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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Old People

Today I asked for suggestions of things other people thought were pony because I was basically feeling too lazy to come up with an idea myself. One of the best suggestions was this. Old people aggravate the crap out of everyone, probably even each other.

I'm talking about proper old people here, the ones with the cat food and the bus passes and the incontinence, not the people going through some sort of existential crisis and wondering if they are old because they don't understand why some people wear baseball caps backwards and their trousers round their arses. As a reassurance, if this is you, no, you're not old, you just hate tossers, and this is still definitely the blog for you.

Some things that are annoying about old people comprise:

The Post Office

The fucking Post Office. Old people love it. It's hard to know what they are doing in there, aside from making it smell of piss, because there are very few reasons left to actually go in one of these dismal places. Want to post a letter? No, of course you don't, they take for-fucking-ever. In any case, if it was one of those few occasions annually where you have to post something, you can get stamps in the supermarket where you go all the time anyway and where you don't have to wait in one of those fucking roped off zig-zag queuing systems like they have at Disneyland (only at the end it's a fat woman behind some bullet proof glass instead of Space Mountain). Need to send a parcel? Fed-Ex, mate. They never go on strike and they will actually deliver it to the recipient rather than to a depot on an industrial estate seven miles away. Also, if the guy taking your parcel somehow gets marooned on a remote island, he can make friends with the thing inside the parcel, like in Castaway. Have you seen Castaway? It was boring and it was boring for a long time. Seriously, I just paid money to watch Tom Hanks' podgy face get all hairy while he talks to a fucking volleyball? That's what people who paid to watch it were saying. I didn't, I just saw it on telly once, but it was still a couple of hours of my life I'm never getting back.

Some people use the Post Office to conduct some weird financial transactions. I think if you are too much of a pikey to get an actual bank account then you can open an account there, but seeing as how they even like to pay benefits into a bank account these days just how scabby would you have to be to need to do that? Is there a league system for this sort of thing? If so I'd like to see it visually represented in the style of the Top Gear "Cool Wall", you could have say, Jodie Marsh, scabbier than Frank Gallagher off of Shameless but still not as scabby as Kerry Katona. It could be a fun game.

They also do currency exchange, but so do all banks, travel agents and those kiosks at airports and stations, and in any case these days your bank card works abroad (in theory, if you remember to tell the bank you are leaving the country as if they're your fucking mum) so you don't really have to bother with it at all. How many old people are fucking off to Vegas to spunk their pension money anyway? Or is it a fag run to Calais? Old people do drink and smoke a surprising amount, which makes me wonder if it really is as effective a method of suicide as the government make out.

Because of the fact that most services the Post Office offer became redundant at least 15 years ago, it is not surprising that a lot of them are closing down. This leads to cuts for the workforce, which leads to strikes, which leads to an even worse service. The whole enterprise is pretty much fucked. This is on the news a whole lot, some Post Office in some small, shitty little town is closing and some people are irate about it. These are always, always the old people. Nobody else has been in there since they were 17 and needed the driver's license form so they could get the hell out of the shitty little town in question. But as I said at the start, what in the name of Beckham's Achilles are they actually doing in there? They can't need to buy string, en masse, every single fucking day.

I reckon there's some sordid septuagenarian swingers club in the basement of every Post Office. That's what the randy fuckers are really up to. "Oooooh, they took away my driver's license because I can't see for shit anymore and my reaction times are about as fast as continental drift, so that put an end to the dogging. But then Elsie told me about this place. The password is 'Steradent'."... They all dress up like it's the war and go at it in a replica bomb shelter under the Post Office. Viagra pills sit in little bowls like those packs of lube and extra strong condoms in gay bars. Someone from St John's Ambulance gets to watch - not because they enjoy it, mind, but because they know CPR. This is my horrible theory. Don't have nightmares, kids.


Old people get to ride the bus for free, which is good because as I implied in the previous paragraph, they can't drive for shit. Buses are already basically mobile asylums, so adding some dementia into the mix doesn't really make much difference. But unlike the other general nutters, students, immigrants and smug eco-twats that make a bus such a fabulously diverse place to spot annoying people if for some reason you have to get one, the old people will interfere with your journey somehow.

First of all, they get up really fucking early. This is one of the reasons I think humans are badly designed and therefore God doesn't exist. When you are of working age, you're busy all the time, and yet you still need 8 hours sleep a day. Getting out of bed is horrible and most people have to be whizzing their tits off on coffee, to the point where they basically piss and bleed espresso, just to get started. As soon as old age rocks around though, suddenly you have fuck all to do as you have no job and all your friends are dead, and yet you now only need around four hours of sleep a day. Because daytime TV is so appalling it won't even occupy your ancient mind, you have to get out and somehow make the task of buying a tin of cat food last you the entire day. As soon as that bus pass becomes valid, you're down the bus stop, ready for your rich full day.

Unfortunately, this is the exact same bus that the schoolkids and the commuters have to take, because they actually have to be somewhere at a given time or they get a bollocking. The old people will shuffle on, and then they will have to talk to the bus driver like he is their mate, rather than just waving the ticket at him and trying to make the whole exchange as quick as possible like everyone else. They don't like him, of course, they hate everyone, but it's one of the only conversations they will be having today so they stretch it out. They then need to find somewhere to put the weird little tartan shopping thing with wheels, which is a bit excessive seeing as how they're only going to be buying the one tin of cat food, but still, it needs to come with because it has all the important shit in it like a clear plastic umbrella and some boiled sweets. In the future, when the chavs of today grow old, the weird little shopping things will probably come in Burberry and Louis Vuitton designs. And double up as jetpacks. Actually that's worth sticking around for, maybe I should give up smoking after all.

It is customary to stand up if you, a young person (and bear in mind that anything under 65 is young to these people), has a seat on the bus and an old person doesn't. This is fine, and good manners, but there are occasions when I believe you are well within your rights to keep the seat, and they fucking hate that.

Once, I had to get a bus to work. It was a dark and evil time. I was about 20. I had sustained a serious leg injury, I was on crutches, and my leg was quite visibly bandaged up. After limping on to the bus with even less ease than the old people, I sat down. I even sat in one of the seats at the front reserved for disabled people and preggos, figuring a mangled leg was pretty much a pass for that, and there weren't any disableds or preggos there. But no. In the game of bus seat Top Trumps, mangled 20 year old leg does not beat able bodied 70 year old legs, and because I sort of just sat in my seat and didn't make eye contact as the old people got on, I then had to spend the whole bus ride listening to them bitch to each other about how awful the youth of today were because I was young and didn't give up my seat, which basically made me a worse version of Hitler - and they really don't like him. Maybe they suspected, quite correctly, that I had done said injury whilst doing some sort of young person thing they don't like like binge drinking or snowboarding or fight club.

This whole situation could be avoided for everyone if they just got up half an hour later and got on any of the other virtually empty buses, of course, but noooo. Old people business is important business and their pile ridden arses need to be plonked on your seat no matter what condition you are in. Broken legs do not, I repeat not, trump bunions, whatever the fuck those actually are. Some form of gross foot rot as I understand it. Which brings me on to the next thing...

The Ravages of Time

Now this bit is a little bit unfair, but if you haven't got that Pony and Trap is a bit like that and it's all just supposed to be a bit tongue in cheek then, well, feel free to leave comments about how horrible it all is, I do love a good argument with the kind of person that gets all riled up by this sort of stupid shit!

OK, so it's not their fault, but they look really gross, don't they? The men have hair growing out of their ears and noses. It draws your eye, you just can't help looking at that fucking nose and ear hair, even though it makes you a bit nauseous. Actually this bit is kind of their fault, there are those little machines you can get for trimming the curly greys out of the facial orifices, and getting the eyebrows a bit less mad professor-esque. These are advertised in those shitty little Innovations catalogues that fall out of the Sunday newspaper, targeted specifically at the old and the sick and the lame (the Post Office is shut on Sunday so they may as well read that shit while they wait for Songs of Praise), so it's not like they didn't try and sort you out on that front, old men...

The women, who generally have a physique akin to that of Gollum, that crazy bastard out of Lord of the Rings, unaccountably usually have weird ankles like an elephant's ankles. Maybe the men have that too, but you can't see it because they don't wear those weird flowery skirts (where do they come from? Have you ever seen them in a shop? Have you ever seen a shop that even looks like it might sell them? It's a mystery, like those shoes with the see through plastic platform heels all girls in pornos are wearing. Where do you buy those? I want some damn porno shoes!) and American Tan tights. The tights don't make you look like you have a tan, but I reckon they're called that to remind the old bags of the war days when they had to slag it up for American soldiers in return for chocolate and nylons. That's why they all loved the war, nothing to do with the community spirit and the rationing (which they always seem to make out was somehow a good thing), it was all the dick they got. As a consequence I bet more of us than we think have a bit of yank in us to this very day.

I'm no doctor (which is why I don't know what bunions are or how nipples work as I mentioned in my last post), but I would assume the gross ankles are caused by fluid retention, which can be relieved by just sticking your legs in the air for a while. Maybe try a different position next time you're at the "Post Office".

The thin wispy white hair, you know, where you can see the scalp through it. The wrinkly skin. The weird spots. All those things you hear talk of but don't want to ask too much about, like colostomy bags and erectile dysfunction and Tena Lady (again, I'm no doctor, but they don't sound like good things). Looking at old people reminds us of our mortality, and that is horrible. It unsettles us on a deep level to confront what inevitably becomes of us all, if death doesn't come first, and those are both pretty horrible concepts to be forced to face when you're young.

Also there's something really unpleasant about the way they eat soup, all slurping and stuff. Gives me the heebeejeebees. As an old person might say.

The Ravages of Age is probably the worst thing about old people. Not all of them are cantankerous assholes who are rude and hate the young. Some of them are sweet, grandparent types who give you a sweet and a tenner every time they see you even though you're nearly thirty now. Some of them are hilarious nutjobs with loads of cats that all the kids think are witches, and they're pretty fun, too. But even the ones who aren't terrible people or who are kind of a laugh to have on your street still have a touch of the Gollums when you look at them. And unless botox style technology really does improve a lot in the next 30-40 years, so will we.


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