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 four years, and it has become increasingly apparent to me that as people get older they tend to become creatures of habit. Spontaneity jumps out of the window; their sense of adventure cowers behind the door. Stepping forward becomes replaced by stepping back.
I know that when I arrive at the bus stop I will find an elderly man standing reading a folded copy of the Daily Telegraph. 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 elderly 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. I know we will discuss with one the weather and the other, football. Another chap will be sitting by the window tut- tutting at the sports pages of his newspaper. At 12.37 precisely Gerald will appear in the doorway and immediately come out with an extremely un-funny one liner and we’ll all pretend to laugh.
Elderly people are creatures of habit, and while it might comfort them, I find it all a bit depressing.
I went out for a beer the other night. I had a pint, followed by just a half a pint as I was driving. At 21.45 I left the pub and at 22.05 I pulled up outside the Istanbul Kebab Korner, My Turkish friend looked up and said “Chicken Khofte with extra onions, chilli sauce and garlic?" I didn’t need to reply; I suppose you could call it a rhetorical question. He then shuffled through the pile of newspapers on the counter, and handed me the Eastbourne Herald. He knows I like to read it while I wait.
So I guess I'm getting older too. As I said, as you get on in years it seems that as you take one step forward, then two steps back, but I’m not going to let that t happen to me! Next time I stop to get a kebab I’ll have a Lamb Donner with chips instead!