I’ve always liked the company of older people, and felt a little less at home with younger folks (who are more unpredictable in some ways).
Mum was talking about things from her childhood. She remembered buying dresses… they were taken ‘on approval’, and delivered in boxes and tissue paper. She kept missing trams and jumping on while they were on the move. The conductor would say “you’re not supposed to do that!”
I said I remembered double-decker buses with the door at the back with stairs — they had bus conductors with ticket machines. Mum said admiringly, “you’re quite old too!” and I said “thank you.”
I’m fascinated by any nuggets of wisdom older people decide to share… they are individual but have the ring of truth. Like from the rather worried old lady who said you know you can be perfect, but you must expect to make mistakes. Be kind to yourself. (I have a horrible habit of lying awake at night counting the very many mistakes I’ve made. Sometimes I think wistfully about Ally McBeal’s boss who said tactless things, then in the next breath he would mutter “bygones!”)
Liz Smith (elderly actress) had a lot to say that I was interested in. She said you can’t know why people react the way they do; it’s probably connected to things that happened to them. It’s rare to have true friends; people who know exactly who you are and what you’re about.
Liz wanted to talk with other passengers (while on her cruise) but couldn’t bring herself to make the first move — she was convinced they wouldn’t want her. I feel that more and more, even on the internet; I hesitate to comment, email or join in as much as I used to. I used to have an opinion on everything, but now I watch everybody else making mistakes and putting their foot in it, knowing that this time it isn’t me. More and more I decide it’s safer to pretend I’m not even here!
Perhaps it’s all part of getting older.
A friend and I were having a discussion recently — we were saying how we used to blithely do things that now make us curl up in horror and amazement. We were not mountaineers or explorers… but she used to ride rather nervy horses over jumps she wouldn’t even consider these days. Whereas I used to fill in those email letters that asked for your mother’s middle name!! Perhaps along with age we learn fear… but hopefully other, more positive things as well.
I wonder what pearls of wisdom might drop from my lips when I’m over 80 — everything I’m doing and thinking now takes me closer to those truths! It’s an interesting thought.
During the Blog Monsoon (see last post but one) I found a nice collection of ‘anxiety blogs’ but they’ve actually been pretty quiet. I’m careful not to read them with too much absorption anyway, as I’m terrified they will set me off again! “Don’t think about the hippopotamus.” I’ve been so much better recently that the other day I was whizzing along the street in a total strop about something else. That’s good news.
Jolly the Trolley is still in tow. Mum tried to get me to leave him in the car, but I wouldn’t. I’ve picked him up and carried him, though, which means I’m not really leaning on him. I’ve got fond of him and have started saying encouragingly “come along now” (much to the bemusement of a nearby three-year-old). I also call him ‘him’ without thinking.
Yesterday I said to Mum, “the reason his long handle is rather stiff and I can’t collapse it back down is that he’s got a metal stud down here that’s gone rusty. I better treat it with WD-40.”
Mum, peering intently, said, “mm. I suppose you better.”
When we were in town, feeding cats and buying overpriced ink cartridges, we were crossing the road and Jolly the Trolley got so anxious about the waiting cars that he collided with Mum’s ankles. When we reached the safety of the pavement, Mum spun round and threatened to give him a good smack if he did it again. We both took a step backward.
It surely isn’t just us, though… have a look at this photo of Jolly the Trolley. Do you see a large toothy grin?
You sheltered me from harm
Kept me warm, kept me warm
You gave my life to me
Set me free, set me free
The finest years I ever knew
Was all the years I had with you
If there’s someone you know
That won’t let you go
And taking it all for granted
You may lose them one day
Someone takes them away
And you don’t hear a word they say
(from Everything I Own sung by Ken Boothe)
Edit Feb 2008: Comments for this entry when it was on Blogigo:
1. Pete wrote at Sep 22, 2006 at 21:18:
nice to put a face to the name 😉
2. bluestone wrote at Sep 22, 2006 at 23:12:
ha! I do see that smile!
3. kateblogs wrote at Sep 23, 2006 at 17:48:
Yip a definite smile 🙂
4. Pacian wrote at Sep 23, 2006 at 18:01:
I also see a nose and a pair of sunglasses…
5. Diddums wrote at Sep 23, 2006 at 18:30:
I guess he needs the sunglasses because he’s looking up into the sun so much of the time.
6. Sacha, from IrkedMagazine.com wrote at Sep 25, 2006 at 15:58:
AHA! So THAT’S what Jolley the Trolley (J.Tro?) looks like! Handsome bugger, he is…!
I dig the way you write, Diddums.
Get in touch; come write an article for IrkedMagazine.com…
Once I watched something flat and uninteresting on TV about a well-known personality. I didn’t know that she suffered from various anxieties and phobias. Having experienced similar things myself, I wanted to know more. For her, it’s flying, travelling, crowds. Surprisingly little was said about all that – more was said about her stalker! I don’t think he should have been given the coverage, and she said she didn’t want to talk about him. I didn’t want to talk about him either – or listen to him talking!
My dissatisfaction with the programme got me surfing the internet and I found this: “Agoraphobia is known as the ‘mother of all phobias’.”
I didn’t know it was referred to as that – I don’t hear it often. The article warns against agoraphobics throwing themselves into some program that claims to cure phobias in minutes. Well good grief, I’m a complex person; I can’t be mended with superglue. Meanwhile it’s reassuring to know that others know what I already know.