Archive for the '68 Years Old' Category

Sixty-Eight Year Old: Monsieur Louis

 

She lost no time in coming to the point. “I wanted to have a word with you about Phili.”

She was trembling. It’s horrible to know that one’s children are frightened of one. But at sixty-eight a man’s not free to decide whether he shall seem unapproachable or not. By that age the general cast of our features is set, and the heart, when it finds that it can no longer give expression to its feelings, grows discouraged… Geneviève  had decided what she wanted to say, and out it all came in a rush. … It had to do, as I had expected, with Phili’s buying a share in a Broker’s firm. She stressed the one point of all others best calculated to antagonize me – the fact that Phili’s having nothing to do was a constant threat to Janine’s married happiness. He was beginning to stray from the domestic hearth. I told her that a share in a Broker’s firm would merely serve to supply a man like her son-in-law with convenient alibis. She stood up for him. Phili was universally popular. Why should I be harder on him than Janine was? … I protested that I neither judged nor condemned him, that I took not the slightest interest in his love-life.

“Why should I bother about him? He certainly doesn’t bother about me.”

“He admires you enormously.”

This impudent lie gave me the chance to trot out what I was keeping up my sleeve.

“That’s as may be, my dear, but it doesn’t prevent you precious Phili from referring to me as the ‘old crocodile.’ It’s no good denying it. Many’s the time I’ve heard him say it behind my back … and I’ve no wish to deny the imputation: crocodile I am, and crocodile I shall remain. There’s nothing to hope for an old crocodile – except his death. And even when he’s dead” – I was foolish enough to add – “even when he’s dead, he can still be up to his old tricks.” (I’m sorry I said that: it only aroused her suspicions.)

François Mauriac , The Knot of Vipers

Published in: 68 Years Old | on March 6th, 2012 | No Comments »

Sixty-Eight Year Old: Agnes Trounce

So that’s right: the target is driving along without a care in the world. He may be whistling. Perhaps he is listening to music; and because he is driving some of his mind is just plugged into the city… He reaches the end of the side street and slows as he approaches the traffic lights that guard a main road. It is evening and the bloodbath of sunset is daubed over the rooftops. No, it is darker, and on its way to being a dark night. In front of him before the red light is a woodframed Morris Minor, gentlest of cars. The red light spells arterial warning; then red-amber; then green. And the Morris Minor backs into him – and stalls.

Mrs Agnes Trounce, a widow, sixty-eight years of age in a little-old-lady hat and a grey-white shawl (nice touch), climbs flusterdly from her car and turns towards the target with her eyes benign and pleading. He climbs out too. Well, these things happen. But you’d be surprised how impatient, how non-understanding, people can be in such circumstances. None of this ‘Dear oh dear – well, not to worry!’ It’s ‘What you doing on the road anyway, you fucking old cow?’ And this makes things easier for Agnes Trounce. Because then the two young men, big lads, who have been lying low in the back of the Morris suddenly extend their bodies into the street. Then it’s ‘You rammed my mum!’ Or, if you were using black talent, ‘You rammed my gran!’ and so on. ‘That’s my mum you’re fucking swearing at!’ Or ‘That’s my gran you’re calling a fucking old cow!’ Agnes Trounce gets back into her woody Morris and drives away. And the target’s head, by this time, is jerking and crunching around between the door and the door frame. It was just a motoring dispute that got out of hand and you know how people are about their cars.

Martin Amis, The Information

Published in: 68 Years Old | on March 6th, 2012 | 1 Comment »