unhappy birthday

By Paul Flower on Jul 8, 09 02:50 PM

It's my birthday. A fact I'm reminded of every few minutes as most of my 218 'friends' on Facebook wish me a happy one, usually with some associated abuse. I'm trying to forget about it; consequently I'm regretting ever joining bloody Facebook. I'm probably too old for social networking anyway, or is that just how everyone else makes me feel?

Naturally my 'colleagues' see fit to present me with a birthday card with references to bus passes, pensions and even 'granddad'. Were it not for the fact that I'm self-employed I'd consider complaining to HR.

When recently ridiculing a younger, more flamboyant, client, he quipped that 'it probably wasn't like this in my day'. In my day?! Which day did he think that was, some other century? Well, yes I guess it was. I could've pointed out that I hung out at the same clubs as Martin Degville, Boy George and the pioneers of new romantic, the first time around, the original electronica. Obviously that would've aged me as well.

I haven't been this depressed about a birthday for years. The thing is that it's not even a significant one, occurring mid-way between the last and the next 'big-one'. I thought I might rejoice that I'm now the same age as the speed of a 7" single, but actually realise that this statement ages me as much as any other.

I had been trying to pretend that I'm not now middle-aged, fact is that I'm beyond middle-aged as I doubt that I'll live to be 90. There is a language to this state of aging; it is the language of excuses. I may find myself saying stuff like 'age is a state of mind'; because it's the kind of thing you only really start to believe when you get to this kind of age.

It's a sad kind of truth that I don't feel my age, in my head I think of myself being around 27, the numbers don't add up. I never could add up. These are all the things that 'old' people say, the type of things that I now say.

In truth can we only now see ourselves as others see us? In that case I'm practically at the bath chair stage. That I know what a bath chair is also ages me.

On Saturday I found myself at the Godiva Festival in Coventry, a fabulous 'free' event. I was marvelling at the fact that the real ale tent was quieter than the other bars; yes, I know. Not far from the tent a pair of 'girls' were handing out vouchers for 50p off the banana bread beer, naturally I hunted them down - one of them called me 'dear'. Yes, as at many gigs of late, I felt old.

What's the next stage of the ageing process: playing 'operations top trumps' with random strangers who appear to be around 'my vintage'? "Oh yeah, I had the balloonectomy and colostomy last year. That Dr Singh is a marvellous surgeon". Of course I'll be meeting these strangers in hospital waiting rooms which are where I'll be spending all my spare time.

My battle-cry will become 'I'm not dead yet', whilst my failing brain tries to remember that every day above ground is a good day. As long as it is not your birthday that is.

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