Are there watersheds in our lives that determine what we do, how we think and how we look to others?
I was talking to an old friend yesterday and we got onto the ageing process. It seems to be a topic that just naturally occurs these days whilst we peg out our washing of our everyday lives in spite of the forecast for another day of rain.
The conversation started off with me telling him that some student’s aunty had described me as, “That old man.” I was shocked, especially when the aunty did not, in anyway, resemble a chicken that had seen the spring for a number of decades.
“It must be a man thing,” my wife asserted as I told her the tale.
The tale was:
My friend (now forever a dear, dear friend; even though he looks nothing like Bambi…well, maybe a little) said, “No way. You look young, in your forties”. I blushed and replied that I was now in radiator territory. He laughed as it had been he who introduced me to the term.
Radiator is some thing that never grabs one’s attention when one walks into a room. They just hang on the walls and go about making the temperature a little less Artic.
A radiator is not something that seizes the eye, grabs the imagination or fires up the inner demons. My friend reckons that he became a radiator as soon as he reached fifty. I think I was there a long time before him.
Anyway, his little trick, that he has been employing lately, has backfired. He has started working at a new place and has taken to throwing into conversations with students and other teachers that he is fifty-one years old.
“Sir, can I have a pen?”
“What colour? I am fifty-one years old.”
What he wants to happen is for those people to whom he is speaking to say, “You’re not, are you?”
Nobody does. Nobody sees beyond the thermostat attached to the side of his head.
“It must be a man thing,” my wife said.