At what point do you become a grown up? Is it the moment a phallic pineapple no longer makes you giggle?


In my mind, I’m still a child. I snicker at bum jokes and at times I can be phenomenally annoying, annoying to the point of hysteria. The British Social Attitudes survey last week suggested I’m not alone, revealing that many people consider themselves to be “young” when in their 40s, 50s and even 70s.

While I want to feel grown-up, I don’t want to feel old. My local supermarket has recently installed a travellator that slides greyly up to the car park. There’s nothing that saddens me more than the sight from this too-slow train of someone ageing noiselessly beneath me, sat alone in the Sainsbury’s café, sipping on a watery tea.

Surely anywhere is better for a cup of tea than the Sainsbury’s café. An afterthought to the trolley-park, its windows look out into a dark concrete room, the basement of the multi-storey, a place that looks like it was built to transport veal in the early 1980s. Is this what age does to a person? Makes it preferable to sip Nectar-card tea at a blood-red table, the sound of broken trolleys echoing around you like the screams of children, than to go home, where, if you listen carefully, the hum from a broken light sounds a little like “Happy Birthday”, the song that chimes out like a yearly alarm clock, reminding you of the nearing of death.

Even at grown-up events, like my friends’ gorgeous wedding this week, I feel as if we’re all playing. Even as I pay for a new kitchen, choosing door handles, seeing the old marble-effect work surface carried out to the dump and ordering a new toilet cistern, there is a giggle lurking underneath my tongue, ready to blow my cover. Is this how everyone feels? Cooking a meal, getting married, looking after a child, all the time chuckling inside at how well you’re pulling it off?

This year, as memories of my youth fall away flake by drunken flake, I resolve to stop giggling at phallic fruits. Presumably then all the marriage stuff, ISAs and opinions on Iraq will just fall into place.


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