With mirth and laughter…
Many years ago I was on holiday in Brussels with la famille. We often took the Metro to visit the sights on offer and, whilst at one stop, a very elderly couple got on. Our carriage had standing room only and no-one offered them their seats, so I motioned to Firstborn and suggested that we stand and give them ours.
The couple were both wizened and, I suspect, neither was used to the locals offering-up their seats. They had heard me speaking in English and the lady said ‘thank you’ in what seemed to be the only English that she knew, possibly learned from a film adaptation of Dickens or from Eliza Doolittle before she met ‘enry ‘iggins.
So, that is how I came to be addressed by an elderly, petite Belgian woman, speaking English with a Cockney accent, as she said “Gawd bless you, sir”. It made my day!
In contrast, my day was ‘unmade’ yesterday as I stood in a crowded bus travelling down Union Street in Aberdeen. I know the young woman meant well when she offered me her seat, but my angst must have been clear as I politely declined whilst thinking to myself, “Surely I don’t look THAT old!”.
It was a ‘first’, but I’m also vain enough to hope that it was also the ‘last’ for a very long time!
Here’s the limerick:
I’m grey-haired, but not lacking conceit,
And was happy to stay on my feet
So a young lass was told,
“I’m not really THAT old!”
When she got up to offer her seat!
Postscript: the header to this post comes from lines in The Merchant of Venice where Gratiano proclaims:
“Let me play the fool.
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
And let my liver rather heat with wine
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans”.
Amen to that!