Sunday, 15 November 2015

What's More

The "Does He Take Sugar?" phenomenon I put to you in the last post actually has several other faces.  One that features most often in my life could be called "Ignorant, Naughty Schoolgirl".  This occurs when I am seen to have made a mistake, indeed, often have made a mistake. The perpetrator then fixes me with a look which conveys both disgust and impatience - or even patience - and manages to correct me while making me feel a hopeless, inconsiderate waste of space: a naughty Schoolgirl' sensation; all this in a voice of compassionate understanding which feels infantilising in itself

I know, I know: I must take responsibility for my own reactions and I do, but I still don't like the way it makes me feel. One of the concomitant fall-outs is that I lose the capacity to justify myself or point out that I am factually right on the occasions when I am. Perhaps this highlights another potential hazard of older age: confidence, while increased in terms of sticking to a difficult truth, diminishes in terms of perceived tests of friendship and relatedness. In fact, the whole 'naughty schoolgirl' thing tends to depend on ones own particular fault line. Mine seems to be a concern that I may be seen as not-wantable. Yours may be, for instance, that you think only of yourself,  or that the world owes you whatever. At the forty end of my spectrum there was time to 'cure' the fault  that was irritating the other: time for another chance. Now, at this ancient end, the twig may fall off the tree before there has been any opportunity for reparation. How to reconcile that with the elderly  tendency to be direct and imperious is a conundrum I find disheartening and insoluble. Quite often my dodgy steps are to do with an unfamiliarity with the electronic world.  I have been to extraordinary lengths to track down over days information or an object. The Guru taps out a few digits on his phone and has the answer in seconds. To be fair, he  doesn't subject me to 'the look' when I do something stupid and/or old-fashioned.   I did risk buying cat food on the Internet - does it take a capital 'i'? - and was landed with a bag so big there is no cupboard to take it and I doubt my three and a half-year-old cat will have life enough to eat it all even if I have life enough  to serve it.

Someone who was staying with me once accused the cat of being evil and opportunistic. (I think he had used a hand-basin as a facility). "He's a cat" I protested. Me, I'm an old lady, evil and opportunistic as well I might.  Prynhawn da

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Spare Parts

Centuries - well, decades - ago a lady helped in my family's business. She liked to be really busy and whenever she found herself idle would say "Oh dear, I feel like a spare part." Recently I had an experience which came under the same heading but with a different content. Planning a brief break with A.N. Other, the suggestion was made that I should acquire a suitcase whose dimensions fitted the 'hand luggage' requirements of the relevant airline so that we would not waste too much of our mini-break waiting for luggage from the hold.

We duly went together to a specialist luggage shop. The Other explained what we wanted to the assistant who approached us. Without hesitation he addressed himself to the Other in terms of " What do you think will suit her best? How much is she prepared to spend?" and other queries destined to clarify what would be the right purchase for the senile, deaf, dumb and non-English speaker hovering over him. His concerns were answered and a case produced that cost a month's mortgage installment. Accepting the parsimony of the Other he produced some more reasonably priced.  Without once looking at me he showed his compassion, saying "This one is light enough for her. I recommend one with four wheels. She can ask for help to lift it in to the locker" and so forth and so fifth. With some difficulty we managed not to catch one another's eye and so avoided the discourtesy of laughing in his face. Finally, a case was chosen, at which point I asked him what his best price for it would be. Imagine his astonishment. Not only was I alive and well and in his shop but I had the gall to bargain with him. £6 was knocked off the asking price and we and the case rolled out of the shop free to laugh at last. That was fun. It is not so funny when I am an invisible spare part to people rushing past me not giving a d..n that I wobble and could easily fall over. It seems elderly women inevitably  move from eyelash fluttering through stick waving to invisibilty. I have green-inked about this before. Which brings me to another observation you may find relevant: the elderly, forgetting to whom they have told what, inevitably repeat themselves. Blog-browsing backwards I see that I am as guilty of that as the next dotty old age pensioner. Be patient with me, I beg you. However, I have to say there is merit in some spare parts: implanted contact lenses,  hearing aids, anti-pain patches and a third leg. No Zimmer frame as yet  Bore da