Old Chick Still Gets AroundPosted: July 29, 2012
Menopause the Musical may be hysterical but Menopause, the reality–not so much. What I wouldn’t do for one good night without waking up 87 times to kick off the covers and then pull them back on again. I know I’m not the first to point this out: growing older isn’t for sissies. Can I also say, while I’m at it, pimples and wrinkles do not mix. A curse on everyone who ever told me I’d grow out of acne.
At North Topsail Beach where you can usually find me if I’m not at home, there’s a 68 year old woman with abs of steel. She wears bikinis and looks phenomenal. I hate her. My tummy hasn’t seen the sun since I was about 16. I’d actually like to wear a bikini one last time before I turn 50 but if my prowess at “planks” is any indication, I should kiss that dream good-bye.
Fifty, ugh. Just 2 years away. How does this happen? Jerri is only 8 months away. When I tease her, she says “You laugh now but you’re not far behind.” I quickly remind her “I’m younger than you and I always will be.”
Walking on the beach yesterday, I passed a lot of twenty-somethings skim-boarding, burying each other in the sand, body surfing, tubing, and just generally hanging out. Some of them made eye contact and I told myself, “they think you’re hot.” Because I can’t handle the truth. It’s just hard to acknowledge the most positive thing they’re actually thinking is, “Old chick still gets around. Cool.”
It’s pretty routine for me to forget my age. I look at people way younger than me and think “I’m just like you.” When my coworker, Nicole, took a position in the UK, I went to her going away party. She’s in the Esprit program at work which hires new MBA grads and then rotates them through various positions in the company. She’ll be my boss someday. I’m pretty sure of it. Anyway, as you can imagine, all the Esprit kids are, well, kids. I was chatting with a few of them, Margarita in hand, and they asked how long I’d been with the company. Seventeen years, I said, doing the mental math and hoping they’d think I was only 38. But then I freaked (I blame the Margarita), thinking I probably look really old for 38, and blurted out my real age. There was a collective sigh of relief. “Gosh, Mrs. S. You don’t look a day over 40!” Yup.
In my head, I’m so much younger than my friends. Their “fine lines” are not so fine any more. They are thicker around the middle and saggier everywhere else. Some of them have that turkey-neck thing going on. In my head, that’s not me. Only group photos don’t lie. Nor does the mirror. There’s no such thing as Freaky Friday and that isn’t my mother.
At the same time I’m clutching onto my youth with both hands, I’m in a huge rush to retire. I want to be young AND get old faster. How whacked is that? I guess what I really want is to be independently wealthy so I can spend all day writing and not have to worry about making any money from it.
Not sure why I’m obsessing about age so much today. Maybe because Jerri is thinking about moving, and we drove over to look at the new place last week. There wasn’t a soul on the premises under the age of 65. If you’ve ever wondered where the poor elderly live in Durham, now you know. North Roxboro St. Jerri’s case worker, Catherina, recommended the housing complex. It’s in a better part of town, less accessible to street drugs, and closer to where I live. It’s also harder to navigate without transportation and I worry about where she will eat when she runs out of food. There is no shelter across the street. When I pointed this out, she said, “I’ll ride my scooter downtown if I have to.” Jerri talks about “her scooter” as if she already owns one. Forget that scooters require gas and if she has no money for food, where is the money for gas coming from? Still, I like to picture her on a shiny red scooter jetting around town. I know just what the rocking-chair-crowd will say as they see her drive off. “Old chick still gets around.”