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Saturday, 20 September 2014

So he cheered up. And it got worse.

"So that's it over," Susan says, the morning after the Scottish Referendum, as she's sat in her armchair looking as if she'll never smile again.

"It's like you needed an A pass in your exam to get to university and you only got a B. So you did secretarial studies and got a shite job all your life. And then you died."

"You sound like Marvin," I say in a flat monotone. "Life, don't talk to me about life."

"That's how I feel," she says. "We had a chance. We could have done something about all those people stuck in poverty to keep the fat cats happy. Now we're back to food banks and taking benefits from the disabled, while slick shits in suits spend more money on a meal than the families I work with see in a year. It's criminal."

"I bet I can make you smile again," I say. 

"No chance," she says. 

"Let's go for a walk," I say.

"Why?" she says.

"We could see Sally, the wee sunshine cure for all the blues," I say.

"Why?" she says.

This is serious. "Have you heard of electile dysfunction?" I say.

"No," she says. 

"Means you can't get aroused by either side," I say. "Ha ha."

"Shut up," she says. 

"Remember what Ben Franklin said about democracy?" I say. "It's two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Ha ha."

"Shut up," she says.

"I'm sending you a link to a photo of baby hedgehogs and a video of a sperm whale being born,"  I say. Take a look. They'll cheer you up."

She goes quiet and I watch from the table by the window, where I'm sat at my computer, as the dark clouds clinging to her head lighten a little. But still no smile. Not a flicker.  

"What really worries me is they've let big Gordon out," I say. "
They'll never get him back in his box now. He'll lumber around the landscape for years, smashing into bridges, eating whole cows and creating a hazard for low-flying aircraft. Ha ha."

A shaft of sunlight spears the little rainbow-maker on her back window and sets it turning, sending spectra spinning around the room. She takes a deep breath and sighs. 

"Shut up," she says.

"I give in," I say. "The one bright spot in all this is what someone said to me on Twitter this morning. Will I tell you about it?"

"No," she says.

"I asked if the over-60s - 'whose future is all behind them' - should even have a vote," I tell her. "Because their need for security cost us the referendum, while the youth voted yes. 

"So this top education consultant, who's in his 60s, asks for the evidence that his generation is more self-interested than mine. "Arguably we are more idealistic than the middle-aged,' he tells me."

"I don't understand," Susan says.

"Me neither," I say. "Then the penny drops and I tweet back, 'You got me wrong, pal. I'm older than you. It's my generation whose votes I'd devalue.'"
"He thought you were ..."

"... much younger than him. That's right."

She smiles at last. "What did he say when you told him you weren't?"

"He said, 'Jeez! You are wearing well!'"

"He didn't."

"He did."

"You are wearing well?" she says. "That's what he said?"

"Sure as I'm sat here," I tell her, and she laughs like a drain.

"Ha ha," she goes. "Ha ha ha."

"Shut up," I tell her.

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