With ageing comes the inevitable increase in both frequency and urgency to seek the friendly embrace and comfort of a toilet. We all know that, except of course to the foolish young, cavorting under strobe lights and indulgencies of frequencies of a different kind, but still involving bodily functions.
The first thing to do when changing address is to reconnoitre thoroughly the availability of public toilets. I did, and now can safely go for walks without the hand-held GPS for finding, just in case mind you, a nice toilet. The first one is within coohey of our place at the hallowed grounds of The Bradman Oval, The International Hall of Cricket Fame. The toilets are utterly original, sparkling clean and with normal taps (thank God). I often relish the idea, that on the very seat I am squatting, Bradman might well have s(h)at as well. It always gives my day a pleasant tinge. A kind of good and wholesome, optimistic start, how can any day go wrong now, I ponder?
Between our house and the other side of Bowral runs a small river with a concrete footpath parallel with it. Even though it is just a few hundred metres from the main street, it could be miles away. It is a beautiful walk, the river alive with ducks and their ducklings. I take this walk along the creek every day with of course the manic Milo, straining at the leash almost pulling me along to the other side of the creek, totally disregarding my endless urgings of ‘nice walking Milo’, ‘good boy Milo’ and above all ‘no pulling Milo’.
Yesterday, about half way and just after some rain I noticed an elderly man lying in the grass near the water, trying to get up. He also had a small dog, a poodle and a walking stick. He was struggling so I helped him up. He told me he had no feelings in the bottom halves of his legs but also told me ‘I walk for miles every day’. He spoke well and I inquired if he needed some help to get back to his house. ‘I’ll be alright, thank you kindly’, he said, so I left it at that. I thought he might have been in his eighties, perhaps a retired pilot. There seems to be a plethora of retired pilots living here. Perhaps they like to retire higher up. We are about 750 metres above sea level.
Anyway, on my return I noticed him still walking along slowly and on his mobile phone. With the previous feeling of optimism and the pleasant reflection on Bradman and the possibility of having shared the same toilet seat, the mood became somewhat more melancholic. Were the walking days of this elderly gentleman coming to an end? I still have an almost Emil Zátopek zeal in thinking my walking days will go on indefinitely but no doubt so did the elderly gent (without feelings in his lower legs). Was it seeping away from him now?
Sadly, I could not come up with a better solution than the idea that the ‘seeping away towards the end’ will come to all of us, even to those that are now hopping and shimmering around underneath strobe lights to wild tempestuous music.
Enjoy the day. It might never end.