For some reason this morning I felt a great reluctance to get out of bed. It was warm and I had dozed off after waking earlier. Kay had brought me a cup of tea and I had taken my morning pills. However, at such times old men have little choice than to heed the inner call.
I showered, and in the course of a vigorous towelling I disturbed a partially healed scrape I had inflicted on myself the day before. A warm body, the presence of dampness and the required dosage of rat poison in my blood stream combined in a quick spread of vivid diluted vermilion. No Royal blue blood from me; just a fully oxygenated orange red that would have raised little interest from the house of Windsor. A couple of Bandaids later it was under control.
In a rare display of adult responsibility, I gathered up yesterday’s discarded clothing from the bedroom floor and took it out and loaded the washing machine. At such times of expressive virtue, prudence and experience fade away and the trouser pocket of course included my wallet, credit cards and several receipts and memos that readily responded to the washing cycle by disintegrating to a light suspension of white fluff and fibre that spread evenly across the washing load. Several bank notes (yes, old men still carry them as an alternative to Paywaving a credit card which always seems to be a carryover from the flaunting of wealth by less well-bred persons) actually appeared to benefit from the washing, thus giving proof of the phrase “filthy lucre”.
I pinned the clothes on the line and prayed for sunshine and a vigorous breeze to dispel the fluff. There was neither. And nor did they over the several hours that followed.
Another feature of old age is the hours of wakefulness the night includes. My MP3 player gave up the ghost — I suspect through overuse, but possibly also from being lain upon when sleep did return. The MP3 player is excellent for aged insomniacs. BBC podcasts of political pedantry and religious panels can be recommended as an aid to further sleep.
Yesterday I took delivery of a very expensive new Apple I-Pod that I believed would provide all that the MP3 player had done, plus more, including a camera (which I cannot see me using during the night) and the ability to text messages to other insomniacs. But it does incorporate a dictation to text feature for which I can see a real desire.
I had returned to the shop last week an MP3 player I had bought a month ago, and which proved to be the best example of a commercial item “unfit for purpose” that I have ever known. Made in China where, of course, everything else is made, it had poor sound and a system of operation that I think I can remember from the days when electronic controllers were introduced to the wool industry in the 1980’s. So, after a month of frustration (and lost sleep) I took it back and demanded action. Surprisingly, there was an immediate offer to refund that I readily accepted. The outcome was, of course, I went upmarket, the benign visage of Mr Gates beaming in the background.
I unpacked the small package last evening to find Apple now no longer provides neither battery chargers nor manuals. Fortunately, I did have an Apple charger in the office. Some time later I found how to start the I-Pod but nothing more. It insisted on a connection to the Net, and although it was sitting half a metre away from the modem that drives my PC, neither the twain could meet.
This morning (after the Bandaids worked) I went back to the shop and sought out their youngest assistant. I have learned over the years that the youngest assistant has the latest knowledge. He smiled as I recounted my difficulty and (much in the style of a now long-forgotten Ansett television advertisement and the airline receptionist who took charge of the passenger’s rain-drenched cat with the immortal words: “Give Fluffy to me”) took out his smartphone and laid it alongside my I-Pod. For a moment, I felt a pang of insufficiency. His smartphone was so much bigger than mine but that awareness, too, is a consequence of age.
He quickly entered the necessary details and gave the I-Pod to me to put in my answers to its questions. The manager stood at a discreet distance, apparently approving of the young assistant’s ability to give service and assurance to the aged.
I came home re-assured. All the world needed now was for a bit of sunshine and some vigorous breeze to get rid of that damn paper fluff from the washing on the line. But, of course, those whom the gods seek to destroy they first drive mad. They accomplish this by way of Google and the links that are provided in the guise of “HELP”.
The day is drawing to a close. The washing is not dry (and I hesitate to put it and the fluff into the dryer); and I am still trying to get the I-Pod to make friends with the modem, the PC and my music library. The podcasts I will leave for another day, in case the BBC download is affected by Brexit. I can, however, take some satisfaction that my lack of activity today has not affected the healing of the Warfarin-induced wound.
There are, of course, others in this world for whom life’s challenges loom larger than mine. So, it is good to know that there is a new generation who will carry on the tradition of looking after Fluffy.
For my part, I shall sneak back to the shop tomorrow and hopefully find today’s helper has the day off and there is another young assistant able and willing to help the aged.