholas Callahan, Jeremy Hoffeld, Noah Shelansky. Are they all noticing the same faint lines around their eyes and lips? Do they have spouses? Mutual funds? Children? Can they explain in one sentence what they do for a living?
Emily B.'s birthday is next week. Shana's was in February and I forgot to send her a card. I'll include one with a gift for the baby, due next month. Kate H., who was always the first to do everything, would have turned 30 last December if her birthdays hadn't stopped in '94.
The most moving thing about the song is how quickly it dates itself. By the time the album, Kensington Square, was released a few weeks ago, the girls of 1973 were already turning 31.
And now it's our turn.