Monday, 18 June 2007

Concessionary Bus Pass

I was reluctant to get a bus pass. The very words ‘bus pass’ remind me of blue rinsed ladies, in gabardine macks, carry large shopping bags, elbowing passengers out of the way to get their free ride. Besides, I don't use buses. I drive. But, Lizzy pointed out, it’s good for identification. “Oh yes, if I want a cheap perm or Marcel wave on pensioners’ day at the salon, it’ll be very handy.”
“Don’t mock,” Lizzy said. “When you finish work and have to rely on a pension you’ll be glad of it. You can get cheap rates at the cinema, or 10% off at B&Q on Wednesday, and some restaurants do OAP specials, but you usually have to eat before 6.o'clock.”
“Well sure, the elderly have to eat early, don't they? Otherwise they get indigestion. Oh! The possibilities are endless,” I said.
“And because you don’t look sixty, you’ll need to prove your age,”
“Very flattering,” I said. But somehow I didn’t feel flattered.

After feasting at the Hungry Buddha, Lizzy accompanied me to the Link offices, where I sat looking sheepish, opposite a pleasant young woman who wouldn’t believe I was sixty.
“There you go,” Lizzy said, “That’s why you need a bus pass.”

I didn’t have a passport photo, so Lizzy had cut out a glamorous looking snap from my sixtieth party. With my perfectly styled hair, makeup and false eyelashes, I looked even less like a sixty-year-old. I had that unreal feeling again. Same as my party. As though I was an onlooker at the event, and not physically there. I'm not really sixty I wanted to say, I'm just pretending.

“You can apply for a rail card, which gives you a third off rail travel,” the young woman said, bringing me back to reality.
“I’d use that for visiting Kathryn in London. In fact she is taking me to the Spa at Bath in July for my sixtieth gift. I’ll get a reduction on that," I said, signing the form, saying goodbye to middle age.
Lizzy smiled contentedly. "You’re a senior citizen, now,” she said. “It’s official.”

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Attwood

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