Pipe and slippers December 10, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Darlings, I wasn’t designed for being young. I was born to be old. I think there are at least several types that fit into this category. And it doesn’t just apply to personality (though that’s the sense I’m applying it to me). No, I know many a type who was born to be young on the physical front and others who were born to be old. Now Prince William, zum Beispiel, was born to be young. Awfully handsome up to a certain age and now getting less so by the minute. Which couldn’t matter less, of course. But, for the sake of keeping it in the family, Hazza provides a not bad example of someone who was born to be old. Not that, aged 20 or whatever it is, he could really be called ancient, but it’s clear that he is a late bloomer. Ugly as hell as a youngster, but blossoming into a fine figure of a man.
Which is all to say I was born to be old. No, not à la Prince Hazza, as it turns out. I was just born to be 70. And I’m livid I’m not it already. 70.
Yesterday, in what was meant to be, to the best of my knowledge, a recreational activity, the Russian and I went shopping. For “fun”. I couldn’t refuse as it was to buy the Russian his birthday present, but my heart did sink just a tiny bit further as it was announced we would be going up West. Mind you, travelling by S-Bahn (fast, overground trains, for the uninitiated. Like the RER in Paris. If London gets its Crossrail, I think it’ll be he same. NOT to be compared to anything with Silverlink in its name) is just about my favourite thing ever, because the trains are sort of squidgy and luxurious and have announcements and screens and, if your route is right, take you right past the Reichstag and through the new central station (which looks identical to suburban Potsdam’s station, to my inexpert eye) and other exciting locations. Plus taking public transport in Berlin is also awfully reassuring if you think you have a drinking problem. Before 6, people were dolled up and slaughtered. I felt monastic and abstemious in comparison, and pouted with an indignation I have learnt only since immigrating to this fine land. I thought of engaging my old-lady neighbour in a pouting competition, actually, but thought better of it as the Russian and I had been speaking Russian and she would have thought it was a prelude to a crime.
So we arrived at Zoo and I wondered how I could make this bout of fun as brief as possible. Normally this involves leaping on the first item we see and me suggesting with unprecedented vigour that it is JUST what the Russian needs. I thought of offering to buy him the Gedächtniskirche. The last time we did this, he ended up with an old man’s suit. I would try to be patient on this occasion.
And Zoo and its environs were, I suppose, as close as I could ‘hope’ to get to the near-Christmas Oxford St. shopping experience. Masses of people, gushing with excitement, zigzagging hither and thither. I struggled to negotiate every centimetre of the way as I carefully made sure not to bump into this person or get entwined in that group, whereas I would see the Russian disappearing off into the distance as he steamrollered ahead in a straight line between points A and B as perfect as a Roman road.
The first shop we hit on was reassuringly expensive. I don’t have a penny, of course, but I DO have a credit card with a freshly increased limit and was not afraid to use it. But, darlings, how can people BEAR to shop? Places were as brightly lit as an operating table. The plywood walls pulsated with hellish, ghastly music. The aisles were more heaving and boiling than the nefarious parts of certain homosexual establishments. (The only moment of relief was when we stumbled into a shop for 70-year-olds like me, with deliciously wide aisles – presumably for people to manoeuvre their Zimmer frames and motorised wheelchairs around with greater ease – and hardly a customer in sight. Nothing you’d want to buy, of course, but that didn’t matter.) And perfect-looking, over-made-up children approached to offer their assistance. My eyes settled on a coat which, by some deus ex machina, suited the Russian in every sense possible: style, look, price.
I’ve never diversified my debt portfolio with such speed or willingness.