I will be 54 in a couple of weeks. And with that achievement goes my claim to be middle aged. My father has been laughing at me for a while now. He thought it was hilarious when I turned 50: “Middle Aged? Exactly how long are you planning to live?” The Wildish clan live long, but not that long.
My body has kindly kept pace with my delusional thinking. That is it did until last week, when I had to admit that I …am… old. Nothing like a couple days off to bring one’s decline into (lens assisted) focus.
The 5 body fails that signaled that I am now, officially, ‘past it’:
1. Skin: My glasses raised a blister on the bridge of my nose: took all week to heal. Especially after I had ripped it open with gentle pats from my bath towel. My neighbour Rob took one look and nodded sagely: “Thin skin, eh”. Today I was accosted by demonstrator woman at Clicks – thrilled by the age spots on my hands. She tried to cover them with ‘anti-aging foundation’. “Look”, she said brightly, “you wouldn’t even know the spots were ever there.” We’re both staring down at something that resembles SAS jungle camouflage. She didn’t even try and close the sale.
2. Eyes: The swimming pool pump hadn’t switched on. It was dusk and I was trying to read the settings on the timer. I needed to figure out if it was a real problem or just a glitch. But I couldn’t read the gauge. So, I swapped reading glasses for distance and got a torch. Then I lay on my stomach on the pump cover and shone the torch directly at the tiny clock, trying to keep far enough away so that the distance specs would kick in. Squint and swear. Dismounted into the dusk, whacked my shin into a rock and tripped over the pool net. Realised I have become my parents.
3. Brain: Walk out of lounge carrying phone, walk back in. No idea why. Stand around for a while. Look for clues, no clues. Remember phone in hand. Ah – wanted to call someone. Can’t find glasses. Try dial without glasses. Wrong number. Hit delete, delete, delete … drop call. Drop phone, redial same person. Pretend I can’t hear them when they answer: “Hello, hello … hmm bad reception.” Search for glasses. Cleaner has been watching entire charade … kindly points out glasses are on head. Pick up phone to dial – can’t remember who I wanted to call.
4. Gut: Green and leafy … gas. Round and fruity – gas. Dairy – gas. Wine. The onion family. Pulses. Gas. Gas. Gas. Horror is a buffet table: days of puttering around like a two stroke motor. Terrified to do any yoga poses. Crouching is out – forever. If you hate me, feed me cabbage.
5. Pigment: “Why have you got white hair?” asks Riley. We’re in the middle of a discussion about the pygmy hamster she hopes to acquire soon. Specifically about what the unfortunate little rodent should be called (Freddie Starlight apparently – works for a girl or a boy), so I am a bit thrown by this question.
“My love when people get older their hair goes white, think about Granny, and even Popper.” She points: “I don’t mean that hair, I mean there …”. (I should add that I am in the shower when this conversation takes place. Between the Nans and Jack I don’t think I have been able to go to the toilet or perform my ablutions without an audience in over two years.) I explain to the little bugger that all hair works the same. That the body loses pigment as it ages. What I don’t say that any fella I am likely to date is just as likely to be past middle aged himself. So, my thought is, without his glasses: he’d never even notice. But Riley has other ideas: “You should think about dyeing”, she says.
I don’t even bat an eyelid at the pun.
(All images in the public domain. Image of horrified little fella on Facebook. Thanks Amber.)