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Life

Four-ty
What dignity I had evaporated in a cloud of shame this morning

 

July 11, 2005
iranian.com

Sometimes I sit and stare out of a window wondering what it might be like to be fifty. I turned forty last April, and although I don't have any regrets worth writing about, I am becoming aware that I also haven't got too much time to waste. For example, we are not living in our dream home yet. We should be, and we could have been if we hadn't wasted so much money over the last ten years, but we simply can't afford to move to a bigger home with off-street parking and five plus bedrooms.

So I sit staring out of a window wondering what I have achieved. Two beautiful sons and an amazing wife to begin with. I also have become a minor legend in my own lunch time: I was, after all, spotted by an Iranian.com reader in San Francisco a few weeks ago. But, broadly speaking that's about it.

My father-in-law sums it up my reality:

"You have nothing. No savings, huge debts and you're not getting any younger."

I try to explain that he can't include my mortgage in my 'huge debts', but he won't listen.

At least I have my dignity, I console myself. But what dignity I had evaporated in a cloud of shame this morning. Varinder asked me to go to our local supermarket and get some milk for the boys. I had no time to shower so I quickly washed my face and ran out of the house. As I got to my car I was stopped by Mr. Singh who lives opposite our street. His being a Sikh, like my in-laws, means I feel obliged to stop and say hello.

"Tell me," he asked, "how much did you pay per week for your skip?" (We are having our kitchen extended and have had a skip outside for nearly three months.)

"I don't know because our builder has paid for it." I explained.

He then looked at me square in the face for the first time. There was a pregnant pause, a brief smile and then he looked the other way.

"See you soon." He said with his back to me.

I threw myself into the car and as I turned the ignition key I did something I always do: look in the rear view mirror to check my hair. That is when I saw it. Nestled under my nose and above my top lip was a Hitler mustache proportioned bogie, grass green in colour and glistening.

So there we have it. Aged forty, father of two beautiful boys, but with snot on my top lip. Dignity all gone. My next life objective is to act my age.

About
Siamack Salari is CEO of Everyday Lives, recording human behavior for commercial marketing.

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