This might be better titled ‘how to get away with being an old bat’ or ‘things you can say in your ninth decade without being arrested’.
There are absolutely no circumstances under which I am prepared to divulge my precise age but I’ll give you a clue. When I was a girl a ‘glory hole’ was a cupboard into which one crammed everything that didn’t belong anywhere else, and there were twenty shillings in a pound, and people with orange skin would be either ridiculed or hospitalised.
But I digress. Today is not for reminiscence. No. This week’s lesson concerns the things you can get away with under the umbrella of being old and a bit odd.
- Make constant reference to your age as if it were an achievement. As in…
“I’m eighty-five, you know.” (Those of us who are only too aware that your state of decrepitude is actually down to seventy-one years and a lot of spliffs will, of course, adhere to the crumbly code and not contradict you.)
- Go to the supermarket in your slippers and a large red hat.
- Spend your pension on fags, alcohol and Belgian chocolate.
- Eat the whole of a big bar of milk chocolate/bag of doughnuts/family pack of cheese and onion crisps/whatever. When asked why you are so gluttonous you merely have to say you are old and there may not be a tomorrow.
- Flirt with twenty-year-old builders.
- Ignore all ‘authority figures’. Never be unpleasant though. Vague, slightly tearful and full of reminiscences of the war works for me.
- Call your doctor ‘kiddo’ and refuse all forms of advice.
If a person with a clipboard approaches you in a public place it is perfectly in order to do one of the following:
- Develop strategic deafness
- Shout for help and claim to have been sexually propositioned
- Answer all their questions as randomly as possible
- Grasp them firmly by the wrist and drag them to a cafe with outdoor tables where you can keep them talking for at least an hour and wrangle them into buying coffee and cake.
And finally. It’s at last okay to air your opinions. You can say the prime minister/president/crown prince/chairman of the board/whoever is a nasty, ignorant, grabby little bar steward. That the latest fashionable television ‘presenter’ is incomprehensible and about as funny as herpes. That quinoa is just middle class rice. And so on. Be the person who says what everyone else is too polite to mention…