Every Monday I take a journey on a bus to visit my friends at their pub. I leave my trusty car by the roadside thus removing the threat of a driving ban should I imbibe to excess.
I have been making this journey every Monday for the last 2 years, and it has become increasingly apparent that as people get older they tend to become creatures of habit. Spontaneity jumps out of the window. The sense of adventure hides in a safe place.
I know that when I arrive at the bus stop I will find an elderly man standing with a folded copy of The Times. He will be doing the Sudoku puzzle. I know that I will see a tiny lady pacing up and down and consulting her wrist watch every couple of minutes.
When the bus arrives in the village of Horam, a large old lady will alight, sit in the front seat and go about her weekly ritual of unwrapping a sausage roll, examining it then nibbling at it depositing a pile of crumbs on the floor. Further on an old couple will get on. He will sit in one seat and his wife in another, two rows behind. At the next stop an old boy will get on and say to the old couple “Hello Gladys. Hello Ted“.
When I arrive at the pub the same old people will be sitting in the same old seats as last Monday. If there is someone sitting on the seat at the extreme right of the bar they will give it up for me. I know we will discuss 1) the weather. 2) the football 3)trade
Old people are creatures of habit, and it’s depressing. Nothing budges them from their daily ritual. Breakfast at the same time morning. Lunch similarly. They will watch the same television programmes every day. They go to bed at the same time each night.
When I finished work last Saturday night my customary pint of beer was waiting on the bar. As per normal I followed it with a half of beer. As usual I left at 22.45. As always I arrived at the Rother Kebab Take-away at 23.05. When I walked through the door my Turkish friend said “Your usual Cheffie? Lamb Khofte with extra onions, chilli sauce and garlic?” He then shuffled through the pile of newspapers on the counter and handed me the Eastbourne Herald. He knows I like to read it every Saturday.
And then I realised. I'm no different. I guess I’m getting older. As I said, it’s depressing.