Is this a grey hair I see before me? Well yes it is. I have decided to become a monk, now I have the bald patch to go with the job. The luxurious head of brown hair of my youth, has now turned to snow white, before winter's onslaught and the cold hand of time. My eyebrows, nose and ear hairs by contrast, look like potted plants in an abandoned garden, gone wild with rampant delight. Thrashing about wildly, they poke me in the eye like something out of a horror movie. I can imagine waking one night with nostril hairs trying to strangle me in my sleep.
Another problem with aging is losing both your memory and your balance. The latter apparently happens because we have hairs inside our inner ears, around the cochlear, which over time fall off (just like those on the outside of the head). This leads to dizzy Gillespie spells and the falling down sickness. When I used to get migraines, I had much the same problem and I would stumble trying to stay stable. The cochlear is like a snail, curling into infinity and beyond. By the way, did I mention memory loss?
I look in the mirror but don't recognise the person I see. That is because I am looking at my wife's reflection. Did I mention memory loss? That wrinkled old face smiles back at me (hers, not mine, in case you are wondering). I have grown pessimistic with old age, unlike her.
"Good morning? What's so good about it?"
"You are alive, aren't you?"
"I am not so sure of that. "
In Scotland there is a saying that says old age doesn't come alone. Well these multiple tenants of my body I could quite happily kick out at times. The aching joints, the late night trips to the toilet and the rushing to make it to one, if on my way home. All the cracking and creaking, when I move, like an old wooden schooner at sea (I am still waiting for my boat to come in but fear it will be the Titanic at my age). Like Leonard Cohen, I ache in the places I used to play.
Nothing works properly anymore but it is not like a car you can swap for a younger model. I remember being toned and handsome but now I have got blue veined cheese legs and floppy discs, where I once had a hard drive (did I mention memory loss?). That confident, steady stride has deteriorated into a stumbling old man, glad to sit down at any and every opportunity, in order to catch his breath and rest his weary bones (I carry them in a bag everywhere I go).
Did I mention memory loss?