Tuesday, March 13, 2007

13 March: Old?

I suppose it started when the checkout person at B&Q asked if I needed a man to help me with the bags of sharp sand I'd just bought.

As the men in the store seem to be either under 18 and built like a yard and a half of pump water, or over 75 and built like pumpkins, I declined. I may be in receipt of the Old Age Pension, but I can still deal with a couple of half-hundredweight plastic sackfuls of sand.

But it's been nagging at me. Do I look frail? My hair's not grey or permed, I wasn't wearing a beige car coat, and at 5 foot 10, I seldom get people offering help. The slight frown caused by concentration and short sight frightens most strangers.

I've also recently been reading a few blogs by older people - by coincidence, not because I've been looking for them. And last night's knitting was accompanied by some talking heads on the TV twittering on about *baby boomers*. I was concentrating on the pattern, as I had to work out some shaping, and I'd already had to unpick one area where I'd found a mistake 9 rows earlier, so I wasn't really listening properly, but they seemed to be complaining on the one hand that old folk were spending all their pensions and capital on themselves instead of leaving it to their children, and on the other hand that old folk were a drain on the economy and the NHS.

Now, come on - if us oldies are spending all our money on kite-surfing and facials, that is providing a rich living for the providers of those services. We are still paying for our cars, fuel, food and clothes, and helping to keep those businesses going. When we go on outings we support the visitor attractions or cafes we go to. We are still paying our Council Tax and Income Tax.

And we all know that the NHS can damage your health if you get near it. Lots of us work quite hard at keeping ourselves fit and well without bothering with doctors. Without the old, there wouldn't be much call for consultants in geriatrics, or hip replacement surgeons.

It's all relative anyway - when my Dad was 80, he used to go down to the local club to help out with the old folks - the Over 60s.

Why do we all have to be labelled and pigeon-holed? My age is not the most important thing about me, nor is it about anyone else - unless they choose to be a *rebellious teenager*, *just a housewife*, a *little old lady*, or whatever. (Men can play this game too, if they want.)

People's passions and open minds are far more interesting.

That reminds me - labels. I've been trying to label the old posts on the blog, so that if you really want to you can look at all the knitting related bits. The labelling is probably as patchy and rambling as this post.

4 comments:

Murph said...

It was probably just the "jerwonnennyelpwivvyerpackin?" rhetorical piece of check-out nonsense we get in Tesco's.
B&Q are very sound on valueing experience and taking on more mature staff anyway.

KAZ said...

For once - Murph speaks sense.

I've come to an age when I don't like being called 'luv'. I used to think it was because I was little, but now I think it's because I'm old.

Paranoid? Moi?

stitchwort said...

murph - it may have been because I didn't lift it onto the counter, but offered to scan it for her.

kaz - round here, it's possible to reply "thanks, petal" with a straight face and a Southern accent, and watch the double take.

Z said...

Half a hundredweight is pretty heavy though. I'd have said yes to the help. I'm - well, I'm shorter than you, that's my excuse.

Mind you, I often carry 25 kilo (about the same) bags of potatoes for customers out to their car. The women let me, the men usually say they will do it themselves, in which case I pick it up and give it to them. I have my pride, after all.