Age. Recently events have got me thinking about it. Mortality does this occasionally. Has a little snap at one's ankles to remind one to stop watching telly and live life.
The willow tree in my Nan's back garden fell down last month. It's been there all my life. It has, I suppose, in a sense always been synonymous with my Nan, who, in a darkly poetic way then proceeded to fall over herself. And break her wrist. She's ninety in October.
I also found a wrinkle the other day. Woe is me! I had resolutely sneered at trowelfaced make-up caked, dead-eyed, Madonna-Cher botox types right up until that bitter second. The sunlight streamed through the morning window pane and glinted off that hideous crag connecting my nose to the corner of my mouth which conspired to my horror, on closer inspection, not to be one of those odd sheet imprints you get inexplicably sometimes, but to be a wrinkle. I've always had a rubber arm where opinions are concerned, and moments later was investigating the whereabouts of my nearest Botox dispensary.
I texted the sister-in-law who, as the daughter of two doctors, is always rather pragmatic about such issues. Heavily pregnant and about to pop a sprog the size of a shetland pony by the looks of things, she is also clearly feeling even more cynical about the body than usual:
She: 'Botox darling, that's what it's for'
She: 'Wrinkles are no reason for unhappiness. They are the tell tale signs of the fact we need to start looking around for increased income to fund chemicals and surgicals to combat them. Whether that income comes in the form of an enhanced career or a lucrative relationship is of course the choice you have. Both routes are strenuous and unrewarding in themselves, but hey, these are the sacrifices we are more than happy to undergo. In the meantime I find drugs and booze are excellent preservatives. And anyway, there's nothing in the world a decent plastic surgeon cannot fix.'
Me: 'So speaketh the wise sister and slag mother. Here endeth the lesson. And it was good.'
Hmmmmmmn. A lucrative relationship. Well SbH is even harder up than I am, and while his snowboarding skills are not to be reckoned with, nobody's gonna pay him to hurl himself off a 10 foot kicker into a snow drift. Well not enough money to fund my burgeoning lust for chemical skin peels on top of his gadget and kit-for-every-manly-eventuality fetish anyway.
And since we're on the subject of SbH....another somewhat chilling age-related revelation...SbH, is but (and I shit thee not with this one) 3 years older than The Ex's nephew. Who is 19.
Now I remember this young nephew, about five years ago, when he was a nipper only the height of my shoulder and able to converse in quite limited terms - mainly focussing on cars. He also wore a cassock and sang in his school choir.
SbH still talks about school sometimes, because school is actually only four years ago for him. It's eight years ago for me.
SbH doesn't remember Blockbusters. You know. With Bob Holness.
Or the A Team.
Or Andy Peters and Ed the Duck.
He is too young.
This fills me with a sense of doom, occasionally. Perhaps he'll trade me in for a younger model ahead of schedule.
The irony is, I used to dote on older men and eschew those any less than ten years my senior. Was a full on wrinkle-worshipper. Clint Eastwood rocked my world (well, Clint Eastwood circa 1970) 'Yeuch' I'd say when some hapless friend of mine happened along with a clueless looking chap of her own age. 'Can't stand young men. They've no idea what they want...or what to do with their cocks.'
Well I stand corrected. On both counts.
I was told recently by G (who lived next door to SbH and Skater Boy's hovel in the ski resort), that she could pinpoint the exact moment I took a shine to SbH.
'There were a group of us including you and he, sitting outside the bar having a smoke,' she said. 'It may have been snowing. I don't remember exactly. And he was regailing us all with some story about some adventure he'd had. And you narrowed your eyes and looked at him across the table, and said ...."You've done an awful lot for one so young, haven't you?" Of course he was completley clueless and carried on yabbering away none the wiser. But I thought.....oooooh. I think she likes him.'
Hurrah for female intuition and the observation skills of wiley Miss G. It seems quite a few people knew we were going to shag like rabbits before even we did.
Hmn. Never had myself down as a cradle snatcher though. Clearly busted by Wiley Miss G.
Oh well, you're only as old as the man that you feel.