Thank God it's Friday

31st March 2006 at 01:00
Monday When I ask my sociology class about ageing, I'm told 30-year-olds are over the hill. By the time my students have reached that ripe old age, they expect to have huge houses, Cadillac Escalades and kids. It's hard not to absorb the American dream when the border's only half an hour away and most of our TV channels come from upstate New York. But as a 31-year-old, I take offence - until I realise that age has its uses. I'd been wondering why this school year was going so smoothly, especially as two-thirds of my timetable is taken up with "open" level classes, often a euphemism for "tough to teach". But they all work in silence and hand in homework.

Obviously, their deference is due to my old man's gravitas. They no longer ask whether I have a girlfriend or what music I like.

Tuesday I struggle to get into a pair of trousers I haven't worn since last year. It's probably because of my gluttonous summer holidays in Vancouver (dim sum, Dungeness crabs) and Lancashire (meat pies, sausages). But I can't help feeling it's middle-age spread. Over dinner, my partner tells me about her latest batch of students at the university. "They remind me of puppies," she says.

I'm in bed by 10pm. Increasingly, I find that I'm a morning person.

Wednesday We wave our celebratory cigars around the staffroom without lighting them in honour of Peter, a colleague, who has just had his first child. I met Peter when we were in our mid-twenties. His bleached hair and surfboard have made way for a tidy beard and a house in the 'burbs. He's excited about his son, but not too excited to join in a conversation about kitchen tiles. Taupe is best, apparently. I want to rebel and go clubbing.

But I wouldn't know any of the music.

Thursday I make a rare stop at the coffee machine (caffeine doesn't agree with me nowadays). I'm running late but stop when I hear a supply teacher holding forth on lawn care. I'm interested because I've recently acquired my first garden. I spend the evening aerating and watering while my partner bakes bread in the kitchen.

Friday A letter from my pension plan tells me when I can retire. The date, April 2030, is a shock. Somehow I could have sworn it would be sooner.

Still, I'll only be 55: very young indeed.

Nicholas Woolley teaches in Ontario, Canada. If you have a diary to share (no more than 450 words), write to TES Friday, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX or email friday@tes.co.uk. We pay for every article we publish

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