Thursday, 17 May 2012
On Golden Pond
What's depressing me is much more serious than that. Frankly I'm surprised I'm still here. Any ordinary person would have ended it all by now, cut the silken thread that keeps us hanging above the abyss of eternity, plunged headlong into the rivers of forgetfulness and oblivion.
I'm talking about photographs of me, taken without my permission and blatantly displayed on a Labour Party constituency web-site.
I've always been sensitive about my looks. As a teenager I would spend hours looking in the mirror, using another mirror to view myself from all angles. Top, back, this side and the other; trying to convince myself that the floppy ear wasn't as large and protruding as it appeared, that my nose didn't hang a left down my face, or that my chin was less non existent more understated.
Getting older, if anything, I've got worse. I don't spend hours with mirrors, mainly because they're all too heavy for me to pick up. But I'm on a 24 hour alert for any sign of ageing. Hair greying towards white, hair protruding out of the bottom of my nose, sheer black eyebrows streaked with grey. Counting the new lines, the extra sag at the corner of my mouth and the evidence, as clear as the nose on my face, that my features are melting into something approaching a tub of lard.
Last week I attended a reception in the House of Commons, to celebrate the Older Residents of Walthamstow. I and about 100 fellow crumblies sat around eating cake and biscuits and drinking tea. We were arranged, rather like residents in a Care Home, round the edge of a large room and were addressed by our local MP and a member of the Opposition front bench. They told us how great we were, how marvellous it was that we were still alive and some appeared to have retained a glimmer of intelligence and the partial use of our limbs.
There was, hidden away, a man with a camera. Rather like a tourist at a watering hole in the Kruger National Park snapping madly at all the flora and fauna there, he couldn't help firing off every 10 or 15 seconds capturing seminal moments of this event as elderly gents in their Sunday best, spilled tea down their shirt, and a sprightly octogenarian falls headlong after being caught by the trailing end of an incontinent's zimmer frame.
I feature in two of the aforementioned snaps. These are now accessible to over 2 billion people. That's so frightening. Somewhere, in the cloud, sits two appalling pictures of me, confirming my worse fears.
I'm not slipping gently and gracefully into my later years, I'm being emptied into life's refuse bin.