Welcome to our Age Issue
“How can we be talking about saving for retirement,” I say to my partner, “while we’re still living like students?”
We are staring at our bed, which is broken. Before it was our bed it was my bed. And before it was my bed it was my parents’ spare bedroom bed. It’s been swimming in sheets too big for it since forever because, like a normal selfrespecting couple, we always meant to upgrade to queen-sized.
“When we began sharing this bed we had a combined weight of 120kgs,” I point out. I needn’t add that this is no longer the case. Plus, now our daughter likes to dive into the middle of it. And I mean literally – she climbs onto a nearby chest of draws and does spectacular belly flops. That’s how one of the slats broke.
I pick up the two splintered bits of wood and chuck them in the garage. I mean, the bed looks fine on the surface, it still works.
There’s excitement in starting out and buying grown-up items. You score a second-hand fridge and put wine in it. You get your first double bed and can have guests!
But replacing those things holds no thrill at all. It’s no longer about rough survival and independence. It’s about making sensible decisions with regard to vegetable storage and back support. You’re not escaping your parents, you’ve become your parents. And you look for the best possible quality in a purchase because you want this item to last until... Oh. God.
It’s a Saturday. My partner and my daughter are going to mooch around the mall together and give me some precious hours to myself. “I know what I’ll do,” I say as I drop them off. My voice is leaden. “I’ll go there.” I point to a big blockbuster of a bed shop.
“Is that really what you want to do with this time?” he says. “Look at beds?”
“Maybe,” I say. But then they’re out of the car and I’m accelerating away from that row of gargantuan stores with their dreary promise of interest-free hire purchase. Later in the week I will go to a design shop and drop cash on linen with tiny birds and flowers all over it, and a polka-dotted throw cushion. This is called sugar coating.
I’m 46 and – just let me have this one thing – I still don’t own a grown-up bed.