One of the more frustrating aspects of getting older is the way time becomes distorted.
A simple task like making the day’s first cup of tea can take as long as four hours.
Really. Let me explain.
You drag your wrinkled carcass out of bed and into your dressing gown, then make your bleary way to the kitchen and fill the kettle.
Of course, running water triggers a predictable response, so you shuffle into the washroom to perform your duty.
Now, any woman who has raised sons — or a husband — can tell you that male aim is erratic at best. But with shaky hands and sleep-blurred eyesight, that first tinkle becomes what poets call the stream of unconsciousness.
Instantly, your naked foot is surrounded by a warm puddle. In a panic, you grab the nearest absorbent thing — that lilac guest towel with the embroidered roses — and mop up the spill.
You give your hands a perfunctory wash, dry them on your dressing gown, then hasten to the laundry room to destroy the evidence.
Conscience reminds you not to waste water on one little lilac towel, so you empty the hamper and put in a reasonable-sized load — sorting whites from coloureds first, of course.
While the washer fills, you go back to the kitchen, only to find the front right burner glowing cherry red. The kettle is on the back right burner.
Mindful of Grandma’s old saw about watched pots never boiling, you move it, then decide to fill the time by checking the latest online news.
The situation is dire, as usual.
For a diversion, you open Facebook to check the latest posts from the grandkids. Inevitably, this leads to a raft of YouTube clips, each guaranteed to be the funniest thing you’ve ever seen.
You vaguely remember the kettle, but right now the most urgent matter is a quick Google search to find out who the heck Iggy Azalea is, anyway, and whether twerking the same thing as tweeting?
Apparently it isn’t.
You return to the kitchen, to find the kettle happily perched on the front right burner — which you’ll swear you had left on. You hadn’t. But now you do turn it on.
By this time, the final rinse cycle has ended. You proceed to move the load of laundry to the dryer, which happens to be already bulging with well-fluffed clothes.
Being a good citizen, you fold them meticulously and head to the bedroom to put them away and get dressed.
Just as you’re tucking in your shirt, your daughter calls from Winnipeg to say she’s pregnant. Again. With twins. Again. And can she borrow some money, because that deadbeat she lives with has put the rent money up his nose. Again.
En route to the computer to check your bank balance, a strange smell wafts your way from the kitchen. The kettle has boiled completely dry.
Damn. Now you really, really want a cup of tea. So you re-fill the kettle, put it on the stove and carefully turn on the proper burner. You double-check. Yes, you’ve done everything right this time, you clever geezer.
That’s when the doorbell rings. You go down to sign for a parcel from Sears. As luck would have it, the delivery guy turns out to be a former neighbour.
It would be rude not to ask what he’s up to these days. So you do.
In excruciating detail, he proceeds to tell you all about his rock band, his Camaro, his kids, his divorce, and his candid thoughts about fracking.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen…