George and Lynne are at the beach. George tells Lynne that old Albert is 108 years old. Lynne thinks this is amazing and asks George if he knows what Albert puts his long life down to. George replies that it is his wife, but continues that it is the fact that his wife left him when he was 21.
George and Lynne are on holiday. They are sunbathing and have got the start of a tan. They are are also far more tanned than the other people who are at the beach. This is of course the benefit of not having children. George and Lynne are able to take their holiday overlapping those people who have to base their holidays around the school holidays. They have started their holiday a little earlier to get some much needed alone time and work on their tans but have still overlapped it with the other people so to make the holiday friends they so need to get through a two week holiday with just the two of them.
Old Albert is known to both George and Lynne. He is old so therefore he is known as old Albert. George knows his age but Lynne does not which gives the impression that perhaps he is not really a local celebrity but perhaps a person they have met on this particular holiday. George has spent a good half hour chatting with old Albert when Lynne comes back from having a swim in the sea. Lynne joins in the last 5 minutes of the conversation, but Albert has to leave because being out in the sun for too long is bad for him. It is at this point that George wishes to share the conversation he has just had with old Albert as he found him so fascinating.
George thinks it's quite funny that old Albert puts his long life down to his wife leaving him when he was 21 but in fact it is quite tragic. He was so hurt by this woman that he has never remarried and has spent the next 87 years fearing commitment in case it happens again. He has instead spent his life devoting himself to health and chastity, without any specific religious beliefs. These lonely years may have resulted in a long life but it is in fact an unfulfilled one. Old Albert tells his story every day to anyone who points and stares at the old wrinkly man who looks old enough to be dead and goes to bed every night crying, praying that he doesn't wake up the next morning.