Sunday, 27 December 2015

Off the pace

It's been happening for a while now. Slowly, at first, and now seemingly gathering pace on an almost daily basis. No doubt the Germans have a name for it, a bit like schadenfreude, a neat word that encapsulates a concept that us Brits just haven't got around to describing. For the time being, and for conveniences sake, I'll just say that I am suffering from 'being a yard or two off the pace'. Even that offering neatly sums up my predicament, for within my construct lies the word 'yard' an archaic unit of measurement about as up-to-date as 'rickets', 'penny farthings' and 'cinder toffee'.

I'm losing touch with modern life.

It manifests itself in many ways. I increasingly find the need to ask my daughters how to use my phone. Or do something on the computer. Or what I need to do in order to unlock the 'mute' facility of the TV remote. I read newspapers or watch the news only to realise that I have never heard of some of our senior politicians; or realised that 'such-and-such' a celebrity died six months ago; have no idea who or what is number one in the charts; cannot recognise 19 out of 20 of the most influential celebrity figures in the USA; or name half of the players in the Premiership; or can tell you who is currently playing in the England cricket team or what the score is. Ten years ago I could have done all these things and more.

People tell me, "It's just that you're no longer as interested in these things" which is not strictly true. It is also happening within my sphere of interests. Birds, moths, plants - I'm surrounded by fellow enthusiasts who spout out terminology, ideas, information and sheer enthusiasm that I just cannot seem to keep up with. I'm being left behind.

Although not suggesting that my mind is going (although it certainly isn't a sharp as it once (never) was), I can forget the names of people, places and species at the drop of a hat - note use of old fashioned saying once more - who wears hats nowadays? I spent the best part of a day trying to remember the name of the North American dove that sometimes turns up here. ALL DAY! I had to look it up in a field guide in the end because it just wouldn't come. Ironically one turned up in Shetland a couple of weeks later. It might still be there, but, being off the pace, I don't know if it is. But I won't be going into mourning over it...

Last night I couldn't remember the name of an orchid that I have seen on the hills close to my home. A chalk downland orchid, small, quite nondescript, quite local... still cannot remember it's name now... bloody hell, this is frustrating.

Maybe it is an age thing, people say that the brain is another muscle (I'm sure that's not strictly true) and needs regular exercising. Mental work-outs, mindful gymnastics. A decluttering of the trivia that still finds itself 'all present and correct' in my brain such as every FA Cup final result (and goal scorer), the track-listing of every Doors album and, my specialist subject, 'Dungeness rarity records 1952 - 1991'. Maybe this sort of stuff can make way for the arrival useful information, and useful information that will find a home in my grey matter and stick.

Like the name of that orchid.... MUSK!!!

8 comments:

  1. Steve, welcome to the world of being old, luckily for you, you are still at the "getting old" stage, at 68 and ten years of getting old, I'm now firmly in the "old" and even worse, "old codger" stage.
    You'll find that you start writing post-it notes and leaving them around the house and in the car, so's you don't forget things, and people start talking louder at you and laugh behind your back when you don't hear them, you repeat things that you tell people, one glass of wine gets you half pissed when it used to be a bottle - you get all emotional when you hear old records from the early days and tell people that's real music, you need more frequent visits to the toilet and dribbles down your legs become more frequent, yes really!
    You're on your way but you ain't quite got there yet.

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    1. Cheers Derek, I'll look forward to all of that!

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    2. Derek, I read that and thought I had written it. Steve you do have it all to look forward to!!

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    3. Maybe we could all audition for a part on 'Last of the summer wine'!

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  2. Glad that you could join me at last Steve !

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  3. Werthers and incontinence pants next, Steve?

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    1. I don't mind the Werthers, Andrew, not so much the pants...

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