(Make sure and say this as though you’re uttering that favorite phrase from moms everywhere when teens offer up lame excuses about why they’re trying to skid in after curfew. “I Couldn’t Care Less.”)
I bought a new moisturizer last month because I figured I’d better hurry up and take advantage of the fact that women’s magazines kindly recommend these items to folks like me. After all, nothing underscores the passage of time so much as reading articles segmented into decade groupings and you are now at the tail-end of the aforementioned grouping.
Once upon a time I quickly consumed information about beauty regimens for women in their 20’s, never noticing the advice for the elderly that comes afterwards. As the decades have rolled by I now fly past the helpful, “in your 20’s you should…” section followed by in your 30’s you should…” tidbit, and I make a quick pit stop at “in your 40’s you should…”
It is as I settle in to reap the wisdom of the beauty editors that I can almost feel the twenty-something writers practically giving up after tackling that late, what is sure to be final, stage of caring about your appearance. The magazine might as well type in an italicized disclaimer that pronounces, “Looking for beauty products and advice? After your 50’s, why bother? Take this opportunity to really work on the insert and elevate your personality to a heretofore unrealized asset. See article, Elevating Your Personality to a Heretofore Unrealized Asset.
So, I bought the heavy duty axle grease product made from moose antler, an orchid that blooms once every thousand years and eye of newt. As it turns out, this quality stuff eventually soaks in as heavily as does the realization that I’ve just paid as much for this secret sauce as I did for my daughter’s first semester of college tuition. No matter, I will co-opt a popular phrase and say, “I’m worth it” and for 30 days I have been fairly glistening with moisture goodness and it’s clear that my water intake is right up there with the daily recommended requirement too.
It was with this well-hydrated and upbeat attitude that I sashayed into the health food store to pick-up a few necessary almost-food items. And on that point I must make a few observations.
Oh, how these “must-have’s” have changed. Where once I couldn’t live without Oreos, peanut M&M’s, and Caravelle bars (See what I mean? They don’t even make Caravelle bars anymore), I now must have flaxseed, green algae, and those stress relief tab thingies that prevent my non-self-editing alter ego from expressing herself. (In stress relief tab measuring lingo I call that “three tabs away” from doing much verbal harm.)
Yes, so there I was bothering to care about how I look and eat which is when it happened: a painful defining moment. The little twinkie at the register asked me if I’d like to use my senior discount.
“Come again?” I gasped, standing up straighter and trying to unfurrow my brow.
“Your senior discount. It’ll save you 10%” she offered helpfully as she surveyed my vast supplies of senior-like purchases. After all, as a senior I must also be on a fixed income.
I tried to keep the snark out of my tone, unsuccessfully as it turns out, when I heard myself say snippily, “Well, maybe when I AM a senior I’ll do that.” I may have even harrumphed, I’m not sure.
Because I care about how I look, what I eat, AND how I sound I threw in some levity. “I guess maybe my moisturizer isn’t working” to which I received no reply. Nothing. Nada. She left me hanging. She’d already moved on to her much more interesting, light-moisturizer-is-still-optional co-worker.
It was a quiet, awkward, and paid-in-full exit from the store as I reassured myself it was just one of those weird things that happens; no need to turn it into a “thing” for pity’s sake. Until the young man in the parking lot who worked for a neighboring retail store asked me if I needed help with my bags, one of which was my purse.
And let’s go ahead and add a helping of insult to that injury. Did you notice the pièce de résistance on this story? I referred to someone as a “young man.” It’s going to take four stress tabs to get over this one.