The centre is beginning to collapse. The other day I looked good. My Harrods tweed, a natty scarf, tangerine sweater, I was off to the theatre. I stopped for a coffee, I was a f laneur with time to spare. The theatre was good(Mrs Lowrie and Son) and then disaster struck.
Not once but twice on the way home on the tube young(er) men offered me their seat. For Michael and all his Saints, it was only yesterday that I was offering my seat to damsels and their mothers in distress. Now this. Is this some kind of gay overture. But one was Chinese! Do they do gay in the Forbidden City? Is that why it was Forbidden?
Am I so obviously so old. Is my irregular heart beat picked up by some kind of extra sensory antennae, does my prostrate cry out in dog whistle pain. Of course with a sneer of my full lips I declined their presumptuous puppy like gestures. Next time it happens I will give them the full de Niro. “You looking at me.”
I tried to put all that behind me as I went for my run/jog/waddle the next day. A clear crisp day. As I was entering the last mile I passed a wild looking middle aged woman complete with anorak and rucksack. Suddenly this lady is “running” beside me.
She says, “You inspired me, I was walking and when you passed me I thought I would run” So far so boring. It gets worse. Politely I say “Was it that I was running so slowly that inspired you.” My new best friend tossed her mad curls and looked at me”I used to run a lot but I have just spent six months in hospital”
Oh God this is not a morning jog ,this is an open ended therapy session. But I’m the only person with Jewish blood who thinks therapy is for girls. Nevetheless I’m still trying to show that I was privately educated(ie I have(some) manners but I hate women). “Oh I am sorry to hear that.” She continued “You are running well for someone your age”. She crossed the line.
She went on “ I used to love running, the freedom, the sensation of being really alive. Thankyou for bringing it back to me. “ Was she in hospital for a lobotomy? I see no scar but it may be under those curls.By now I realise that if this goes on I could have a stalker on my hands. Its the last thing I say,”You are running well but I am too puffed too talk”.
She doesn’t get it. “I have lived here for ten years and I find the people aren’t very friendly”. I don’t reply.” Do you live near here”.Oh my God I came out without a condom. I say nothing. She does the Arab thing and runs two paces behind. When I turn for home she cries “have a nice day”.
The falconer has lost his bird and me my mind.