As Others See Us.
My shopping done, the big red W3 bus passes by, just a bit too far me to catch—my days of running for a bus are long gone.
In any case, when old people run they actually move slower than when they are walking, it’s just like running on the spot.
As usual the W3 moved away just as I arrived at ‘The Green Rooms’ bus stop, my wave for the driver to wait a few seconds was unseen, I changed the wave to a brush of my hair, not wanting to appear rejected by the bus driver—why is it that we are embarrassed when this happens.
I sat on the thin red seat in the bus shelter—something not made for old men’s skinny bums or for that matter anyone’s bums.
I have been told that the seats are made just for perching and to discourage rough sleepers, how anti-social we have become.
In the Green Rooms window I saw a reflection of this old man sitting slumped, legs crossed like old men do, he was leaning forward as if he was about to say something.
Like a bolt from the blue, I realised the old man looking so intently at me, was no other than myself.
I quickly sat upright, leaning back against the shelter, I uncrossed my legs and tried to adopt the way young men cross their legs— by laying their ankle on the other knee— I managed to raise my ankle half way up my shin before the cramp set in.
I jumped to my feet—in a manner of speaking —trying to stamp some life into my now dead leg, as I did so, ‘The Green Room’ window was faithfully reflecting my every move.
Once again, I composed myself, at the same time trying to look casual, this is very hard to do when one of your legs has gone to sleep.
My leg was now rigid, no matter how I tried it would not respond, what ever I did only ended up like a ‘Monty Python’ sketch, the silly walk one.
Once I had gained control, my attention was directed to my image in the window, I stepped closer to really look at what I had become.
I stood as upright as I could, I pulled my shoulders back and tucked my chin in—this only produced more chins than anyone should have.
A side view was even more alarming, my head was leaning forward as if I was trying to read a bus time table on the other side of the road.
My legs are bent at the knees, I manage with some pain to pull them back but my jeans are set in their ways and remain bent.
Then what about my jeans—I read somewhere that men over forty should not wear jeans, I am eighty-six—not only am I wearing jeans, they are ‘Levi’ 502’s and slim line too, the t-shirt did nothing for me either, just showing my wrinkly arms.
I move closer to the window, for a closer look at my face, the sun making my bald head shine like beacon, and all those warts on my forehead and where have my once arched eyebrows gone, now just two little tufts of grey hair with a couple of whiskers hanging at random over my eyes not unlike a couple of prawns.
The sun highlights the hair from ears as if there is a furry animal in there.
My once smiley mouth is now turned down, I force a smile only to reveal my receding gums, and the odd bit of stainless steel from my dentures.
I hear the W3 coming down the road, a little old lady hobbles from ‘The Green Room’, she is using a walking stick, I take arm and help her on to the bus and into her seat.
“Thank-you very much” she said.
“I have just been told I need a new hip, and I popped into that place for a drink, but I have had a lovely few minutes, we were all laughing at your little act, are you on the stage? Did you hear us all clapping when you finished?
Oh’ how other people see us.