Let me start, in deference to many friends, by establishing that this post is not a complaint merely a reflection. So lets get a fact out there first: I am old, I really am its a matter of fact. Now some people who have more years in than me will argue that I am not old but they are wrong, they are simply older than me which does not, in any way make me somehow not old.
My qualification for age is not merely some number rather it is the condition of the machine that I inhabit. You see some of us spend our lives using our brain and earning our living from what we know, for the rest of us it is a life of prostitution. I don’t mean the short term prostitution of the adult variety I mean the long slow sale of our body in return for wages.
When I laughed at ‘old boys’ with gloves, knee pads and all the gear needed to make an old body toil they knew what was coming but the same naivety that built the industrial revolution said I was right after all we are forever young right? So I was born with a reasonably functional body, I am neither the tallest or fastest I have a ‘workers’ body rather than an overly skilled one but it continues to serve me well.
If I was to tell a young man how old man me feels…. well firstly I know for a fact that I wouldn’t listen! But you know that there are days when simply walking is a struggle, as for lifting? give me a couple of hours. I type this with one wrist in spasm and unwilling to release its grip on nothing. These are nothing but minor inconveniences compared to the real trauma that people fight every day but they remind me that I am on the way out of, rather than the way into, this world.
Old age has not been kind to my gene pool and I am more conscious of that as every joint tightens in the inexorable grip of arthritis. But unlike previous versions I have made my position clear…… Ms Nature is not my friend but my enemy and I will fight her all of the way. I will fight her slow creeping theft of my resources just as I fought her determination to reclaim limbs when I smashed them up. See that smile, its mine and its real but more often than not it hides a multitude of pain that I like to think of as ‘background pain’, hey nobody is young forever.
One for the Engineers…. my optician has been trialling mono lenses such that one lens does long and one does short distance vision. Could I get on with them ? no, and I think a large part of that is that I knew what was happening and kept testing the idea. Now I tried varifocal lenses and they told me that they are much more complicated to adjust to, literally seconds and all good, never (or perhaps I mean ‘always’) challenge an Engineer…..
And lastly one for my old rail crowd….. I always said it, I always said stock would age us more than anything else so here is mine…. the amazing class 91. As an apprentice I worked on the Christmas tree….. I probably still have scars from brush boxes in red hot motors at BN. I returned to put the grandest of ladies through Donny at mid life and now they are piling out to the scrap yard. They join a list too long to share here but one that reminds me of my age, when I joined the railway only the newest of stock wasn’t slam door. when every project has a minimum 30 year life you can age quickly, watch out nipper its a breath away.