I’m Comfortable At My Age . . .

Or, cocking a snoot at convention and judgemental people. The ‘grizzlies” declare war on the svelte & skinny brigade!

I’m beyond caring about an image. The important people in my life all love me and anyone else can just go and jump if they don’t like me. If they bothered to get to know me they’d soon change their tunes. But hey, I’m not worried!

I was thinking shit up in the very early hours of this morning and this is the result of my sleep-deprived mind which is, to be kind, addled at the best of times. Enjoy the ride.

How often haven’t we seen, heard or even been personally involved in the mocking and ridicule that is so rife in our society? It’s not just downright fucking rude and insensitive. It’s also a sad indictment of state of our moral compasses.

The snide comments overheard in restaurants, shopping centres and even in offices and public streets are a cancer eating away our last vestiges of compassion and empathy. And the targets of this pathetic abuse are usually the older bullets in the area. Now that I have reached the age of said “older bullet” I feel qualified to comment on this nastiness. At only 62 I have suddenly been referred to as “the old fart” and the “useless old codger” and these epithets are terms of endearment from my children! You should hear what people who don’t even know me say about my belly. And my extinct hairline with tonsure-like bald spot. Then I hear total strangers mumbling to one another about my brightly coloured, mismatched socks. I do it to amuse myself. Then there are my red Veldskoen with Kawasaki-Green laces, my collection of zowie bow-ties and braces for my trousers. Oh God, and when I wear jeans you should hear the jibes. “What is he? A hippy stuck in 1969?” Goddammit, I’m younger than Howard Hessman* and he still sports a ponytail! Geesh, I should be so lucky! If it was 1969 again I’d have the chance to go to a Hendrix, Joplin, Doors, Who concert/s. Why don’t these blasted busybodies mind their own business and fuck off & leave me alone? I think I’ll retire to Fish Hoek beach for the day where nobody bats an eyelid at my garb, my “boep” or my lack of hair.

My Gran is 105 years old and besides being half deaf and more than a little blind she’s as fit as many women half of her age. About a month ago she joined in a party of the old folk from her retirement village on an excursion to Fish Hoek beach. She was thrilled to be able to paddle her bare feet in the gentle surf that is the hallmark of Fish Hoek’s seaside. Fish Hoek is a wonderful beach with its gentle surf, flat sandy beach and a restaurant cum tea room cum ice cream parlour right at hand. On any given day there are lots of folks to be found lazing in the sun, sitting on the benches chatting to one another or taking a refreshing dip or modest paddle in the gentle surf. People of all ages and backgrounds are to be found at all times. A smile and a simple hello will probably land you a friend for life, such is the community of Fish Hoek beach. It is a fabulous fresh air and sunshine facility second to none. And the people are fabulous too. They care not a jot if you are rich or poor, man or woman, young, old or any age in between. Thin, fat, dumpy, lumpy, flat or rounded, all body shapes and sizes fit in perfectly. Simply because nobody cares about such trivial things as shape and size.

That’s why I have always loved Fish Hoek beach for its spirit of inclusiveness. No-one will be impressed by fifteen hundred rand bikinis or onesies in the latest of fashions. You can swim in your old Scout khaki shorts for all anyone cares. There are no airs and graces on Fish Hoek beach. The only rules seem to be not to litter, not to scream, shout and behave in boorish fashion. Polite and unobtrusive is the order of the day and a smile will get you a million miles.

There’s a plan, Stan . . . I’ll go pick up Gran and my three-year-old grandson and we’ll all go to Fish Hoek together and build sandcastles. Nobody will dare to bother us. As long as we’ve got Gran with us! Truth be told, I don’t give a flying toss what anyone says or thinks. My Gran & Grandson love me!

*Howard Hessman was Dr. Johnny Fever, the Radio DJ on the hit TV show WKRP in Cincinnati

Peter Mark Wells-Garnett © 22 April 2017



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