It's all flying by and that's probably for the best. The sooner these "good old days" are done the better. Alas and alack, but I am a tired soul. An old and tired soul...
But I am reading the most wonderful, sweet book now, on my Kindle: The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Read it? If you enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce you'll love it. If not, read both and right away.
Old people are endearing, aren't they? The sort who are still with it, I mean, slightly crotchety and with at least a spark of their old get up and go. I drove past a dodderingly adorable old gentleman cutting his lawn today, on my way to the gym, where I could sweat on indoor machines rather than risking the perfect weather (in my defense, my porcelain northern-European skin is rather delicate). I thought good for you! Still out and about and doing things! Then, I would never want to live so long...
I really wouldn't. Total buzz kill, isn't it? "Gee, aren't old people adorable! But don't let me ever be one. Dear God no!"
Unfortunately for me, I have longevity on my mother's side of the family, on the maternal line. Both my grandmother and great-grandmother lived into their 90s. Then again, the rest of the bunch turned toes up fairly early on - 60s to 70s - so perhaps there's still hope. But as to reading about this demographic, that's a horse of a very different color. I adore them:
After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant).
What other sector of the population could do this with as much panache, from a story-telling point of view? The plot relies on the difficulty the character will have staying a step ahead, requiring those in pursuit of him - much younger characters, by necessity - to stumble and bumble behind as he dominates this game of cat and mouse. Until he eventually doesn't, which we can pretty safely assume will happen.
Still early days for me, though, as I'm not very far into the book at all. Allan escapes almost immediately after the book begins and I'm following along after him on his Wild Adventures. He's shown lots of cheek already, the monkey, and was more than a little drunk by the time I had to leave off reading last evening. That is, when my husband grumbled at me impatiently about the late hour and human necessity for sleep.
His, that is.
In any event, the screenplay's already been sold, and Disney Studios slated for distribution rights. So, the author hit it big his first time out of the gate.
The punk. The punk who's older than I am, I hasten to add. Instead of stabbing him in the back, whispering quietly about the inherent unfairness of life, I'll come right out and just say it here, "I AM JEALOUS." Of course, I haven't written a book (not for lack of pondering the idea of its potential) but if I did I'm sure he'd just have sucked up the money and fame which rightfully would have been mine. It's just that writers who hit grand slams on their first ever at-bat make me feel sick and wicked, to borrow a phrase from Jane Austen.
Smallness aside, I have to admit it's a glorious read. Hopefully it won't disappoint by making me feel less determined to expire while my teeth are still my own. I don't want to like Allan Karlsson that well, or to have him teach me anything about life's potential after age 80 or any rot such as that. Let me be charmed, amused and even shed a tear or two but do NOT MAKE ME WANT TO LIVE!
With that uncomfortable moment behind us, I may as well tell you author Jonasson is at work on his next novel already. It's expected to be funny and enlightening (he would resort to that, wouldn't he) and no doubt as painfully good as this one's starting out to be.