The days when I believed that being in receipt of my free bus pass was some compensation for growing old, were short lived. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to pay full fares for the rest of my life, in exchange for the return of the fresh bloom of my youth. Creaking bones, failing eyesight, slack skin and memory loss are too high a price to pay for free travel. Yes, getting old has little to recommend it. And the need to nod off all over the place is both embarrassing and time-wasting.
Nevertheless, putting aside the physical disintegration, there are a few advantages for us ‘wrinklies’. For example: as long as I am neither hurtful nor unkind, I can say whatever I please without worrying what people might think. I can wear whatever I like, unsaddled by fashion or etiquette, and my pension certainly frees me to pursue all the things I have longed to do whilst being more selective about work.
But, better than all this is the unexpected rediscovery of the joy of my beautiful bed. It is my throne; my anchor. It is my cosy comfort; my playground; and, once a fortnight, offers me the sheer joy of slipping into those lovely, still warm but less starchy ‘second day sheets’. It is a place where I can read or write; I can doze or sleep; I can snuggle and cuddle; I can stretch out or curl up. I can fart! Yes, I can do anything I wish. For why on earth, (or any other planet, come to that) is it that we need to be vertical for so much of the time? How well I remember the days when going to bed was a chore; an interruption, imposed by well-intentioned parents who mistakenly thought that ten hours sleep was essential. Radio Luxembourg under the bedclothes was alright, but how much clearer it would have been out in the open, and reading by torchlight must have contributed to poor eyesight in later life. Moreover, surely threatening early bedtime as a punishment did nothing, at the time, to improve its image. In fact, its only advantage was that it allowed one to get fully dressed under the warmth of the blankets before facing the freezing bedroom, which in those days, enjoyed no central heating. As a teenager, at last I had a little more say in how much time I spent in the sack, although I was constantly chastised for ‘lying in’ for far too long. To this day, I question who made the decision as to which of the twenty four hours should be prescribed as ‘sleep’ time?
But hey, leaving home, going to bed took on an entirely new, and far more attractive meaning. Sleep be damned! It became a sports field, a recreation ground for naughty nights, and certainly the most exciting classroom I have ever known. Ten hours sleep? I think not. Oh, for the return of those Halcyon days!
Over the years I have shared my bed with lovers, husbands, children, grandchildren and, at the moment, with my cat. I may share it again with any of these in the future, who knows? But for now, one thing is certain. I am in love with my bed. Truly, madly, deeply!