What is it with old people today – isn’t it time they started acting their age?
For example, this morning at the Growers’ market, I meet 94-year-old Tom, off on a morning ramble. No walking stick, no cane, happy to stop and chat.
It was his birthday yesterday. During the conversation, he mentions the Power Board, those old dinosaurs of yesteryear, so I guess he’d worked there. His wife had passed on 12 years old, but he still has the companionship of two of his four sons, who visit regularly.
I didn’t poke a camera in his direction, for fear of starting a chase, but he looks sprightly and far from prunish, although the blue knit jersey is not about to win a fashion gong.
Pursuing my usual line of enquiry, it turns out he rarely eats meat. There you go.
A little later at the supermarket, the chap in front of me, who I take for early 40s, loads the conveyor belt with the old combination of beer and salad. Both food groups covered.
I ask if he’s donating it away to charity. No, not really.
It turns out it’s his 60th! Along with two other birthday boys, he’s filling a hall for the celebration. With a tinge of ginger in his hair, he tells me there’ll be bagpipes, among some other musical instruments, and I expect some singing.
Both of these ‘young’ chaps are in good health and spirits, and have a social network of sorts.
When I was younger, old people were – well – Old! They parked in a corner of a room, under a blanket, dribbled, and rarely moved or spoke. One either had to shout at them, or was not to raise one’s voice above a whisper lest they awake. And all the rest of the cliches, from frankly smelling dodgy, to crankiness.
It seems that nowadays, nobody tells them that. There’s no avoiding getting old, but no good reason to get decrepit either. And I’m pleased about that.