March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
It’s clear to anyone that they haven’t seen one another in an age. Flung to the four corners by jobs and ambition, and the men coming back together to talk about opportunity whilst the women sigh and discuss international removals companies. You know the sort.
That woman there, plugged into a purple netbook with an earphone trailing, barking at a relative on skype, and then these two men, still buff in their late sixties, laughing together in a near-parody of backslapping bonhomie. One of the women leans past her overblown cocktail, towards the woman with the netbook, and when she is sure the person at the other end can see her, she begins to sing. Clear, strong, unashamed, and one by one the others join in, all six of them. Some old show tune you’d not struggle to place.
One of the hotel’s barstaff wanders past, collecting glasses and shrugging apologetically at the other guests. Off-season, out of school holidays, these luxury resorts aren’t so full any more, so there’s nobody to shrug at really – a couple finishing up their desserts, and another couple seemingly engrossed in one another. This latter pair’s half-smiles at this senior citizen singalong turn to unmasked ire as the huge television screen just behind our happy gathering pauses and begins to show live footage of a disaster, elsewhere, that is total in its devastation.
The seniors are, it seems, pushing on regardless, and it is as they embark upon ‘Auld Lang Syne’ that the young couple push their nearly-finished drinks away and get up to leave, their gesture as oblivious to the singers as that endlessly looping news feed.