Sixty may be the new 50, but once you reach a certain age it seems the body has an in-built coping mechanism for a variety of afflictions that you don’t remember troubling you in the past. I’m being cautious here in case others suggest that an even bigger problem is the failing memory, which is why, when it works properly, the mechanism I refer to should protect you from such accusations.
Let me give you an example. You wake up after a rather pleasant evening with friends and your partner says: “How are you today?”. You don’t reply that you feel terrible, that, you have doubts that you will last the day or, that having reached a certain age you should perhaps go a little easier on the socialising.
No you smile broadly, and say you are absolutely fine; could not be better in fact, and then slope off to the garden shed to hide away until teatime.
Over the last few days my coping mechanism has been running at full speed. I’ve been wandering about the house, rifling through drawers, opening and shutting cupboards and repeatedly checking the pockets of my coats hanging in the hall. (Why do I have so many coats?). Asked what I’m looking for I reply with a nonchalance that I don’t actually feel: “Oh, nothing important, don’t worry.” At the same time my mechanism respectfully suggests that my searches should take place late at night when no one else is about.
You see the problem is I’ve lost my spare glasses and I need them for a forthcoming holiday. I don’t actually need them, I just want them in case I lose or break my normal spectacles, a thing that has never, ever happened in the past while I’ve been away, but, well, you never know do you?
It is as if my coping kit doesn’t want it known why I’m stalking around the house poking into every mouse-hole, fearing this would give others the chance to comment, probably unfavourably on my advancing years.
As I write I still haven’t found the missing specs, but as with every cloud there is a silver lining. I’ve discovered the pack of mini-luggage labels I’ve been trying to find for for ages (I need these to mark the dozens of spare keys we seem to have accumulated, but which languish anonymously in a very old tin). I have also uncovered in the search: the continental power plug adapter missing for over a year and already replaced (now we have two) and a small plastic bag containing Euro coinage, which as it turns out will also come in handy very shortly.
Other finds include a 1963 do-it-yourself Gardening Annual (that will make for interesting reading on a rainy day) and a Beatles EP “All my loving” – I hadn’t lost either of these, but simply forgotten they existed.
Oh, and at least four previously prescribed pairs of specs have turned up too – one of these appeared in a photograph I had taken in 1993 and it really does look as though I should have gone to…….