Help! My Face Has Fallen And It Can’t Get Up

As I sat there watching while she fit me for new running shoes, I was distracted, amazed and ultimately annoyed that her stomach did not change shape as she moved about. How did it not spill over her low rise jeans as she bent over my feet, defying all laws of gravity?  It was all I could do not to kick her over.

I apologized for my gargantuan bunion, and hoped it would not cause her any post traumatic stress, or cause her to seek help from a more seasoned shoe-fitter-person.  She tried her best to make me less self conscious, telling me something about her grandmother’s bunion.  Comparing me to a senior citizen somehow was not helping.  (I flashed back to the old women I remember seeing in Italy, wearing slippers and drugstore sandals with holes cut out to accommodate their bunions.) She then started to tell me that as we (we?) get older, that nice cushion of fat on the bottoms of our feet starts to disappear, and its loss impacts comfort.  Let me get this straight. We lose fat from the bottoms of our feet and gain it under our chins and armpits?  I have bat wings that flap in the wind with every Zumba move I make.  But get a load of my nice lean foot bottoms.

I would sleep better, knowing that I have none of that nasty, comforting fat under my feet, except that I have lost my ability to sleep through the night.  It’s amazing how much I get done between 2 and 5 AM, without ever leaving my dark world of warm blankets and snoring dogs. I write thoughtful letters that bring about change. I create beautiful, comprehensive designs for clients. I solve personal issues, create new ones, and then solve them as well. I write award winning short stories, from which I read excerpts in front of stadium size audiences.  How nice it would be if I could remember some of it in the light of day.  Roll back for a moment to a Seinfeld episode. Remember when Jerry wakes up in the dark of night laughing, and writes down whatever it was that made him laugh? In the morning he can’t read it, and spends the next 17 minutes of the show trying to figure out what it was. When he finally does, he realizes it wasn’t so funny after all.  Without a cast of characters to help me, I may start recording my funny thoughts and hope that it isn’t a garbled whisper of nonsense in the morning.

During these awake and sort-of-awake hours, I imagine what it would be like to belt a sweater, travel through time, or achieve other unimaginable feats. I drift off and find myself fighting my way out of a giant spider web, only to wake up in a pool of sweat, trying to escape my covers during a hot flash.  And I recently learned that lack of sleep ads to weight gain, which keeps me awake with worry.  You see why I can’t sleep.

I think we have it backwards, this aging process. Our physical appearance and abilities should get better with age, rewarding us for a life well-lived.  Bad people can get ugly.  You never let other cars into your lane of traffic? You get adult acne.  You spit on the sidewalk? You will wrinkle up like a prune.  You don’t read to your kids?  Cup size down and band size up, my friend.

But the rest of us (the good people) should continue to become more of whatever it is we define as beautiful. Rather than dreading the aging process, we should be excited with every new discovery we wake to.  No more greeting the day with a mile-long hair sprouting from someplace that was bare when you went to bed.   No more mistaking quarters for nickels, and telling the waiter about all the ingredients that must be left out of your meal.  Instead we should wake to things like “Oh wow, I lost 8 pounds without even trying.” We should walk down the street and feel noticed instead of invisible, and have enough energy and emotional capacity to enjoy all our accumulated knowledge and talent.

But really, why should I care if I refer to Lady Gaga’s song Applause and call it Applesauce just because I couldn’t clearly see the print? And so what if I mistakenly hand my kid an Oxy instead of a tic-tac?  None of it really matters as long as we all just agree to stay a little bit drunk.  Or we can keep trying to convince ourselves that it’s what’s inside that really matters.  I guess I will just continue to stand in front of the mirror, a little drunk, pushing my cheeks back to see what a facelift would look like.   I’m fine with that.

Tic-tac anyone?



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