The day I became elderly

 In London

I often tell people that I think I’m an old woman trapped in a young man’s body. Recently, I got proof of that.

Over the Black Friday weekend, I was lucky enough to have a long weekend free of work. Not that we really celebrate Black Friday over here (indeed, ASDA mercifully cancelled the event in-stores this year after the insane fights in years prior) — my long weekend was simply because I had finished a short freelance contract and had 4 or 5 days until I started my new job. On the Thursday, I went against my veryown rules and decided to leave the house. It was terrible.

My reasoning behind going outside, hell, even going shopping was because I thought “well, it’s Thursday — any Black Friday deals should be out by now, and maybe I can avoid the swathes of shoppers bound to hit Oxford/Regent Street this weekend”.

I guess I was right in my thinking, but the Black Friday deals I encountered were so underwhelming that I soon regretted having stepped foot outside in the first place. Yet another reason why I have that ‘don’t leave the house’ rule in place. I wasn’t even shopping for anything in particular, except for ‘maybe a few more mugs’, because I drink a lot of tea and the dishwasher doesn’t go on often here.

So far, we’ve established that I’m the sort of person who turfs himself into the centre of London to buy mugs before anyone else. You can already see where this is going.

…I wound up sat in the M&S Cafe in Marble Arch with an apple pastry and a cup of tea. I’m a 20something year old guy. Even to write that brings a cloud of shame over me. It was Thursday, I had the whole of London to explore, and I went to M&S to have a cup of tea. It’s tragic, really, and the saddest moment was when I looked around the cafe and realised I was easily the youngest person in there by about 50 years.

Want to know the worst thing?

enjoyed it.

There, I said it. Sure, I was surrounded by all kinds and colours of hair, plenty of old ladies with wolf coats, and I was half tempted to pee myself just so I could feel like I fit in, but damn if I didn’t have a relaxing time. Despite the looks/messages of disdain I received after telling my friends about the experience, sometimes I think it’s okay to let out your inner old person. It prepares you for things to come.

And hey, it was cheaper than Starbucks.

Olly Browning
Olly Browning is a freelance writer and designer based in London, founder of the creative agency Mighty Oak. Send your thoughts, hate mail, commissions, or any other business to, or tweet him @yourolly.
Recent Posts