Friday, July 18, 2008

That old man is me

I met an old man the other morning, one of my neighbours. He looks to be in his eighties, and although a little infirm (he walks with the aid of a crutch), seems in good health, and is obviously in great spirit.

The following is an approximation of the conversation which arose during our encounter - to fully set the scene, read the old man (OM) lines as if you're partially deaf, wearing dentures, and have a thick, rich, west of Ireland accent. You can do any voice you want for me (ME), I'm not too pushed. Although, I think the actor most suited to portray my rich, cultured tones would have to be Jeremy Irons. Jeremy, are you free?

OM: HELLO [imagine he's shouting for the rest of the dialogue, OK? I'm not writing all his lines in caps]
ME: hi, how are you?

OM: i've just walked a mile!
ME: a mile, you were lucky not to get wet.

[points at my sandals]

OM: look at your shoes, will you not be cold going outside in this weather?
ME: yeah, i'm just getting something from the car, i'm sure i'll be fine.
OM: the car? are you going for a drink?
ME: no, no, i'm not drinking.
OM: sure you can drink tomorrow, tomorrow's payday!
ME: yes. right so, see you later.

[brief interlude while i go to the boot of my car. return to the elevator, find OM just about to enter the lift. we get in together]

OM: what number are you?
ME: one for me.
OM: i'm on three.
ME: three?
OM: yes, three, i'm higher up than you!

[this exchange is just ending as we reach my floor. it's a short trip.]

ME: ok, nice to see you again.
OM: yes, goodbye john.

John? This is strange, and there are a number of possibilities: either a) he calls everyone John; b) he calls everyone he doesn't know John; c) there's someone else in the apartment building called john who looks remarkably similar to me; or, d) he remembers going for pints on payday with his friend John from many years before, and feels like a good reminisce. Whichever it is, I hope he's happy. I'm looking forward to our next chat. I wonder who I'll be then...

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