Why put away childish things?

It is always and endlessly fascinating earwigging on other people’s conversations.  I’m passing an hour in a wine bar in central London, waiting for the half price ticket booth to get more tickets, and for my car to be washed by the obligatory Russians in the car park.

Two gentlemen are sitting in the corner of the bar in front of me, leapfrogging each other’s increasingly tall stories.  Apologies, gentlemen, if you read this.  I promise I didn’t hear anything specific or attributable.  Their stories all revolve around cars, alcohol, dissolute friends and good times.  Ford Capris, Vauxhall Vivas, even an E type Jag all come to sticky ends, helped by copious amounts of booze.  It’s fascinating to listen to the pattern of their voices, the energy levels ramping up as story tops story.  When I close my eyes I can see a couple of six year olds, swapping stories of increasingly legendary derring-do, mostly muddy but always adventurous.

Someone said that growing old is inevitable but growing up is optional.  I wonder.  If you poke most of us with the right stories at the right time, do we ever grow up?

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