Monday, June 4, 2012

A Middle-age Malady

 It was obviously some dumb youngster who first said 'age is just a number'.
 Anyone with more than two brain cells knows that is nonsense.
 As you first edge towards, then reluctantly embrace middle-age, things happen. Bad things!...that creep up on you unnoticed, like the mould behind the basin that your wife nags you to sort out -- but I digress.
 Let me give you an example.
 Some parts of my memory are starting to fade. I can't remember how many times (see what I mean?) I find myself standing in a room in my home, wondering why the hell I went there in the first place. I know there is some reason but I can't remember what it is.
 My head starts to throb and often I have to sit down, as I rack my brain, trying to recall but, inevitably, it's a lost cause and I will be forced to retrace my steps in the hope something along the way will jog my memory.
 It could be that I am easily distracted, cursed with uncontrolable thoughts that flit from stimulus to stimulus. For example, I'll be standing empty-headed and bemused in the kitchen and decide I need to go back and start again but then I spot the kettle and decide I should make a cup of tea and a snack first.
 That is immediately followed by the idea that I should find and read the newspaper while I wait for the water to boil which sends me off to the lounge.
 An hour and thousands of jumbled thoughts later, Mrs White Ou, my dear, long-suffering wife of thirty-plus years, will come looking for me and ask: "Why is there no water in the kettle and a mug with only a teabag on the counter?"
 Of course I'll have absolutely no idea.
 She'll shake her head sadly, like a school teacher who knows the very best the slow kid at the back of the class can hope for, is to some day earn a living as a car-guard.
 In my defence I have at times found her alone, wild-eyed and confused, muttering: "What the hell am I doing here?" But perhaps she's questioning her life with me rather than grasping for a memory-trigger.
 If I can remember, I'll ask her.


 However, there are some compensations, as I age, my long-term memory seems to improve and I get many opportunities to bore people with it.
 A rare and simple pleasure in middle -- and I am sure old -- age is, absolutely every story you tell, need ever be simple or brief.
 Let's be honest, it is an intoxicating rush to see the growing fear and panic in victims' eyes as they realise there is no escape and you are going to make sure you prove there 'ain't nothing wrong with my memory'.
 It usually goes something like this:
 To keep the conversation going all I need to say is: "I too, once owned a Renault motorcar."
 That's it, seven words that say it all and it's all I would have said 20 years ago.
 But not now, oh no:
 "Yeah a Renault is a nice car. I had one too. It was back in 1975. I bought it with my army danger pay.
 "Jeesh can you believe all we got paid was 97c a day and R5.50 a day danger pay but I saved up and paid cash for the car...a white one with an engine in the back.
 "In those days, we more frugal and careful with our money. Not like people today where everything is bought on credit and no-one wants to save. Easy credit is the reason we're all in the situation we are today.
 "The banks are out to screw us. When I was a youngster, banking, and life in general, was much simpler. They used to hand out piggy banks to kids. I got a black one in 1969. The black ones were more stylish but they also had silver and gold.
 "I remember it was 1969 because my teacher was a Miss Thompson, although maybe I'm wrong...maybe it was 1968 and, come to think of it, it wasn't Miss Thompson, she was a teacher at high-school. She was the hot one that we guys all had a crush on. That reminds me of my first girlfriend...
 "Gee, we had some fun in my first car. It was a Renault. A white one, with the engine in the back..."

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Elaine- said...

hehe, my husband is 50, but never willing to admit he doesn't know, is wrong, or is babbling lol so i don't notice things like this :) fun post!

Hilton Hamann said...

Yeah, Elaine, that's one of the problems of that age -- we don't know that we're doing it.