01 July, 2008


You know you're getting old...

When a young woman in her teens or early twenties offers you her seat on the bus.

When in conversation with a polite young man, UK-born of Afro-Caribbean origin, he repeatedly refers to you as "Uncle". ("Uncle" is a respectful term for any elderly man in some English-speaking cultures, including the West Indies and South Africa, as indeed the locally equivalent term probably is in many societies.)

When you've just got your Freedom Pass from the Post Office and for the first time you start noticing all the other Old Fogies and Ancients touching their passes to the Oyster card reader on the bus. The London Freedom Pass is easily distinguished by its heavy-duty DayGlo orange ticket holder, presumably designed so that us old buggers can get our arthritic fingers round it and can more easily locate it with our dimming rheumy eyes. (Actually there may be a hint of truth in both of those "design" features -- it does make some sense.)

To my shame, for the first week after I got my Freedom Pass, I was tempted to transfer it to a more anonymous season ticket holder. I was feeling self-conscious about being so blatantly 60. But fortunately I got over it and now carry the "orange thing" with pride and a soupçon of smugness.

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