I have a birthday coming—soon, so yesterday I sucked it up and made the obligatory visit for my annual physical. I’ve been seeing this doc for my entire adult life. My appointments these days are pretty uneventful. The nurse checks my blood pressure, pulse, weight and height, then a I have pleasant chat with my doctor while he adds the stats into my now digitized files. It occurred to me that he is the one constant witness to the passing of my years, the chronicler of my time on this earth.
Today he recorded a new development—more of a reversal, really, given that I’m starting to shrink. I’ve lost a half an inch, and his is not good news. It means I’m that age; despite my best efforts and any modicum of success at remaining youthful, my physical body is progressing along the natural aging continuum while in my head I am still holding steady at thirty—forty at most.
Who am I kidding? In my head, I’m Sigourney Weaver rocking it in a t-shirt and bikini briefs in Aliens. But much to my regret and the desire to admit it, in the mirror I’m Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein.
I woke up this morning with an overwhelming desire to don a long, sleek satin dressing gown, slip into a pair of kitten heels and adjourn to the sunny breakfast room where I could sip my French press coffee and enjoy a soft-boiled egg and toast sitting at a chic, blonde-oak, mid-century Heywood table with vinyl-padded, curved-back chairs. From there, I’d retire to the chintz covered sofa with my laptop and continue writing the next great American novel.
In short, I awoke with an urge to embrace the stereotype of a woman past her prime, slowing, but glamorously fading into obscurity.
Instead I poked my arms though the bulky sleeves of my ratty plush robe and slid my feet into faux suede and fleece mules. I shuffled blurry-eyed to the kitchen where I managed to get most of the coffee grounds into the Mr. Coffee basket and pour the water in without spilling, only to find my coffee pot, my morning life line, the brewer of my vital energy elixir, is kaput. It coughed and sputtered and blew a lot of steam that lifted the cover of the water reservoir up and down making it look sort of like a black dragon having a hissy fit.
It finally dribbled about a half cup of very strong brew into the pot. I added hot tap water and called it good. My toaster is operating on its last few coils, judging from the alternating stripes of crunchy toast and chewy bread it popped out. Forget the soft eggs, way to much effort.
I sipped my coffee while my brain wrapped itself around this new information. I’m shrinking. Old people shrink, they turn into tiny little gnomes wearing cardigan sweaters when it’s 80-degress, demanding the air conditioning be shut off in every room they enter. It occurs to me I hate air conditioning. I start mentally calculating how many cardigans I own and decide to start a box for charity donation.
I may have lost half an inch, but I’m not about to give a mile to aging. And there’s always high heels—or at the very least kitten heels.