...which is just one of the things that can happen as one matures - gets old if you like -which I don't like. And it starts with things like when people offer to help you.
"Here you are mate, let's give a hand with that" strangers ask and you wonder why are they are asking - it's only a box or a suitcase or something.
"No thanks, I can manage" you say, desperately hoisting the thing which is now heavier than you ever thought it would be, in fact it’s staggeringly heavy but suddenly you realise it’s imperative to your dignity you don't stagger.
There seem to be many, many more younger people about. And they smile at you and open doors for you and say "You first" and you say "Thanks" and wonder why they are ushering you ahead and being so polite when you are quite prepared to take your turn, as you do.
Bus drivers help me. Offer me their hand when I go on or off their buses. "Be careful" they say. Of what? Getting off a bus? I used to drive frigates and destroyers when I was - gulp - younger - double gulp – 50-odd years ago.
Shop assistants and bank tellers - especially bank tellers - are very nice. Nicer than normal. They lean over the counter, look me in the eyes; they speak slowly and pronounce each word carefully, looking at me closely to make sure I understand the transaction properly and I won't go home worried and might fret, as it seems I am now a non-threatening type of person. The ladies make flirty little jokes with me "You look nice today" they flutter away. "Expect you keep active and all that." Nudge nudge eh?
What on earth are they on about?
Tele-callers have gone funny. They used to ring me up and ask - ask? - they used to beg me to participate in all sorts of product surveys. Now it goes "Good evening, will you…" etc etc.
"Yes I will" I reply eagerly, just thankful someone - anyone - has phoned me and is actually interested in what I have to say (isn't it pathetic?).
"Good" they say, "thanks, this won't take too long."
"As long as you like - go ahead" says me.
"Your date of birth is..?" and I tell them and they go like,
"Thanks anyway - goodnight."
"Wait, wait" I cry, "come back!" But it’s no good, they have gone.
Revenge… refrigerators, computers, dishwashers:
"You should consider this more expensive model sir, a little more money but it will last a lifetime and we can sell you an extended warranty that covers you for many years to come."
"Look at me" I say, "look at me - I don't need your expensive warranted things do I?"
Revenge.. .cheap meals in restaurants, although one even has to be careful with this. Shortly after I retired while living in Carterton, we were taken out for a meal at Cobb & Co. in Masterton which was the place to be seen. Conservative as usual, we ordered the "Seniors' Special". It was a roast served on sandwich plates. They didn't actually cut small pieces of meat up for us and mash the potatoes together with the peas, and we didn't get a plastic fork and spoon and a glass of warm milk to go with it, but crimson with embarrassment, we had to make it last a long time - accompanied by the sounds of stifled giggling from our three grandchildren who had bigger meals than us. The brats.
Revenge. free - yes free - Fuller's Ferry to Waiheke Island. Gold Card it. On you go. All Fuller's ferries in Auckland are free. Go on. Look around. Almost everyone my age looks at each other with little smiles - this is our reward. This is payback time, this is free. If you haven't got a Gold Card pay, pay, pay, and here we all are together in the majority and it’s free.
So doctors are now a factor in my life. I used to go and see a doctor occasionally if I had a cold, an upset stomach or a cut or something. Now I need daily pills and creams and aspirin and check ups - and my head frozen because my skin is thin and if I cut it, it won't heal quickly so I have to have it frozen. I used to be so thick-skinned and brass-faced. But at least I don't have to get up on horrible wintry mornings, least I can stay up half the night and watch cricket, least I can jump in the car or airplane and go anywhere any time I want - and if I feel like it, drop what I'm doing and go and sit in the sun and read a really good book. I can do all these things and others because I'm worth it - even if I do have a frozen head.