There is a leading article in today's Times 2 which I find deeply offensive. I thought of writing to them but decided it wasn't worth it - that is what these journalists hope you will do, so I shall not give Deborah Ross the satisfaction of knowing that she has offended me.
The subject is old age and I am sure it is written tongue-in- cheek (particularly as the article 'so who is Reem anyway?) written alongside it and also by her, suggests she is heading that way herself. (she looks on the top side of forty in her photograph).
Alright, so I am willing to accept that my sense of humour is pretty poor when it refers to old age, but I still think the article is beyond the pale. It was in response to Esther Rantzen's recent setting up of 'Silver Line' - a help line for the elderly along the lines of Childline.
These are the things she suggests that old people (of which I have to accept I am one) can do to stave off boredom.
1. Have sex and write about it. (I do not wish to discuss my sex life
with anyone thank-you).
2. Go kayaking or bobsleighing with one's grandchildren. (ie sitting down activities)
3. Reminisce about once being part of a target audience on TV.
4. Pay kids £10 per half hour to hear you talk about old landlines.
5. Kill a whole afternoon looking for your reading glasses.
6. Spend a whole afternoon looking for your car before you realise you actually walked and left the car at home.
7. Keep reporting things to the police so that eventually they start
offering you cups of tea.
8. Call and leave messages for your children because they never listen to their answer phones, so you can spend all day on the activity.
9. At the till rummage in your purse for the right change holding up the whole queue - then walk home slowly taking up the whole pavement.
10. Hunch over and get wired by a qualified electrician so that you can become a floor lamp.
Growing old is not a joke and those of us who have reached it do our level best to stay ahead of the game. I read up on current affairs, I belong a writers' circle and a poetry circle, I go to an exercise class, I go out for meals with friends and cook meals here for friends too
Alright, I am not one hundred percent mobile and cannot always walk quickly but I jolly well try not to take up more than my fair share of the pavement.
I suppose I am lucky that I live in a picturesque area to which many folk retire, so that the average age of the inhabitants is I am sure well above the National average. There are clubs and societies, all well-attended, for almost everything - The Wensleydale Society which has talks and walks, Round Table which does marvellous charity work, Photographic clubs, Painting clubs, Yoga, Pilates, Amateur Dramatics - there is plenty going on and also on many of the estates elderly people look out for one another.
Rantzen's new service is excellent - anyone who shut in on a cold Winter's night and lonely can surely get comfort from such an organisation. But we don't need Times 2 to poke fun at us thank-you - however well-intended.
Our taxes helped to pay for the roads and pavements everyone walks on, our generation (I was a teacher for all of my working life) educated the generation which includes Deborah Ross, our parents fought in the Second World War for the liberty of this country and the young and middle aged do not have a prerogative over walking the pavements any more than they do over how long we take to go through the till.
It says a lot that the other article on the same page.by somebody called Clover Stroud is headlined "I watch more porn than my husband does." For two pins I would write another rant on that!
However, it is a freezing cold day and the builder and his labourer are up on the roof in spite of the weather, so I am sure I can be more suitably engage in making them a cup of tea.