17

October

Horlicks

Saturday October 17, 2020


When do we start to feel old, and when do we start to think others are over-the-hill?
 
We recall people from the past, who seemed old to us then. Now it’s chastening to realise they were maybe 40ish. I described someone as “a really nice lad” the other day. I have known him since his teens, but he must be 50 by now.
 
I used to read to a lady who was in her late 90’s. Her daughter, mid 70’s and son-in-law in his 80’s had been to stay. I arrived to find her very agitated. They had failed to phone to let her know they had got back home safely.  I said maybe they had just got a bit distracted. She nodded “You’re probably right, young people can be very thoughtless.”
 
This same lady was besotted with a toy-boy in his late 80’s. They met at a weekly club, and often had coffee afterwards. She invited him to a family party, and was delighted when he accepted. The day before he rang, backing out. The reason he gave was that it was all going a bit too fast for him, he would like to see how things worked out between them.I wonder, did he feel there was still time to play the field a bit before settling down?
 
I don’t know how to be my age. I don’t fit the stereotype. I don’t consciously try to deny the passing of time, but I feel I am much the same person as I always was. Obviously,I have learned my lessons the hard way, some maturing was much-needed. Of course, my aching  body reminds me every day that I am knocking on a bit. However, I don’t shock easily. I swear quite a lot at home and among certain friends, Sunday nights don’t find me watching Antiques Roadshow, more likely Breaking Bad (again). I read Private Eye, Viz, fashion magazines, not People’s Friend.
 
I don’t want more bobbies on the beat, just better ones. I don’t think my life is more precious than that of a younger adult. I don’t phone the BBC to complain about nudity or rude words.I must admit though that I am bored to death with the obligatory soft-porn sex scenes that are put into every drama. I find myself thinking “Can’t we just skip this bit and get back to the storyline.” Then again, that’s how I felt about actually having sex, once the hormones fizzled out.
 
Two young men were very disappointed last year by my jaded, seen-it-all-before attitude. Walking through some shortcuts that lead to the town, they jumped out from behind a garage, and invited me to inspect their penises.I duly gave my expert opinion, and walked off, leaving them looking somewhat sheepish. I don’t recall my exact words, but unflattering comparisons were made with my male Chihuahua/Jack Russell. Much younger women had walked though ahead of me, but probably not, in their eyes, such good victims. And no, I did not report them to the police.
 
When I had an accident in 2014, I was puzzled when the medics said “You will walk again, you are fit and young”. I thought they were having a laugh, until I got onto the ward. Apart from a young rugger player who broke his hip in a flying tackle, I was the only one under 90. One day the nurse said to the very weak lady next to me “I’ll get you a nice cup of Horlicks”. That did it. People who had never moved, faces turned to the wall, suddenly sprang into life.”Nurse, why can’t I have some Horlicks?”  I tell you, that stuff’s like crack cocaine on some of the wards .
 
When she was in the psychiatric hospital, my mother used to get given daily glasses of Guinness, Sanatogen tonic wine, and Horlicks. This regime had to be continued at home. I was the “taster” as she thought ground-up glass was being put in her food. The Guinness and wine went down a treat, but I hated Horlicks. I have therefore decided that when I start to ask for a cup of Horlicks instead of strong coffee or red wine, I will give way to Anno Domini.
 
When, if ever, do you think old age begins?   
 
Val
A Moodscope member.

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