Jings, I’m falling to bits. First I managed to break my ankle – by strolling around the streets of Edinburgh completely sober, as I recall – and now my eyes are packing in, my hearing seems to have gone nuts and my legs, well, let’s just say that no-one is going to call to get me in a tutu anytime soon.
I make strange noises now. My whole day is now a symphony of weird “oofts”, “aaahs” and occasionally “help ma boabs” as I potter about the house, and I seem to have taken up sighing with tremendous enthusiasm.
Whenever I sit down, I make a strange whistling sound I never made before and, worse, my knees jointly sound like firecrackers on both the ascent and descent. Bending down to get the washing in or out of the machine can trigger off a veritable aria of “crivvens” and “Jeezos”.
My memory must resemble a moth-eaten knotted hanky. I forget just about everything. Although to be fair, I tended to do that anyway. It’s a constant source of bemusement to my family that no trip has ever been complete without mum running up and downstairs to fetch coat, scarf, handbag, other shoe. Other child.
To put the tin hat on it, yesterday a young man asked me about buses to Princes Street, and I finished my detailed analysis of the transport choices available to him with the word “son”. Now, as a child in Glasgow, I frequently noted that women of a certain age referred to all lads under the age of 35 as “son”. It normally went with the wearing of a certain style of coat, which always had a collar made of what was known as velveteen. Amongst the dragon ladies of the Church of Scotland, vaguely suspect fur was preferred.
Well, I thought, I’m getting on. And you know what? It’s not as bad as my 25-year-old self thought it would be, despite the weird noises and the vague memory.
Being a mad old biddy has its compensations. Leave the house without full slap and hair do done? Why not? Who looks at the deranged old bat in the anorak anyway? Worried about that expanding waistline? Nope, pass the cake. Anxious about looking at that wrinkled face in the mirror? Drink gin and take your glasses off. Why, even George Clooney would come a-calling if he saw that vision of loveliness.
Knowing Jessica must be murder, I wrote
As far as I can see, the only problem about thundering into old age is that people seem to think you’ve become sensible.
Young folk ask all sorts of questions and expect dotty middle-aged women to know the answers, a policy that did go rather awry with a certain Margaret Thatcher. I have no idea how to cook a chicken, knit a jumper or make a cushion out of a T-shirt and tights.
Nor do I know who killed the Reverend in the library with the
candlestick, unlike tweed-sporting lady crime sleuths Miss Marple or that Jessica Fletcher, if she’s not banging out another one of her
Murder, She Wrote TV shows.
Just as an aside, just how many friends did that woman get through? Every time that particular angel of death landed on the doorstep, some old pal/random family member was for the off.
It doesn’t seem to have crossed anyone’s mind that she was the killer.
Can’t you tell I’m shocked?
No, I guess I’m quite happy to slide into old age, but the world won’t let us. Everywhere we look we’re getting badgered into getting our bits and wrinkles smoothed and sculpted, lifted and levered, nipped and tucked.
Now, I have to admit, I’m as much a sucker as the next gal for the empty promises on the back of the jars, potions and lotions peddled by the dream sellers, all of which promise to improve the appearance of my wrinkles, although it’s not actually my wrinkles’ appearance I want improved – it’s mine. We all know they don’t work, but they do smell nice.
No, the only thing that really works, I suppose, are those scary operations where they make your face look strangely shiny and they banish expressions – think Victoria Beckham meets Michael Jackson, which would mean that Hallowe’en is sorted, but the rest of the year has people backing away from you at high speed.
Not that your frozen fizzog will be able to look shocked at the rudeness.
Just stick with what you have
Actually, I have to own up here, I did once give myself a face-lift using gaffer tape and a handy Pritt Stick. It was pretty effective, I thought, until I wanted to breathe.
So just leave us in peace to enjoy rattling about in our dotage. Growing old doesn’t seem too bad when you look at the alternative – a visit from that Jessica Fletcher.