Saturday 29 June 2013


It seems to me I have already talked about life's full circles in the ways everyone's physicality reverts to baby and childhood.  Recently, I have noticed the most incredible full circle that is peculiar to my life and does not reflect ageing in general. When I first started work iit was with a firm of publishers who specialised in law books. I was engaged to make an index for a book in the pipeline. Currently, I find myself, something like sixty years later, going through the indices of the books in the Patients' Library at my local hospital. If you have been kind enough to keep up, I ask you to recall a post or so ago where I explained that  there were actual cardboard indices both to catalogue the books and to record those that are out on loan. No computers as we speak: they have been threatened for a couple of years but seem to have got lost in the world of One-of-These-Days. So there am I, dealing with  indices all over again. That's wierd enough but I have also been promoted to a second job where I staff an enquiry desk for half a day. My next job after the indexing was at London Airport. I was attached to what was then called Passenger Handling. You wouldn't get away with that, now. It would surely be Customer Services. Anyway, part of the specification was to direct passengers and help in whatever way was appropriate. We also checked them in, manually, of course, pulling the ticket from a slender book of varying usage. A couple of days ago I had the most extraordinary sense of deja vu as I pushed a lady in a wheel chair to a place where there was a little-known lift big enough to take it and its passenger,who was exhausted by waiting and frustrated at the difficulty to find a lift with enough room for her. I just about mangaged not to ask her her final destination and whether or not she had baggage for the hold.

A bit ago my attention was drawn to a poster advertising what seemed to me to read Pan Am Frolics. Now, those of you old enough may well remember the American airline of that name. I might as well come clean: that was the airline I worked for. On further enquiry, it turned out that the sign had actually said Pam Ann and the figure dressed as the Trolley Dolly was, in fact, a drag artiste. To my great sadness, I was not free to attend. Do you think I would have had the cheek to pipe up that present was a really, truly one? Somehow, I think that may not have been seemly in the elderly - not the admission of Trolly Dollydom but the piping up in public. Today, I had the pleasure of watching two more drag 'queens' who were taking part in the Gay Pride event in Trafalgar Square. I was on my own so there was nobody with whom to share what one might politely call the irony of my being there, bringing up the average age  by a considerable factor. Impolitely, one might call it lunacy as I wobbled on my stick seat waiting to be pushed over by the enthusiastic photo takers milling around me. But I bet I was the only one who had danced the jitterbug the first time around as I watched the present day infants jigging about beside the 'lady' on the stage to the period music of the Big Band behind them. Had I somewhere to lay down my stick and pose my handbag I'd have been jigging about myself: not on the stage, you'll be happy to know but around the Square or even in the middle of it. Now I come to think of it, I could have kept my handbag, slung across me over my shoulder and really looked the part as they ran me in. Be calm in your beds Dear Reader: I didn't. Nos da.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a truly wonderful blog, Liz! Yes, i, too, think there is a circularity rather than linearity in our lives, and your examples are not serendipitous. The pictures that come to mind of you jitterbugging in Trafalgar Square are magical - there is definitely a film in there. Looking forward to the next blog - keep 'em coming, Liz!