HOW TO BE OLD

When I was a boy the surest way to predict that someone was a shithouse driver was if they had white hair and a hat.

That’s now me.

I got a hat with a brim for my birthday back in May. I love it. I already had the white hair. Now I’m that silver fox in a silver Skoda, drifting from lane to lane lost on the wispy memories of my youth, unaware of the traffic. LANE ASSIST or DON’T CRASH INTO THAT! warnings on the dashboard of my new car can’t renew me.

My great niece once explained, sitting in a green garden in England: ‘First you get white hair, and then you die.’ It was sage advice from an eight year old.

The dying bit is coming so the living bit should now be amplified. By now I know that it’s a miracle, this life. The breathing in and breathing out. I wasn’t so cognisant of that when I was young, but I am now. Youth is wasted…, etc.

Robinson and I are doing a good version of getting old, I reckon. We exercise and then soothe our bodies with wine, aware that we’re not going to last forever. We’re alert and amazed by things, always. A transient shadow on a red wall. A moment noticed in course of our centuries. A bedroom in Geelong. A tent in Austria. The midnight sun in Nordkapp. A stone cottage in a paddock in Tasmania. A bee on our lavender.

We volunteer now for various things. Baby Boomer bastards. We donate because we can afford to, and we care about this planet that we’re leaving behind.

In the sunroom we push the couches back and dance, often and loud. Robinson, especially, is good at this but no-one can dance badly. It’s a thing. If you’re dancing you’re that little bit more actively alive. Just do it.

Today we bought two new couches. They’re not here yet but already we’ve rearranged our rooms and guessed our new perspectives. Skins were shed on the wooden floors. We’re shiny and new yet again.

Robinson is astonishing to shop with. In a warehouse of one hundred couches she resat on two; chose one. She’s done that before, when we bought new floorboards for our upstairs room. She knows.

I’m sure we all agree that shopping is shithouse and tedious, like old drivers, but Robinson gives it a jolt and a thrill. Here’s to you, Gorgy Robinson.

Later this week we’re booked into a pub lunch in Balmain for our 33rd wedding anniversary. We’ll get the bus. We might go for a nude swim off the ferry wharf, after, depending on the weather. It’s been warm lately.

Do it while you’re alive.

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