Monday, May 13, 2013
Now We Are Six (Plus 44)
Well, now that I've been so thoroughly outed by dear Mistress MJ, I suppose there's no point not admitting it: I'm old. This is not just a birthday, you see - it's one of those birthdays, the kind unreasonably freighted with significance just because they end in a zero.
Fifty. The very sound of it is Eeyorish. Fifty. The age at which Gloria Swanson starred in Sunset Boulevard, a full two years older than Bette Davis in A Catered Affair. It's the age - as all too many people are eager to remind you - that one becomes eligible for membership in the American Association of Retired Persons. Fifty. Oy.
Well, it's better than the alternative, I know that. And I'm also learning that all those people who go on about how you feel freer as you get older to do as you please, actually do have something of a point. Also, it's nice, sometimes, to have a great store of experience to drawn on, even if it's just to stare down some youngster. I found myself glaring sternly at such a one last week, a wee creature who had come to confirm whether some petty detail he found amiss could possibly be correct. "Well," said I, "given that this is something that I have been doing for a living for the past 32 years, and it hasn't been wrong until now, I think we might assume it's so, don't you?" Apparently I can look quite formidable with brows beetled, and he scooted off, cowed. I felt quite disproportionately pleased.
So our naughty weekend in Dubai was actually a birthday celebration, and a festive one at that, with a grand lunch at, of all things, a little Irish pub we like (they do a first-rate roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, and those of us that indulge in that sort of thing can avail ourselves of their excellent sausages, gloriously made of what in these very halal parts we refer to as "flat-nosed beef"). Present were all sorts of people from hither and yon, from a sweet young thing who thinks of Mr. Muscato and me as his uncles (bless) to a an old pal from West Africa days who's recently washed up on these shores. We ate and drank and laughed a lot, and I thought a little about the Long Strange Trip it's been.
Miss Rheba rang me up last night to commiserate, for she crosses the same Rubicon in just a few weeks. As we've known each other since we were 14, we have few secrets and always lots to talk about. "There are things we'll never do again," she said, "but I don't mind too much. No, I really don't care. Think of all the things we'll never have to do again. I figure we have 30 more years, easy, of not caring what people think, and what a relief that is. Imagine how much more fun we could have had at 25 if we could have just gotten over our cheap selves." I think she's right. Each decade's only gotten better so far, and with any luck, on that front, maybe things will hold, more or less like that, for one or two more.
In the meantime, we have much to do. Tonight we enjoyed an excellent dinner, Mr. Muscato having not only roasted a chicken and whipped up his patented garlic mashed potatoes (the secret, learned from Julia Child, is incorporating the garlic into a cream sauce that's then folded into the potatoes, not fattening at all, of course), but also baked a raft of carrot cakes, one of which will go to the office to feed my colleagues (perhaps even that infuriatingly youthful whippersnapper) at our weekly staff meeting. This weekend, we're apparently making a little jaunt one Sultanate down to our old stomping grounds, and on our return, God help us, we'll be just about a month out from totally uprooting ourselves and heading off on our next big adventure.
And, if nothing else, I get to keep an eye out for that AARP card...