Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Cost of Ageing.

A pretty girl smiled at me as she passed me in her car while I was out walking today. She had dark hair – maybe even black – and her car was red. The combination of being pretty, having dark hair, and driving a red car was… what should we call it? Compelling, I suppose. It turned my head, which is unusual for me these days.

Pretty girls were always my weakness, you know. It started when I was age 10 and had an innocent fling with Elaine Bailey who lived a few streets from me. She had a friend called Janice Turner who I also thought rather attractive. Elaine had dark hair; Janice was a frizzy blonde. One of my most abiding memories of childhood was going to Janice Turner’s birthday party and knocking a glass over. It’s my earliest recollection of feeling embarrassed to the point of being mortified. I’m sure I squirmed in my seat, and I have little doubt that my face was the colour of the car which passed me in the lane.

When a pretty girl smiles at me these days, I go straight into an inner dialogue:

No point in looking longingly after her, JJ old lad.


No. When a pretty girl smiles at you now it’s a smile of congratulation that you can still walk unaided and manage to carry you own shopping.

‘D’you think so?’

I know so. If you dropped something she would probably hurry to pick it up for you and ask whether you need any help carrying it to the car.


Besides, remember all that trouble you used to get into? All that stress you used to pile on yourself?

‘I do.’

And you wouldn’t want all that again, would you?

‘Erm… well… erm… Suppose not.’

Well there you have it. Content yourself with marvelling at moths and beaming at bats during the magical hour of twilight. And remember this: the older you become, the less you know; and the less you know, the less you judge; and the less you judge, the wiser you are. Isn’t that a worthy substitute for the approbation of pretty girls? Isn’t it worth something very much deeper and more meaningful?

‘Like what?’

Er… mmm… OK, let’s leave it there for now.

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