I was making croutons for the ceasar salad, for the lunch I’d invited my new colleagues to at our house this morning, damp tea-towel flung across my shoulders, when I said ‘f–k’ to myself. Just before that, I’d been inscribing and addressing Christmas cards to a few friends, for what was basically the first time in my life. In a couple, I’d added as a postscript ‘When the hell did I become this adult?’ and now here I was, puttering and polishing the grime off the salt and pepper shakers.
I’m trying to age gracefully. I’m neither Updike’s Rabbit, nor the amusingly and serendipitously named Charlie Stavros
but I surprise myself sometimes, that a rough-cut boozehound like myself, all scarred and grizzled from mapcap adventures a-plenty, veteran of cliffhangers and close shaves galore, can find himself so happily domesticated, whistling the Montovani Orchestra’s version of ‘Uncle f–ka’ as he whips up some salad dressing in the kitchen.
At least until he realizes what he’s doing, balks briefly, and then as a sort of sympathetic magic, while the wife is off at the shops, cranks up Black Flag’s Damaged, and continues his happy homely activity, with just a bit more animation.