Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Image Says it All; Or Does It.

     I got a few raised eyebrows when I suggested there was a faint smell of formaldehyde emitted from a pensioners group I saw in Hawes on my travels. It was 'tongue in cheek' but looking back it made me think. Have I, like the majority of the population, got a pre-conceived idea as to what old people are like. By old I reckon I am thinking about 'grown ups'. This is the way our children, or grandchildren  for that matter think. They, teenagers live in a world of their own. If you don't believe me, ask a teenager what they think about 'snogging' in particular old people 'snogging', grandma and granddad for instance. 'Opinions will probably vary from 'embarrassing to disgusting'. And the idea of 'sex' and old people, 'ugh', don't go there! The point I am trying to make is that we have an image in our mind of what people should 'do' what they should 'be'; and this image, this picture is often closely related to  physical age. So what these images, these pictures without us realising it,  determine the way we live.
    A case in point is the question of transport. Most elderly individuals drive cars, not ride motorbikes for obvious reasons. (When did you last see a motorbike and sidecar.) Many years ago, in my youth men aspired to owning a Ford Popular or an Austin Seven. The man who had 'truly' arrived, usually late in life, if at all, proudly owned a Rover.
   Paul the plasterer is not of pensionable age. No teenager either admittedly, but old enough to make the mature, staid, unexciting choices prevalent of so many middle aged males. Not so Paul, his choice of transport is a  900cc Triumph Speeedmaster, an awesome machine full of sound and fury. Complete with a number plate suggesting a mischievous sense of humour cheerfully acceptable in the so often over serious western world. Paul is indeed an unusual individual; more of this in a later post.
John is of pensionable age, no doubt at all. But like Paul, John is young at heart. John is a retired Rolls Royce engineer, brilliant, knowledgeable, innovative. RR produce some of the best aero engines in the world. Most of the workers are proud to work there; reliable, sensible individuals who give the company their whole working lives. I reckon it takes a certain type of person to work for RR. (I was taken to RR concerning employment when I left school. It was immediately obviously to a non too self disciplined schoolboy this place was not for him. I often wondered, do RR set on certain type of person, or do they BECOME a certain type of person. I went instead to work for F W Woolworth!!)
    RR car park is full of Fords, Audis, Nissans; sensible if sometimes uninspiring choices. John's choice of transport is a Bettson. A trike, a three wheeled motorbike rebuilt by himself and using two Hillman Imp engines. An engineering feat beyond ordinary mortals.  And to see John and his delightful wife astride this monster of a machine is a joy to behold.
    A year or so ago our life became more difficult for several reasons. Being of definite pensionable age my wife and I decided to buy a car to lighten the gloom. ('My wife and I', sounds very royal, except that the Queen has never bought a car in her life!) What do the young look for in a car we pondered.
    Something sporty for a start; plus 'go faster stripes. Darkened windows (reminiscent of a drug dealers car),  a spoiler and a host of decals. Oh, and bucket seats, a definite requirement for the sporty young male. So we bought a sporty Seat Ibiza, an FR model. Plus go faster stripes, darkened windows, a spoiler, decals and bucket seats. All set off by my beloved registration reminding of Derby County, 0009 RAM. To see young sporty types faces as my wife and I overtake is in itself worth the purchase. (Complete with 'shade;, Grumpy Old Ken, of course, not the other whizz kids!)
On the rear of the car is the following; my wife is not so keen but I couldn't resist it.
'This car is owned and driven by geriatrics. Why should the young 'uns have all the fun!
    They say today's eighty year olds are yesterdays sixty year olds. Some also say men never grow up! What do you, dear readers think? Whatever your age or gender, tell me, do you have things you hang on to from the past. Have you got ways of reminding you of when you were younger. There's nothing wrong with that, I reckon. Why SHOULD we act our age if we don't want to!

(This post has taken me a long time. I 'lost' the content, how I've no idea! Perhaps it's a sign of getting old!)







7 comments:

CWMartin said...

You know, the best answer for that question for me is when Scrappy and I pass someone's property on a walk and I hear in my mind, "You kids get outta here!"

Harlow said...

Just past my eighty-eighth and still in good health. No walker or cane and only need glasses for reading. I don't seem to have as much fun as you do though. Maybe it's because I am a widower.

Bitchy said...

I say that mature and responsible are things we are either taught or forced on us. I never learned these lessons and I still refuse to give in to anyone or thing telling me what I should and should not do. As a person who loves two wheels and the adventure it had brought me I for one cannot see my life without two wheels. I have friends that have riden into their 80's. I say go girl go and hope that when I reach that age I am still going down the roads on two wheels.

Now as far as that nasty idea of what a person should be doing at an older number, I say NOPE! At 69 years of age I got my mother a little Hondamatic with side car and she has been learning to get around out little town on it. By herself no help from me no more. I can't say how proud seeing her take off for the grocery store or farmers market and making it back makes me.

My advice NEVER let other people ditacte what you do. It only leads to boredom and unfullfilled dreams. And that to me is a very sad thing.

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Grumpy Old Ken said...

CW





CW

Memories, interesting they are stored and retrievable. Such is life.










Grumpy Old Ken said...

Harlow
Glad you are such a good advert for geriatrics . Good luck to you, sir!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Bitchy
Brilliant, long may you and your mother reign!