Saturday, September 1, 2012

Little. Old. Lady.

I am not a nubile forty-year old anymore. It’s official. I am a little old lady. Here’s how I know.

Books Make Me Tip Over: I knew it was the beginning of the end when my twelve-year-old book bag, fully loaded and contents subject to shifting while in transit, made me tip over. College is not for the weak or shrinking.

“Hey, lady, are you okay?” asked the young man, approximately the age of bee larva, as he watched me sling my backpack over my shoulder. I staggered under its weight and tilted towards the center of the earth. The book bag weighed more than half of me. I staggered to the left and then lurched to the right. I was not dancing. The young man did not offer to help.

My husband finally bought me a rolling briefcase. It makes me look like I’m impersonating a professor, but it’s big enough for my books and my assorted eyebrow stencils.

The Eyebrow Stencils: I have to color my eyebrows on with a crayon. It’s time-consuming and fraught with the potential for goof-ups. Too much crayon and I’m Ronald MacDonald’s mother, too little and I’m Whoopie Goldberg. And the lingering tendency for my knucklebones to freeze up like a bad hinge made in China makes eyebrow placement a bit iffy.

A Burning in My Finger Bones:  Sherwood showed me his index finger. He said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me? My knuckle feels like it’s on fire.”

I held up my knobby hands, my aching elbows, and possibly one throbbing knee. “Yeah, that’s arthritis. I have fingers that are starting to look like they’re trying to run away from my hands. What’s your point?”

I still get hit on by men, but they resemble Captain Ahab from Moby Dick or gypsy wizards: I don’t want to talk about it.

I get extremely nervous when young children stare at me, especially my grandson Conner, who finds my advanced age and decrepitude a subject of extreme and ongoing puzzlement:  “YaYa, why are you so spotty and so bumpy and so old?”

“Conner, look over there; that person might be older than me.”

Then I hobble away as fast as my plantar fasciitis will allow.

No matter how you say it, spin it, or twirl it, it’s official; I am a little old lady.

Linda (Golden Girl) Zern



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