I call one of my oldest and closest friends. ‘So you see,’ I begin. ‘I was queuing to get my Young Person’s railcard replaced.’
She interrupts me. ‘You’re not a young person,’ she says baldly. I am shocked into silence.
I have no pithy comeback. I have entirely forgotten the point of my story. (I am aware that a lack of wit and memory are not imperative in the old, but nevertheless, it’s not a great sign). ‘Well,’ I say finally. ‘I did not expect this.’ (I genuinely did not. I was calling mostly to check my friend hadn’t gotten better Christmas presents than me). I finish talking to my friend and put the matter out of my mind entirely. (She got a handbag, but I got new shoes and two dresses, so I think it’s OK).
A few days later I am calling a different friend about tights. ‘I’m wearing a navy blue skirt,’ I tell her proudly. My friend is a little confused, but congratulates me politely. ‘And I’m wondering what colour tights I’m meant to wear?’
‘Oh,’ my friend replies, relieved. ‘Black is perfectly fine.’ (I think she was a little worried I was now going to call every morning for approbation on getting dressed by myself). ‘In fact,’ she continued. ‘Black and navy are very chic. What time are you getting to the pub?’ ‘Well,’ I say graciously. ‘Now that you’ve sorted out this tights thing for me, I can be there whenever you’d like.’ My friend explains that the ‘grown-ups’ will be there from 6.30 til 8pm, and that we can come whenever we’d like. ‘Um,’ I begin tentatively. ‘You do know that we are grown-ups?’ My first friend was right. I’m not a young person. I quietly pull on my thick black tights and pop along to the pub at 6.30.