Some of you quick witted readers will have noticed that I’m not a spring chicken any longer. If you hadn’t, then me using the term “spring chicken” should give it away. I’m not as old as I thought I was though. For the first three months of this year I was convinced I was a year older than I am. I put it down to the lockdown; some of you may think it’s just another indication of my slow decline.
I first became old at the age of 26 when I started youth work. Young people viewed me as decrepit even though I was only a decade older than some of them. Oddly, I don’t think I’ve aged in their eyes since, I’m just old, and when I tell them I was Yoda’s babysitter they believe me.
I don’t feel old, apart from the odd twinge, and I sometimes wonder who the guy in the mirror is and who did that to him (it was the Church, by the way, but, again, that’s for another post). I think it’s other people who decide how old you are and whether you’re welcome or not. In most contexts, I’m invisible to those in their 20s, and I’m treated with suspicion by my peers because I haven’t given in to stretchy pants. Yet.
Of course, there are savage reminders.
We ordered a takeaway. We like takeaways; they’re bad for us but oh so good. We often order so much that the restaurants give us, not the usual two, but four fortune cookies. I’m convinced they think we’re a very large family. We’re not. There are two of us.
Any way, the delivery guy showed up, panting under the weight of our dinner, and I duly gave him money (that’s how it works). It was more than the cost of the meal.
“keep the change”.
And he said,
Pops. Didn’t see that coming.
I never imagined that anyone would call me that. Not ever. So it really tickled me and I started laughing and he went on his way probably thinking “poor old guy, he’s completely lost it.” I told my lovely wife. She was particularly delighted (did I say she was lovely?).
So, I guess, I’m officially old. But it doesn’t matter because I don’t measure my years against a life time, I measure them against eternity, and a promise of much, much more.
And the takeaway was delicious.