In the dim and distant 1980s, when I was about eight years old, there was an old man who lived next door that would invite me and my dad round for a game of cards and a whisky. The whisky was for my dad of course, not me. I was on the navy rum. The old man would hand me a huge bag of coppers and I would pour it out on his rug and count the 2ps, 1ps and the odd halfpenny (yes kids, they existed). I would spend them down the local shop on ten pence mix-ups, strawberry laces or put it towards a He-Man figure.
Yesterday I noticed that I had accrued a large handful of coins and realised they were almost un-spendable now. I could put them in a jar and give them to the kids but they wouldn’t deem it worth the time it would take to count them, and anyway, I wouldn’t want to infringe on the time they give over to taking pictures of themselves. The circumstances of the last year has taken us closer to a cashless society and I don’t like it. I went to get a key cut last week and they wouldn’t take my money. I understand this, things are dicey right now but when this is all over, I think money may be making a slow exit.
I like coins and notes. It feels nice to count and to stick cash in an envelope to a god-son. ‘I’ve put £20 in your account’ lacks a little romance. I also quite like mental arithmetic and the sound of bleeping tills.
I know this is just my resistance to change and that I should accept it, after all its not that important in the scheme of things. Change is inevitable (yes, I did that one purpose) and I am in denial. I am also in denial about fashion, tik-tok and the ridiculous and unnecessary changes to the handball rule.
Most of us are hanging on to beliefs and behaviours from our past, a lot of the time we can’t even remember why we started doing things in the first place. This is particularly applicable with addictions or anxiety disorders. An obsessive twitch might begin as a way to gain some control when you’re anxious about an exam. You then sit the exam, pass or fail, but keep the twitch. Most problems start out as a solution and then hang around long after they have stopped being useful.
Sometimes we resist because we just can’t accept that things have changed around us and we have fallen behind. This is just the way it goes, the pattern of generations. I feel a bit stupid when I feel left behind. For good or ill, things change and I will try harder to keep up. Unlike my friend Chris, I refuse to listen to Kanye West, though.