Thursday, January 21, 2016
truth vs reality of old age
I have a real fear of being old, retired, poor and living in a place like Clacton-on-Sea, one day.
As a few of us that own property happen to own it in London, most of us are fully aware that we will only pay off our diningroom table-sized flats when we are 65.
And even then, will we have any money? Will our pension support us?
Basically, am I going to die in Bognor Regis?
(It's the last stop on the southern railway, coincidence? And I'm pretty sure I had a great aunt that "retired" down there and was never seen again).
No, it's not meant to be like this! The story is meant to go that my children are happily working as neurological surgeons or top criminal barristers (or forensic scientists. Or they find the cure for all cancers. And also play the piano/violin.)
Anyway, the kids are all happy, and me and the Brit are happy after all these years, and at 65, somehow probably not just having retired from a lifetime in the tech industry (because understanding Snapchat, today, is a challenge, nevermind virtual reality goggles that take you to space at the push of an app, of the future), no.
By then, we'd have our own business. I'd be living off the profits of my highly successful bunting enterprise, where my flag-making skills adorn the Libertine walls of many a-nursery across the country, and the Brit would do "geek consulting" when he wants to, and "if the client's right."
We'd buy an eight room house in Sandwich - so that the grandchildren can come over - and our best friends would live astride us on the same massive estate. They'd be full of Alzheimers, and so would we. But we'd all still be sane enough to know the difference between everyone's mobility scooters, and I'd remember to put on my red lipstick everyday, because all grannies should wear red lipstick.
Once a year, we'd take a cruise, sometimes to warmer climes like St Vincent and The Grenadines; other times to watch the glaciers move on the coast of Alaska. Because global warming would've been reversed by then.
We'd do line dancing and tell dirty jokes.
But this is all a big pile of shit, because in reality I'm going to die in Bognor Regis. Aren't I.
I mean, we all get a state pension (or do we? After communism collapsed, and inflation did it's thing, eastern Europe, was, by large, bent over a barrel. The same thing could happen to us), and while it might cover basic groceries, I mean, you can't exactly go out and buy a pair of shoes?
I thought I'd have a 15-strong Birkenstock collection to cushion all of my bunions at the very least.
But in truth, I'll be lucky if I'm eating Hill's Science Diet out of a tin, and worst case, your bog(nor) standard Pedigree Chum out of the bag. With a bent spoon.
(Bent, because my cutlery doubles-up as a screwdriver.)
Maybe I'll grow my own vegetable patch in Bognor Regis. Turnips and shit. As sides for the dog food. And so that scurvy isn't the thing I die of.
I'm upping my company pension fund once we have a new mortgage, but in truth, the real story I had of my retirement was us living in a sunny place, perhaps a small cottage or something, on the coast of Spain, Portugal, Greece or France (because the UK will still be in the EU - Jesus fuck please may it still be in the EU), tanning my raw, wrinkly hide on the beach once a day, and smoking a joint.
But I'm starting to think that I might , in fact, die in Bognor Regis.
She Who Also Loves Tweed reckons, quite nonchalantly like it is a trip to the shops, that she would euthenase herself if she got to the point where she was eating dogfood scoops on a soggy cone in Eastbourne, and by then "it'll definitely be legal."
Someone else said that they're curtailing this issue by planning to "marry up." So, they're sorted then.
My Best Irish Gay Friend: "Worse. You'll die on a delayed train to Bognor Regis, because this country couldn't run a tap, nevermind a railway service."
Look, I might die at any second. But what if it's in Bognor Regis?