It’s all about time

It’s May. Already. You can see what we old people are up against, can’t you?

It’s May. Already. You can see what we old people are up against, can’t you? I still have my Christmas lights up in the living room. It is ridiculous how time flies. When I think of the longeurs of my childhood and marriage, and compare it with how days whizz past now that I am old, I think something is seriously wrong. I would like some first-class research into this.

To conservatives time is not so important. They have chosen to catch up slowly. I could give you a lifetime of examples. Radicals are always as anxious about the rapid passage of time as by the need for reforms. Old age brings us together in a rebellion against time. We want to stop the ruddy clocks. It’s not reform or the old ways we seek so much as reprieve. No wonder some of us rejoice when the clocks are seasonally put back. We are snatching a bit more life until next summer. Oh festina lente. Well this is not going to get the baby a new bonnet, as my father used to say. The year is almost half gone and I must accept it. My favorite mystery writer Hazel Holt has but one device for moving her characters on from one place or conversation to the next. She has them say: “Goodness, is that the time?” This is my mantra now, except that I don’t move on much. It is interesting that Lewis Carroll wrote that he intended his White Rabbit obsessively checking his watch in Alice, to be elderly. I am truly transfixed by the thought that yesterday was New Year and today is May. Goodness, is that the month? Not that the young don’t have their little time quirks, as shown in some of their metaphors. I read this hilarious comment on old age in a newspaper recently: “The ticking time bomb of an ageing population has begun its slow motion detonation throughout the Budget.” (Interesting metrically, too.) I do fancy the idea of being part of a Budget time bomb. Tick, ticking away until dimwit politicians wake up, pale and scared. I feel like putting my head around a Hockey/Sinodinos Budget pow-wow room, and saying, “Boo!.” How quaint the young are when talking about old age. “Hey folks, grandma’s ticking…” When I am ignored in queues now I go “tick, tick, tick…” I have found it attracts attention to me and my insolent occupation of space and sometimes gets me to the head of the queue. Presumably before I detonate. Slowly. The same writer said, “Nobody likes getting old”. I am afraid she might find that the old prefer getting old to being young and crass. And anyway, we are in a position to judge, and the young writer plainly is not. ***** Attacks on the ABC are ridiculous. It doesn’t have enough captioning, but apart from that it is amazing what it does with its few quid grudgingly tossed its way. It is not for everyone. Pop music, funeral fund ads and shock jocks, are not for everybody either, but so long as they don’t monopolise the airwaves, I won’t be asking for them to be removed. Yes, we are a minority, but we may be a minority that knows what comes after ABC (oh, that upset you, didn’t it?). And which cares about language and quality drama, news and lively but serious discussion in which many points of view are represented. And music: ancient, romantic, classical and modern. I hear quite a bit of quality light music on the ABC. People who know and love good music don’t much care about labels. But I don’t hear much “classical music” on the commercial stations. And SBS is a truly wonderful TV broadcaster. Australia has every reason to be proud of it, not to starve it of funds. (Did you see the wonderful programme on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon last month?) I suppose some people might think I have damned it with the praise of an old person. But there are a lot of us old persons about. Didn’t you read what the writer quoted above said: we’re a ticking time bomb, a “population”? Leave us our publicly funded broadcasters or we will explode. Slowly. @mollyfisher4

Adelaide In-depth

Get the latest stories, insights and exclusive giveaways delivered straight to your inbox every week.