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Missing the point

Arthur Nelson on another staging post to decrepitude

Over the weekend we had a visit from my brother’s family. Upon their arrival drinks were served and we sat out on the terrace in the surprisingly warmish November sunshine to catch up with each other’s news. After the more voluble had given us their potted summaries, I turned to my younger nephew Paul – the diffident one – and sought to bring him into the conversation by enquiring about how things were going after his first few weeks at university.

Said youngster reported that, after a somewhat shaky start, he was now thoroughly enjoying student life.

He gave a few details, including the fact he was in a house-share of seven – five boys and two girls – which set-up had been a bit of an eye-opener. There was only one individual who didn’t really fit in [there’s always one, isn’t there?].

Said ‘outsider’ was one of the girls. She was in her mid-twenties, a bit older than the others. It seemed that her personal habits were stricter and less ‘live and let live’ than those of her companions. In a few short days she had become unpopular but didn’t seem to care – she was not slow in complaining openly and loudly about house matters than she found unacceptable and/or not up to scratch.

I decided to mount a gentle probe.

“What sort of things?” I enquired.

Paul took a moment, presumably to choose one of many, before responding.

“Well, for example, this week she really went berserk at one of the guys for leaving his pants in the kitchen sink overnight.”

I paused for effect. “To be honest with you, I think I’m probably on her side with that one …”

There followed ten seconds’ worthy of exchange of further and better particulars and then much hilarity all round.

It transpired that Paul had actually said that one of the guys had left his pans in the kitchen sink overnight, not his pants.

I think it’s about two years since I last went to my GP and had a nurse’s appointment to get my ear wax syringed out.

Either that or my hearing is beginning to go. I say that because, comparing notes with my other brother a few weeks ago, we agreed that – at lively social functions – these days we are both finding it increasingly difficult to hear what’s being said to us against a hubbub of background noise.


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About Arthur Nelson

Looking forward to his retirement in 2015, Arthur has written poetry since childhood and regularly takes part in poetry workshops and ‘open mike’ evenings. More Posts