A group of us at the Miramar Beach were discussing what advantages there were to growing old. Having touched on the disadvantages, which seemed legion, we felt it was time to cheer ourselves up a bit.
“Well, for me” opened Ramesh, “the greatest advantage is that very little embarrasses me now. I was a self-conscious young man, I was certain I was different from others in some terrible way, and I felt people laughed behind my back”.
We began to elaborate upon the theme. “I never used to get, too close to people”, said Irene, dropping her face, “because I felt my breath smelt. Some days I gargled several times” went on she, “I’ve also crooked front teeth and was conscious, so I got in the habit of never smiling or laughing, which must have looked very odd. Maturity has certainly freed me of this guilt.”
“When I was young, I made a lot of noise whilst eating”, Tony came out abruptly. “I thought everyone could hear me, as I sounded like a cement mixer. I still do, but I’ve stopped worrying about it. My wife had a go at me the other day: By God, Tony, must you make that dreadful squelching sound when you eat?” I snapped, “I’d been meaning to say the same thing to you for ages”, which obviously made them both think.
The thing is, eating noises are usually inaudible around a crowded, noisy table, but later when the nest gets empty and there are just the two of you, hardly communicating, the process can be quite noisy.
This quite naturally brought the conversation round to things that still embarrass us, despite our age-related self-confidence. “Well,” Alvaro 79, not out, pointed out, “I’m afraid of stumbling in the street, I feel so foolish especially when I am on my own. I just pretend that nothing is happening and try not to catch anyone’s eye”.
“My memory is fast fading”, said Sunita, who lives close to the beach.” The other evening, I was stressed out and came to the beach to chill out. I parked my scooter at St. Anthony’s Circle. Next morning going out to get milk, I realised that the scooter was not in its usual place. Many thoughts went in my mind, then I remembered and I literally flew to the beach and found the vehicle sitting pretty, I thanked St. Anthony profusely.
It went on and on, but it was a very reassuring and ultimately cathartic conversation. When we parted company with Ate Amanha, we knew a lot more about one another and the warmth we felt towards one another was a fitting reward for our self-revelations.