Getting old

Marketing by Mo Fanning

chairI fear I might be getting old. I’ve had someone offer me their seat on a bus and got over it. I’ve been cornered by an old person and spoken to like an equal – “Not like in our day, eh?”. It took much red wine and sugar therapy, but I got over that too. What I’m struggling with is this week’s discovery of a white eyebrow hair. An inch long one.

I suppose I’ve known of the existence of such alien hairs for some time. The salt and pepper thing I get when I’m too idle to shave for three days is, I have decreed, distinguished. In my darkest moment, they cause me to wince. It’s like when a cash point asks you if you’d like an on-screen balance. Now and then you get caught up in needing to ‘keep it real’ and hit yes.  You know it won’t be pretty and is absolutely not what you want to see, but into every life a little rain must fall. Just as the money always runs out, time marches on.

Of course, I’ve tried denial, but that path only leads to inappropriate clothing and skateboarding. Brighton already has its fair share of people getting old enough to know better. I’m very firmly of the belief that when the first pubic hair appears, a sentient being has an obligation to leave behind small wheels. This means opening up eBay and selling off your roller skates, roller blades, skateboards and trainers with wheels in the heel. All must be cast aside.

Getting old and dressing right

I’ve tried rolling with it, but again the clothing options strike fear into my heart. I’m not ready to mince round in anything that needs minimal ironing. I don’t want my trousers to come up to my nipples and cravats (like bow ties) belong on kiddy-fiddlers.

The only option is to join forces with millions of other former baby-boomers now faced with evidence of our mortality. Getting old is the time for a life of nights in with a bottle of decent wine (i.e. it cost more than a fiver). Self-flagellating gym membership. I must henceforth use my limited funds to buy the sort of ‘statement pieces’ that appear in interiors magazines. Now is the time to develop an unhealthy interest in door furniture.

It’s that or gardening and given the Fannings have little more than a shared courtyard (and I know the word courtyard makes three square metres of cracked flagstones sound grand), this isn’t an option. Our ‘garden’ is built around a Butler sink, planted with home-grown mint and a zinc bucket overflowing with spring flowers. It’s that or a new pair of drainpipe trousers and a graphic print t-shirt.

On the home front

On the home front, the Fannings are trying to ‘do it ourselves’ – by which I mean Mr Fanning has bought a chisel drill to fix the damp problems in our entrance hall – officially known as The Vault. We’ve done our research, so much so that when we finally lured a builder into talking us through what needs to be done, he treated us like equals. With Mr Fanning chucking in words like Vandex and Air Brick, we were soon all sucking air over our teeth and muttering about how listed buildings are tricky. He was the one who told us to invest in power tools and this is where his advice ends. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of Project Dry Vault in coming weeks.

I’m finally digging myself out of a plot hole with my next novel. It all went a bit flat and I started to wonder if one of my main characters might just be coming across as dull, or miserable, or both. And I need her to matter to the reader. I’d already decided she has a past and my intention was to keep this hidden for a while longer. Instead, I’ve let it tumble out at the worst possible moment and the life is back in her. So whilst I remain convinced that tight planning is good, sometimes you need to tinker.

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