Friday, 1 February 2013

All together now

I try not to think about the future very much.  I’ve got to be honest, I find it a little scary and it’s a fairly pointless thing to get depressed about because there’s nothing I can do about its imminent arrival.  Every now and then, though, I catch a glimpse of my mum when I look at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, and I realise that I really am quite old.  And getting older. 

One of the things that worries me slightly, if I let it, is the thought of spending any of my geriatric years in a care home.  It’s not the idea of a residential institution itself that bothers me the most, it’s the concept of being in the enforced company of others with whom I wouldn’t normally choose to spend any time.  Being permanently around people whose interests and attitudes are very different from mine I would struggle to just be myself.

Who might there be to chat to about obscure music?  About the youth cults of our formative years?  About similar comedy, books, art and films?  What if everybody else reads The Sun and wants to talk about Queen Kate’s latest dress and how they don’t like foreigners?  I don’t want to find myself swooning with incomparable delight because someone’s offered me a chocolate digestive (‘New recipe! Extra creamy chocolate!’), I want to be able to feel excited at something a little more edgy.   I don’t want to talk about the way the wallpaper matches the carpet oh so nicely, or how much Mrs Donnelly’s granddaughter’s new baby weighs.  I want to talk about how amazing spiders are, or what people thought about Bill Hicks, or why Never Mind The Bollocks still sounds good….

Which leads me to… what will the sing-songs and arthritic knees ups (knees-not-ups?) of our future be like?  There won’t be any "Pack up your troubles in your old kitbag”s or “My old man said follow the van”s any more, will there?  What will our generation be warbling away to in weary unison as an overworked assistant brings the tea and biscuits in before our afternoon nap?  Now that’s the bit that’s really getting to me. What if everyone wants to sing ‘The Lady In Red’ or ‘Wonderful Tonight’?  I don’t think I could take it.   So… do you reckon we could make a little deal, lovely readers?  If we all end up in a care home somewhere some day, can we make sure it’s the same one?

My favourite rendition of a favourite Smiths song.
I want to be like Doris.


  1. I'll sign up - slip some e in the tea urn (well, what will we have to worry about by then ?) and start a riot of our own in the residents lounge - then we march / wheel on Whitehall and see how the police manage to deal with angry old people...well, it's a thought ?
    It's either that or my range of Indignitas clinics where we can grow old disgracefully, if not for very long. Quadrophenia style mobility scooters off Beachy Head when it all gets too much...
    Anyway C, not to worry - some people never get old no matter how many years they've been around, I think you definitely fall in that category.

  2. While I agree that the thought of spending my declining years in the company of people I neither know or have anything in common with is almost too horrible to contemplate, having said all recipe extra creamy chocolate digestives do sound pretty bloody exciting to me!

    The retirement home for like-minded, geriatric bloggers is a great idea, where do I sign up?

  3. I'm there, so there. One of my short stories concerns two elderly ladies in a home who are outraged at being made to sing 'the bloody Beatles' by the staff - one of my own abiding nightmares. I won a prize for that one. It obviously struck a chord.

    I can remember having the same conversation with a couple of girlfriends on the N98 night bus home from a night out in the West End, circa 1981, and pledging even then that we would be the rowdy ones in the corner, insisting on 'Kick in the Eye' over 'Yellow bloody Submarine'. It's a pledge I intend to honour when I'm take to my chair at Dunrockin' Towers.

  4. There is a trend in my business of geographic expansion...first it was regional, now it's national...surely, by the time you geezers have been checked in, we'll be international.

    I'll be known as the man who brought Grits and Pickled Okra to Britain. Once a month I'll come by the home with samples of chicken wings (boneless, spice free, of course)and turkey sausage...steal a cup of coffee and crack jokes while y'all play bridge.

    Take heart C.

    I go into these places all the time and there is a certain kind of freedom to be found there. To be sure, these places can be grey and grim but, on the other hand, there are no expectations to for how one should behave. You can be as mad as an outhouse rat and people don't think twice about it. They feed you and keep you warm, got all the time in the world to scheme.

    You can wake up in the morning and decide that you, and not Kate, are the Queen of England, or Sheba...and nobody will bat an eye.

    Secondly, by then the technology will probably be such that, for all intents and nearly every purpose, you will be able to have whoever you like for company.

    I'm looking forward to being waiting on hand and foot.

  5. Having worked in various aspects of the residential care sector in the past, this is something I have thought hard about myself. The thought of having to spend all one's time with people you have not chosen to live with seems like a nightmare to me. To be honest, I find it hard to spend all my time with people I love or like, let alone anyone else. I sometimes get a vision of Jean-Paul Sartre placed in a home for the elderly: 'Yes, dear philosopher, Hell IS other let's play some bingo'.

    As for how we would entertain ourselves, please save me from 'Lady In Red'! Wouldn't it be bizarre if you had a group of older folks talking wistfully of the golden days of grime and dubstep? I suppose it'll happen. If all us blogging pals could end up in the same home, I'd sign up and get ready for a splendidly anarchic time; otherwise, I'd prefer to take my chances on my own.

  6. Great thought provoking post...I am afraid I have the same problem here in Spain I have not met anybody who is on the same wave length as me ao I do not have any friends. But I am quite happy in my own company anyway. Strange really, as Old Ma is the complete opposite of me loves her soaps, hates Dylan, but we are still together after more than 40 years. Maybe I am just lazy?

  7. I feel much better now! With people like you around maybe it won't be quite so bad?
    I'll definitely sign up for all of those, Bel Mondo. (And thank you for the compliment - it takes one to know one!)
    I'm now thinking forward to Dunrockin' Towers, listening to Kolley's short stories, singing Kick In The Eye, drinking e-spiked tea with an endless supply of extra creamy chocolate digestives to keep The Swede happy. Young e.f. will come over from the States to provide even more exciting foodstuffs and make us laugh with tales of Southern life in his irresistible accent - we'll relocate to Spain to catch the sunshine and chat to Old Pa about music. If it gets too hard on your own, please come and join the party Singing Bear. I promise no 'Lady In Red'...
    I'll be the mad old bat in the corner who wears too much make-up and keeps live spiders in a jam jar.
    Anyone else on a similar wavelength? - feel free to sign up here :-)

  8. I'd consider it an honor to be stuck with you in a long term nursing care facility.


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