When Did This Happen?

Aging is funny. In fact, aging is so funny that I’ve probably written this self-same blog post before and can’t remember doing it. So maybe aging isn’t all that funny.

But what’s interesting about it is how it sneaks up on a guy. It’s not like your body feels the same at age 63 as it does at 25. There are well-documented (and in my case, well-articulated) aches and pains that most people don’t have when they are 25 years old. But aging happens so slowly that it isn’t until you take one of those calculated looks in a mirror (you know, the ones where you’re really looking at yourself instead of just quickly checking out to see if you have spinach in your teeth) that you think, Holy shit! When did this happen?

Or when you see a friend or an old co-worker who is your age and whom you haven’t seen in a long time, and you can’t help but notice that they look OLD. And then you have to remind yourself that you also look old. It’s easy to tell because they are looking at you funny too.

And frankly, you also act old. I’m tentative about doing things that I did without a second thought when I was 25. Like watering my garden, which involves dragging hoses over rocks. I’m so fearful that I will trip on said hose and fall on said rocks. I didn’t worry about this when I was younger because, in the unlikely situation in which I should fall, it was easy to pick myself up and brush myself off and start all over again (and see, when you’re old, you start using lyrics of old songs when you write!). But now every fall can result in one of a couple of things: 1) you break a bone; or 2) you can’t get up. You know, as in I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.

I remember being horrified when I noticed that the Muzak music they were playing in the grocery stores was songs from my high school years. Now I don’t even recognize the songs they’re playing as Muzak background in grocery stores because it’s later than my time, and I see 40-somethings looking disgruntled because they’re hearing songs from their high school days. That’s when I yearn to hear Dan Fogelberg’s Another Auld Lang Syne or Take it Easy by the Eagles, both tried and true Muzak songs.

By the way, you non-Baby-Boomers probably don’t even know what I mean by Muzak. Look it up.

I started thinking about aging yesterday morning when I went onto my iPad to check what’s happening on Facebook. You know how now half of Facebook notices on your timeline aren’t from your friends, but instead are from companies trying to sell you things? For me, it used to be Zulilly or Amazon or maybe even Nordstrom. However, this morning, my ad was for underpants that are pee-proof (their words, not mine). Usually the ads are tied to something I might have googled recently or something I purchased. If I, for example, buy something from Target online, for the next six months, I get Target ads on my Facebook feed. But this pee-proof underwear comes out of nowhere. I’m happy to say that I haven’t peed my pants since I was two years old or so. I’m sure I will soon, but as yet, I haven’t. So why do they feel the need to nudge me towards pee-proof underwear?

And while I’m at it, I must tell you it is quite annoying that Pinterest keeps suggesting pins for plus-sized clothing. While I might be working my way there, I’m not there yet. Stop Pinterest, in the name of all that is good and holy!

My 45th high school reunion is coming up, and so I’m bracing myself to come face-to-face with reality. The good news is that we have had reunions every five years, and I haven’t missed a single one. So there shouldn’t be too many shocks.

As for me, my hair stylist told me recently that my gray hair looks like highlights, and at least it isn’t yellowish. Of course, she told me this prior to payment, so she might have been performing for tips. But at least it isn’t yellowish. Sigh.

Shopping Daze

There’s some point in a visit to any IKEA store when I transition from being a wide-eyed consumer equally transfixed and excited by all of the choices in home goods being offered to me to feeling as though I’m part of the Bataan Death March. The point at which this transition takes place varies, but I think it’s generally somewhere around the bedroom linens and furniture, when it becomes abundantly clear that everything looks exactly the same.

I’m not the only one either. If you look around, you will notice that there are people of all ages whose eyes resemble those of the zombies in Night of the Living Dead. They are pushing those crazy shopping carts that have minds of their own into displays of plastic glassware and, even more dangerously, into the backs of people’s ankles. They don’t apologize; no one expects them to. We’re all zombies by then.

Bill and I got out of our ‘hood yesterday, first making our way south to the Chandler Fashion Center, or whatever the hell they call malls these days. I needed something from Nordstrom, and there are only two Nordstroms in the Phoenix metro area. I’d be damned if I would drive to the Scottsdale Mall – er, Fashion Square — since it is described as an upscale luxury fashion center, and I am neither luxurious nor fashionable. Chandler it was.

I was helped at the MAC counter at Nordstrom by an exceptionally nice young woman wearing neon blue lipstick that kept me so distracted that I had trouble concentrating on all of the things she was telling me to do if I wanted to look 10 years younger, and praying that wearing blue lipstick wasn’t one of them.

I rarely wear makeup, but I noticed recently that Jen looks years younger than me, and attributed it to the fact that she wears a foundation that covers any signs of aging. Of course, it could be partially due to the fact that she actually is younger than me. Nevertheless, I felt it might be time to set aside some of my hillbilly ways and perhaps put on a bit of makeup now and again. Hence, the stop at Nordstrom. Next time you see me, you will be astounded at how young I look. Or, on the other hand, you might think I look like Charo.

But back to IKEA.

Since we were on that side of town, we decided to visit the IKEA store. I had recently seen a photo of some shelving in a bathroom that appealed to me. I mentioned it to Bill, forgetting that if you mention it to Bill McLain, it will come. With the persistence of a dog with a bone, he immediately began researching where to find the right kind of shelving and for the best price. The final answer? IKEA.

Very often we can circumvent the unavoidable somnolence of a trip through IKEA by going in the exit and making our way directly to the area where you pick up the various and sundry boxes that contain all of the 10,000 parts that make up your item. We have even been known to walk the opposite direction of the arrows – like a salmon swimming upstream – if we know the item at which we want to look is near the end of the maze.

This time, however, he wanted to show me the item and wasn’t entirely sure in what section it was located. Hence, Night of the Living Dead.

And, by the way, we were not the only ones to have the idea to visit IKEA yesterday. Don’t these people have jobs? Perhaps, like us, they just wanted to get out of the heat.

But within 45 minutes of arriving home, Bill had put the 10,000 pieces together and here is the result…..

This post is linked to Grammy’s Grid.