Age, the thieving bastard…

AGE has stolen more than my digestion.

It’s purloined my dreams, too. And I don’t mean dreams as in that silly idea about sailing around the world single handed.

It wasn’t age that stole that one. It was indolence and cowardice.

The dreams I’m talking about are the ones that used to turn up when I was asleep – and younger.

One of them was about flying. I mean, I was able to fly in it. I felt very privileged. You may not know this, but dreaming of flying is one of the few dreams that leaves the dreamer with a sense of extraordinary wellbeing – and normally it’s only kids that get it.

I, however, was blessed with it until I was about 45. (My wife says that doesn’t surprise her at all, but that’s not the point). The point is: it’s gone. It got up and flew, and all I’m left with is a 2am desperation to go to the lavatory.

But there are other dreams. Or there were…

Whatever happened to the one where an aircraft is about to drop on you, and you can’t get up and run away? What about the one where you’re out for a stroll and you need to go the lavatory so you take a pee behind a tree? Except that you’re not out for a stroll and it’s not a tree – you’re in bed and it’s a mattress.

And the one where you’re milling around in the school playground when you realise you left your trousers at home?

These aren’t even good dreams. They’re the kind of dreams that leave you sweating, and teeth marks in the pillow (like the one about the girl who lived up the road, but that’s another story).

The point is they were mine! Some of them might have been more like nightmares, but they belonged to me!

And now they’ve gone.

Age, the thieving bastard, has nicked them. Like so many other things: the ability to take the stairs two at a time, for instance, or to hold a fart in until you’re on your own.

It’s no wonder old people get paranoid about burglary. You go to bed with vitality and, if not exactly youth, then at least a very strong memory of it, and in the morning someone’s switched it for a baggy skin, a swollen prostate, and a vague and unquenchable hunger for something you know you had last night, but whatever it was, it’s gone!

Age is theft.

Kids get visited by the tooth fairy, who takes teeth and leaves money. Old people get visited by the middle-age fairy, who takes your middle age and leaves hairs in your ears, and up your nose, and eye-brows like a lantana thicket.

I was going to leave a note, demanding my dreams back, but I know what will happen. They won’t leave the flying dream, or the one with the girl who lived up the road.

They’ll leave the one with the stroll and the tree.