Do you remember when this blog used to be about the kids? Nope, me neither. I should probably just change its name from The Tales of Sonny and Luca to The Miserable Mutterings of a Middle-aged Man and be done with it, although to be fair, if they want to play a larger part in the blog they could try taking their faces out of a screen once in a while and communicating. There’s only so much you can write about them stomping upstairs and eating bogeys.
*Makes mental note to write a post about them stomping upstairs and eating bogeys.
This post is about middle-aged spread, which apparently is something that hangs heavy over my belt and not a buffet with pineapple and cheese on sticks as I’d always assumed.
There’s a lovely old lady I pass most days on my way home from the school run. We always stop and swap pleasantries. It’s the same conversation each time. We discuss the weather, she tells me how her daffodils are doing, then she looks me up and down and asks after my cholesterol? It’s unnerving. It’s as if she knows something I don’t and I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t impacted on my consumption of bacon butties.
Far be it from me to tell the NHS how to spend their budget but they could do much worse than hire an army of old people to randomly comment on the girth of any middle-aged man they pass. It works!
We normally pass in opposite directions but last week we were heading the same way so our conversation extended beyond the usual daffodils and cholesterol. She clearly has no idea who I am, but that’s by the by because I enjoy our chats as much as she does. And besides, for the last couple of years I’ve been saying hello to someone I thought was a neighbour, only to recently walk past that very neighbour yards after saying hello to his doppelgänger, so who am I to comment.
Anyway, what troubled me wasn’t anything that was said in our extended conversation, it was the fact we had one at all. You see, she was walking back from the shops, I was running!? I should have passed her in a blur, and yet somehow she was able to not only strike up a conversation as I stumbled past but prolong it!
Yep. I run at the same pace as that of an old lady with a dicky leg carrying two bags of shopping! I tried to speed up, genuinely I did, but my middle-age spread was having none of it.
And herein lies the problem.
Each time I run it’s like my thighs have become petulant teenagers. My middle-age spread tries to wake them up from a twenty year slumber but they just pull the covers up further and roll over with a grunt of ‘leave me alone, I’m too tired!’
My groin, and I kid you not, has a hissy fit of a twinge if I so much as suggest we’re going out for a run. Not during or after, BEFORE!
And I’ve somehow strained a muscle in my backside that you won’t find on your common-or-garden anatomy diagram. I’m no medical expert but I think I may have tweaked my lazyarseia.
To be honest, all this shouldn’t really have come as a surprise. A few weeks ago I tried using Spotify Run which chooses tracks to match your pace. I was expecting some Drum and Bass. Maybe a little Prodigy. Possibly Muse. What I got was Al Green. Al pissin’ Green!? You see, even Spotify is mocking my middle-aged spread!
But it’s not only my legs that are buckling under the weight of my waistline. Now my shoulder has gone, too. I can only assume from stretching over to laugh at my knees.
Given it wasn’t your obvious running injury I took this complaint to the doctors. I was hoping she’d tell me it was a cold shoulder as this was the only opinion proffered by Google that didn’t end in imminent death. But what she actually diagnosed me with was something altogether more troubling and unexpected. Apparently I’m suffering from … wait for it … middle-age!
Her exact words. Middle. Age.
OK, so she softened the blow a little by first calling it Painful Arc Syndrome, which if you’re thinking this sounds obviously made up and the middle-aged man’s equivalent to ‘having the sniffles’ or ‘ah, diddums’, you’re probably right, but what matters is she qualified her diagnosis with, and I quote,
“… brought on my middle-age”.
Middle-age! I’m only …. ah.
It was a real kick in the teeth, which is ironic given that’s the only part of my body not currently aching.
My initial reaction was to demand a second opinion, but when I looked down my middle-aged spread was nodding in agreement. A third opinion maybe? Middle-age can only be definitively diagnosed by a specialist, surely? Not necessary, because right on cue in walked that specialist, in the form of a pair of red socks, and there can be no more damning evidence of middle-age than noticing you’re wearing red socks.
I didn’t need any more evidence than that, which just made Sonny’s remark of ‘so you’re just old?’ all the more galling.
But she wasn’t finished there. Oh no, she followed up her diagnosis by saying she doubts it’s arthritis, which should have been reassuring had she not done so with the line,
“I’m pretty sure it’s not arthritis, not at …… your age”.
See that? The pause between ‘not at’ and ‘your age’. An unnecessarily prolonged pause during which she looked at my medical records and markedly changed her tone from confident to non committal.
She then asked if anywhere else ached. My response was not one of my proudest moments. You see, I do have aches beyond my legs. My middle fingers. I suspect it’s from the way I hold my phone. I could have told her this. I could have explained it verbally, which to be fair I did, only it was accompanied by me raising both my middle fingers aloft. And only my middle fingers.
Basically what I’d done was react to being diagnosed as middle-aged with an obscene hand gesture. A big ‘Middle-aged? F*ck you!’ of a hand gesture.
It took me a few seconds to realise what I’d done, by which point she’d opened the door and was ushering me out, ashamed and with my tail firmly between my legs.
At least I assume it was. What with my Painful Arc Syndrome and middle-age spread it’s hard to know what’s happening behind my back these days.