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Good company June 21, 2006

Posted 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.



1. mtrkr - June 21, 2006

> friends, especially old ones, are personified pins plotting hotspots on the map of your past>

…true, true, especially when one does this globalised nomad sorta thang, at home nowhere in particular
must be the the long overcast day adding to wm fatigue

2. BiB - June 21, 2006

Hello mtrkr. Where have you managed to find a long, overcast day? Are you in the wrong hemisphere? (Or in the Czech Republic, perhaps, with a vowelless name like that?) Are you also a nomadic type? Yes, I hadn’t factored in the nomad angle. When you’ve moved, I suppose you only get to see special old types once in a blue moon, which adds to the intensity of it all.

3. daggi - June 21, 2006

I think that visits from old friends are usually wonderful as then they disappear for a (long) while again afterwards. Absence and heart and fonder and all that.

4. BiB - June 21, 2006

Indeed, indeed. The Russian and I always worry about guests beforehand. “What will they eat?” “Will they miss their mum?” etc. but, of course, it’s always fine. In fact, it’s always a lovely break. A holiday for us as well as them. Yes, absence and heart and fonder and all that. Works with friends, but not with relationships.

Hot, innit?

5. daggi - June 21, 2006

Does it not work with relationships too? Surely it does.

“Hot” and “decorating” = annoyance.

6. BiB - June 21, 2006

I thought that the second the two – call me traditional if you will – members of a couple stopped being in the same room as each other, they more or less instantly broke up. Is this not true?

Is this pre-handing-back-the-keys decorating? Bad luck. But your exile is only temporary, nicht wahr? Are you now in possession of a full driving licence?

7. daggi - June 21, 2006

No, it’s pre-sub-letting decorating. Not that I know yet if anyone will sublet the flat though…

And, continuing to be negative, no I haven’t got a driving licence. I might have to buy one in Russia. Not that I can afford it, mind you. All I’ve got is a piece of paper from the DVLC which lets me drive tractors in Britain. The vague plan was to take the test next week but, as I found out this morning there weren’t any appointments available anywhere in the city where you can actually pass (i.e. nowhere except for that corner of Prenzlauer Berg around the Gleimstr.). Did I want further lessons despite this before I leave? Funnily enough, no. I’ll have to attempt it at sometime in October, otherwise it would have just all been a great deal of money pissed up against a wall. Which it is anyway, but without the empty bladder to show for it. Only having an empty bank account isn’t much use.

8. BiB - June 21, 2006

Buying one in Russia will only set you back a quickly-formed friendship with a policeman, a nod and a wink, a slap on the back and then a suitable gift of some sort, preferably including chocolate and/or fake flowers. Oh, and the ticket to Russia, plus the visa fee, and then the fee for the night in the hotel and the visa registration fee. But I think that’s covered it. Oh, maybe an interpreter too so that you could take the test there. It’s getting complicated…

9. Wyndham - June 21, 2006

You’re right, I’m a far happier human-being at, er, 39 than I was in my teens, my 20s, and, come to think of it, my early 30s.

And most of my late 30s.

But anyway, I enjoy not dying of infernal embarassment three hundred times a day, and now I listen to music I enjoy listening to and not what’s cool, and I enjoy being sharp with people when they’re clearly more incompetent than I am – which is not often, to be fair – and rolling my eyes at some of the creatures of Camden who desperately think they’re making a statement when all they’re doing is making themselves look a right twat.

But I don’t watch Heartbeat, or read the Daily Mail, or vote Conservative. Not yet, anyway.

10. BiB - June 21, 2006

Wynders, you have uttered my thoughts exactly. I am much the oldest person I normally meet, and it’s fun meeting 20-somethings (occasionally) and admitting to them that I don’t give a fuck that I don’t know what an ipod is and that nor do I care what operating system my computer uses and, no, actually, I don’t know my fucking mobile number. And I still don’t know the difference between trance and jungle and house and aceed and whatever else youngsters listen to at their discotheques.

If we’re even politically outing ourselves, I have to confess to voting Green at the last Euro-elections, which was a bit 20-something of me, I suppose. But that was the only time I’ve faked it in… ooh, ages.

11. Bren - June 22, 2006

You have TV in the trains in Berlin? Cool

12. Wyndham - June 22, 2006

I must confess the same – I’ve voted Green the last couple of times in the local elections in order to give Tony and his cronies a light tickle. I couldn’t bear voting for anybody else and the Green lady candidate was rather fetching – an Old gent thing to do if ever there was one. I’m glad to see the days of dungarees and whooly hats has gone, at least in our neck of the woods.

13. chendaberry - June 22, 2006

Voting Green? Complete waste of time as far as I’m concerned. Since my family’s exile from the lovely country into the smog of the big city I am randomly (since I don’t live there) on the voting thingy of Kensington & Chelsea. I voted Green and had the pleasure of seeing smirking Mr Rifkind chatting up gushing sloane woman with alice band who turned out to be the Green candidate. Ho hum. That was really worth the postage then.

Wonder whether it’s worth becoming a German after all. Would certainly piss of my granny hehehe..

14. Bowleserised - June 22, 2006

Oh God! The Kensington and Chelsea Green party candidate. I’ve read about her before. Her take on green politics is a bit, selective. I seem to remember that the article was following her on the campaign trail and was hilarious.

15. BiB - June 22, 2006

Bren, well not TV in the sense of chat shows and the like. More ads and local information and the odd World Cup gag.

Chendaberry, I’m still tolerating just having a Euro-vote for now, especially as becoming a German means, if I’m not mistaken, having to give up British nationality. I can’t vote in the UK because I’ve never been able to find a UK citizen resident in Germany to sign my forms. Maybe I’ll beat a retreat to your door next time I get asked to put myself on the electoral register… in Brent, oddly, where no-one I know has lived for a good thousand years. Odd to be able to vote there when I do nothing for the country but send Lloyds Bank into paroxysms whenever I use their bank card.

Wynders, voting Green here is actually a fairly normal thing to do. Old Joschka was even Foreign Minister till the last election, but he had to retire from having put on so much weight on ministerial junkets.

B., what were her policies? Were they anything to do with horses at all?

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