Thursday, September 07, 2006

What If We Give It Away?

I have a new profile photo. I'm still looking irritated, because the passing years have not been kind to me. A couple of weeks ago I went to give blood at the Bishopsgate Institute. This is not an exercise I enjoy, it hurts, and the rewards are somewhat abstract, unless you count the biscuits and weak squash available after your donation.

The phlebotomist asks me my name and date of birth.

"Tom Miles, third of May, nineteen seventy-one," I tell her. She's young and attractive and slightly offhand. She has short dreadlocks which she swishes for emphasis.
"Three days before mine," she says. I laugh a small uncomfortable laugh. She looks young enough to be, well, my significantly younger sister. If I were black. I can't help but ask:-
"Nineteen seventy-one?" She nods. Having already, actually stabbed me in the arm she has now poked a metaphorical needle into my heart. I murmur something feeble along the lines of "You look very well on it," and she smiles in a way that makes it perfectly clear that she's thinking "And you really don't." She doesn't say it aloud, at least. She swishes off instead to attend to another donor, in that young, attractive, offhand way of hers.

I pout at her when she comes to remove the needle, but then thank her (for hurting me and siphoning away my lifeforce!) and hobble off towards the refreshment table, silent and aggrieved.

3 comments:

Cape Codder said...

How old were you when the other picture was taken? Not to say that you look bad in this one but it is totally different! =)

Tom Miles said...

It was taken long enough ago to be in black-and-white.

In the meantime I've stopped smoking, cut my hair, got married, misplaced a couple of parents and discovered a daughter. My research into the elixir of youth has stalled somewhat.

JD said...

Tom, I'm just about a year older than you (April 5, 1970).

My mother has an enormous, gold-gilded, framed college portrait of me on her wall. The photo was taken 15 years ago -- and as you might imagine, I look quite different now than I did then. For one, I've shed the huge permed hair (thank Pod). But the funny thing is, I look at that picture every time I visit and recognize it as myself at the moment I'm viewing it. For some suspended amount of time, I see myself as that 21-year-old girl.

It's kind of fun. If you'd never changed your profile photo here, the old one would still capture the essence of you. In some sense, I think we're always a younger version of ourselves. :)