We all reach a point where we can feel our body’s starting to give out on us. A moment where we really do start to feel old. I’m not talking liver spots and Seborrheic warts here. Or your back cracking soon as you get up in the morning. Nothing as obvious as that. I’m talking subtle things that have crept up on you.
A couple of evenings ago, I got caught in a torrential downpour in south London and I realised that once again my trainers laces were dragging on the ground and soaked. This was never me. I grew up in Lambeth, a borough whose streets are so dirty you learn from a young age never to throw a snowball when the snow comes. I always knew – once I eventually learned (right before secondary school) to tie up laces – that in south London, you do up your laces real tight.
I looked at why was this happening to me. It didn’t take me long to conclude that it’s because I’m not getting down low enough to tie my laces because crouching down is just that little bit more of an effort these days. But then I took it further. Because given my OCDs about cleanliness and removing footwear soon as I’m indoors, I am aware of keeping my laces tight and short. I treat every street, no matter where I might be, like it’s Lambeth.
I realised it’s also down to accommodation, more specifically, shrinking accommodation. Smaller hallways make it less easy to get down in addition to no longer being as sprightly as I once was. Communal living is also an issue. If you flat share or lodge with your landlord, and if you’re a misanthrope like me, you’re ideally looking for somewhere with a big, easy to negotiate hallway so as to avoid being drawn into conversations with your landlord or flat mates.
I realised that this slackness with the shoe laces is partly down to age but also down to having got into the habit of hurrying up my lace tying because a significant chunk of the recession years werespent living in people’s houses – there’s every chance I might have lived with you – and you know, that was a struggle for someone with as limited a personality as mine. When I was leaving those houses, I just wanted to get my shoes on and go.