Good company June 21, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
As anyone in the right parts of the northern hemisphere might well have noticed, it’s summer. I’m not sure whether I can trust the calendar completely, but, all being fair, today is even the longest day of the year. Which meant I just had to go on a longish walk to gather my thoughts, suck in some rays, mull over the blissful visit of friends and see if I could come up with some blog-food.
The trouble was, in spite of the perfect weather, I was ill fitted out for such a walk. The walk was preceded by the rubbish going out, so I was laden down with carefully triaged waste. I ceremonially flipped open the bio-waste thing, tore open the plastic bag with non-eaten comestibles and went to do the what-should-have-been-an-easy-transaction thing of pouring the contents of the bag into the bin before then sorting the soiled bag into its proper container. But there was terrible splashback and I got splatted in bits of mushy old banana and tea leaf. Still, I daren’t have gone back upstairs as I might have switched the computer on again and not left the house till November. So I soldiered on and took the back streets so no-one would notice the soiling.
I am accused round these ‘ere parts of not sticking strictly to my own items in the wardrobe so, to avoid a sartorial moment, I decided to rummage around and find a horrible pair of shorts of my own, or at least ones that had been handed down to me personally. They have withstood the test of time and don’t create hilarity amongst passers-by, even if they were purchased very early this millennium. But the trouble is, the bastards are held up with that stringy, toggly type fastener that swimming trunks are. I yank the cord as tight as it will go and then adjust the plasticky thing that’s meant to hold them in place. But every time you breathe out, the thing loosens slightly and you’re at risk of losing them altogether, and I’m not even sure the underwear I’m wearing would be suitable for Berlin eyes. So, whilst trying to think, I had to keep my hands in my pockets and make a fist to stop me exposing myself, which wasn’t the worst drag in the world but was tricky when I needed to smoke which made me all a bit lop-sided.
Anyway, I thought about getting old and its side effects. No, not in a gloomy way. For I am a great believer in getting old. I am sure – although I am also sure that there must be a cut-off point where things really do go arse over tit, but anyway – that life gets better the older you get. I would much rather die – well, OK, sprain my ankle – than be 19. I admit, it’s tough becoming an object of spirallingly diminishing sexual interest as the years click by – although I still seem to be able to attract the attention of the odd man in his 70s, funnily enough – but I’ve now learnt to cope with the disappointment of realising that, just when I think a handsome beast is ogling me on the U-Bahn, he is in fact watching the TV at the end of the carriage. In any case, by a remarkable twist of fate, I’ve managed to bag a much-too-handsome-for-me young Russian, so I don’t EVEN have to bemoan the onset of unsexiness with any great degree of misery. (Not quite sure how I bagged him, actually. There was no bag, rope and surreptitious crossing of borders involved. He must have fallen for my charm, wit, staggering social skills and great wealth. Not.) (Mind you, this was 100 years ago. Even I was young then.)
Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, getting old. Which I’ve written about before, I’m sure. But I’ve noticed a new (and good) side effect. It’s the friend thang. I’ve just spent a weekend of pure bliss and ecstasy with one old pal and his wife. (No partner-swapping was involved.) (Sorry, I think the sun does this to your hormones.) And just before they arrived, I saw another group of old pals, some of whom I hadn’t seen for an age either. And, darlings, it was all bliss. Every damned second of it. Which shouldn’t necessarily have anything to do with age, I suppose. Maybe young folk even have friends. (Can anyone confirm?) But, somehow, these relationships all seem far more important as the years tick by. Perhaps there’s a selfish angle to all this. Maybe friends, especially old ones, are personified pins plotting hotspots on the map of your past. (I’m worried the next stage of ageing will be that I’ll start longing for Christmas and raucous family occasions.) It also helps, of course, if the old friends are fucking good company.
But as I settle back down today to domesticity – to translations, (late) tax declarations – OK, only one, but I need the … fuck, can’t remember. What is that? Assonance? – and applications, god do I feel bereft.