I guess no one really knows when middle age starts or ends. There’s probably too many variables involved and since most, if not all of us, come from varying sets of circumstances, it probably begins and ends differently for all of us. In my instance, I thought I’d try and dissect the opening lines from Paul Simon’s tune “Call Me Al” as they apply to me and my assault or retreat from middle age.
A man walks down the street
Usually it occurs when the weather is too shitty to drive and I don’t trust my car or reflexes but I feel the need to get out of the house and ease my sense of cabin fever. So, it’s with a sense of purpose that I bundle myself up against the elements and make my way out the door towards familiar pastures and friendly faces.
He says why am I soft in the middle now, why am I soft in the middle? The rest of my life is so hard.
It isn’t the walk “to” my local watering hole that bothers me. That’s mostly downhill and since it’s only about a mile or so away from my house I can do it with a bounce in my step and without breaking a sweat. The walk home is another story. It’s mostly uphill and I find myself stopping every now and then to catch my breath or let the cramps that developed in my legs subside.
I need a photo-opportunity, I want a shot at redemption
And while I’m standing there I’m left only with my thoughts. I think and reflect upon where my life is right now and I’m always left to wonder about the might have beens. I think of opportunities that were lost either to laziness or indifference on my part. Some of that is probably the booze doing the talking but I can’t shut it out or off. Echoes suck. After a few minutes or so, it’s time to trudge on.
Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard
And then it’s time to stop again to try and catch my breath. During that time I wonder how my obit will read or who, if anybody, is willing to deliver my eulogy. Maybe I should take a look at my will and make any last minute adjustments before I keel over for good. Shit, if that happens at home, I just hope that somebody finds me before I get to stinking too bad or my cats look at me as a source of food rather than just a provider. That would be ugly, not to mention, pretty damn embarrassing.
Bonedigger, Bonedigger, dogs in the moonlight
I take some brief comfort in knowing that I won’t be buried in the ground. I’ve already willed my body to science so that little detail has been taken care of. I can see the lights of my house glittering in the distance and they seem to be calling me home.
Far away my well-lit door, Mr. Beerbelly, Beerbelly, get these mutts away from me,
And then I get my second wind and with a sense of determination I didn’t know I had left in me, I try to cover the last quarter mile or so without stopping. I don’t need my neighbors peering out their door or window wondering what the fuck Mr. Borgo is doing standing in the middle of the street at some ungodly hour with snow falling all around him. Is he really just standing there talking to himself?
You know I don't find this stuff amusing anymore.
And I don’t. I’ve had my fair share of scrapes with death and even though it’s been awhile since the last time, the threat still lingers. I don’t know when my version of middle age began or when it will ever end. I try to think of myself as still being young but that maybe that applies to the state of my mind rather than my physical well being. Has my body betrayed me or have I betrayed it?
I guess only time will tell.
Submitted in conjunction with INMEDIARES: a Quest in the middle of things.