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.