I would love to be able to engage with the young people in my office. They always seem to be having so much fun and glow with the enthusiastic energy of a supernova. At times it’s like watching an advert for the upswing of a bipolar disorder.
They constantly chatter about something really exciting they have done, or are going to do. Or where they went the previous night, or are going tonight, and tomorrow night – and the night after.
It all sounds amazing and so much better than anything I’ve ever done. I listen to their lives with great interest and a yearning for a nice cup of Horlicks and an aspirin.
It’s almost embarrassing when they turn to me and ask how my evening was. Talk about awkward, they hang on my every word and pose difficult questions. In short; I’m sadistically interrogated by ISIS-trained One Direction fans.
It’s no joke! It’s also fucking tricky to keep making interesting shit up to tell them each morning. I can’t regale them with my tales of watching Coronation Street, finding a lump on my back, and retiring to bed at 8.30pm without having sex (again).
It’s now got to the stage where I Google ideas the night before, and rehearse my casual answers during my commute into work.
‘What did you do last night, Paul?’
‘Oh, I popped by an alternative lifestyle awareness event that was held at my local multicultural centre. I threw a clay pot, made a goat-skinned tambourine, and then I took my wife and son to get decorated with ethic beads crafted by blind, young offenders. How about you?’
Most of my colleagues are exceedingly attractive and sickeningly single. A lot of their time is spent talking about hair products, the gym, and whatever relationship they are trying to get into. I listen to their stories of being cheated on by this guy, or not getting a call back from that girl, or how the Rohypnol was so weak that Shelia is now having flashbacks towards getting into a cab with the weird bloke from Accounts.
If you didn’t already know, I’m married, and carry all the traditional hate-etched wrinkles and scars that come from a loving relationship with someone who would rather have you living in the shed (at your parent’s house).
In spite of this I’m pretty safe in the knowledge that my wife’s spirit is now suitably crushed enough for her to keep hold of me as a charitable cause. I take this as justification for not giving to Oxfam (after all, I’m one of them!), and enjoy the thought of never needing to play that syringe-littered “field” again.
To be honest, I wasn’t very good at it the first time around, and have a nice library of petrol-soaked photos of previous girlfriends to verify my crapness at being good relationship material.
The beautiful people in my office also keep asking me out with them, and it makes me feel wanted and relevant.
Only a few weeks ago I was asked to join a 5-a-side football team by what appeared to be a fitter version of the Wolf Pack from Twilight. These guys were gorgeous and healthy, and didn’t seem tired or bitter!
I smiled and explained I have a trick knee that stops me from being Lionel Messi. Without missing a beat they immediately suggested a few beers and a session on the Xbox. I took it as a friendly offer, made in light of my heavy breathing and sweaty response to their stupid suggestion of unnecessary exercise.
And get this… a couple of very cute twenty-something girls keep asking me to the pub, and always enquire whether I’m going to attend any of the relentless social events that are seemingly arranged by the hour.
They see my snarky demeanour and washed-up appearance as a challenge away from the obvious targets found within the Wolf Pack. I should take the bait one time and be surrounded by these angels in hot pants for a few hours. To feel all young and “fuck you” about everything would be a welcome change from just feeling “fucked off” and ancient.
And whilst I’m exhausted enough never to stray, it would be kinda nice to be the older guy with an alluring twinkle in his eye, and a smart-bomb wit that could weaken the most assured and desired of the gang.
It would be very nice indeed… but I always turn them down. I say that I need to be home for my 4 year-old son, and make apologetic expressions for being such a square!
Seriously, what would these heavenly creatures want with a 43 year-old bloke who always looks like he’s just slipped in some dog shit? In truth, I think they only want me there so they can sacrifice my baggy ass to the pagan gods that keep their bodies hard and breasts mesmerising.
And in case you were wondering, my son doesn’t really need me. In fact, he’s recently taken to calling me, ‘that guy that drinks beer in my house!’
It’s strange to be surrounded by gaggles of people who will only be in their 50’s by the time I’m shitting myself in a state-run care home, and being hosed down by a friendly Jamaican nurse who I’ve taken to calling “Dark Momma!”
It’s all simple mathematics: the older I get, the more people of a younger persuasion will come n’ mess with my shizzle.
I might never be able to feel comfortable with those that were born only knowing the remakes… rather than the originals. Nor will I ever get to a stage where I can match their lifestyles and daring accessorising.
Does it worry me? Nah! Age begets experience, wisdom and a calming acceptance for the person you are. And providing those young girls keep inviting me to their alcohol-soaked coven, I’ll continue to play the snarky bloke with the greying hair that keeps lying about what he did last night.
Paul Millard 2014
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