I’ve noticed the signs of middle-age creeping in for a while: sometimes I make a little noise when I get up; sometimes I might hobble for a few steps; I might even tut at loud music. Me! Can you imagine? And don’t ask me to sit cross-legged. All of these things are fine and natural, but there’s something I’ve noticed myself doing of late that’s, well, worrying.
We have a dog. A lovely dog. Dudley. He gets three walks a day apart from when it’s just too hot for him, so we’re often out and about. Sometimes when we have to cross a road a driver will slow and flash their lights or motion that it’s OK for us to proceed: carry on, you go ahead, please do – that sort of thing. Here’s where it’s started to get weird.
There was a time when I’d simply wave a casual thank-you and walk across the road. I mean, that’s the end of the relationship, right? I’ve been given the green light by a considerate motorist to pass without fear of being knocked to the ground. But instead of simply crossing what I increasingly seem compelled to do is give a splayed-fingered, Mr Blobby-type wave and do this strange, long-legged lope across the road, as if, ye gads, I must get out of the way as quickly as possible even though my safe passage is guaranteed. It’s like some theatrical demonstration of my immense gratitude towards this considerate driver.
I’ve seen people adopt this weird gait myself and wondered what on Earth was the matter with them. It’s always come across as a bit theatrical and unnecessary. Why don’t you just walk, I thought? Why the silly dance? But now I’m doing it. And let’s face it, there are many alternatives. I could give a casual thumbs-up, maybe even from the hip. Or a cheery salute: nice one, Captain. I could even cock a finger-gun, wink and strut across the road like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever – “you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk…” etc. Dudley would love that. But for some reason Lionel bloody Blair’s taking over.
I have no idea what’s bought this on this flamboyant gesture. Flamboyant is not a word anyone would use in a description of me. Ask my wife. Ask anyone. To me, “flamboyant” suggests a cravat and stripy blazer, and I’m not that person. At least not yet. But maybe, just maybe, with a little practise and some tight-around-the-arse-fit flairs, I could be John Travolta.
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive…