I need to find some red lipstick because I am sinking fast over here. Every inch of me is an old lady. (Please, all you “age is just a number” people, just stay in your seats.) My next birthday looms and the number is, if not soul-shattering, quite sobering. And the math is crushing. I am, counting on my fingers, just this many years from being considered by the demographers as being seriously, irreversibly old. I am Captain Hook haunted by the crocodile with the ticking clock.
I listened to an elected official reel off a dozen ageist statements the other day and didn’t say a word. I could have, too, but I didn’t. I let him get away with characterizing old people as terrified out of their own skins, afraid to open their front doors, incapable of fending for themselves in this horrible pandemic world. All of which is true for some, a small percentage. The old people I know are tough as nails, even me with all my crocodile angst. I hate ageist bullshit but I let him get away with it.
My daughter just texted me that she and her daughter just landed in Nicaragua. She is from there, well, actually, they both are. They are going there to visit family of which there is a lot. I am the adoptive mom, as they say, which, I guess, makes me the adoptive grandmother. I don’t know. The nomenclature is so complex. What I really am is this – the anchor. It’s a role folks don’t talk about so much. No glamour, kind of rusty, but very heavy and always in the place where you left it.
Our dog cost us $850 because he threw up a lot. We don’t know why he threw up (this is Swirl for those of you who follow this blog) but it is not uncommon for him to eat odd things like cloth napkins and pencils and utility bills. Usually, said things keep on moving and we discover them later in the yard or at the dog park but, this time, because of his extreme vomiting, we took him to the doggie ER. We nodded yes to everything they wanted to do which is what happens when you love a dog too much. He is fine. We are poorer.
The abortion arguments at the Supreme Court make me want to cover my face with my hands. However much we all want to think we’ve gotten equal rights, a place at the table, equity, call it what you will, we still can’t exercise control over our own physical selves.It’s profound and terrifying. And so many of us are so tired of it, so inured by the injustice that we just move on to the next item on the news. Even those of us who are in our seventies, who were college girls in the sixties, who made mistakes, and had to do the first illegal thing in our lives, we seem to have forgotten what it was like. “Back alley” was a real place. We know because we went there.