Saturday, November 21, 2009

Black is the color of my...closet

Taking a quick scan of my closet, I see what others would conclude: My favorite color is black. I do own bright- and multi-colored tops, and in the summer, I sometimes wear white or tan capris (more on capris in another post). But black takes up the overwhelming majority of my half of the space. I’ve decided, therefore, that when I shop, I cannot even consider buying any more black—for a while.

I enter a store with good intentions. Now that it’s almost winter, the jewel tones I also like are plentiful. But I still find myself perusing the racks and pulling out black sweaters, shirts, pants, and skirts to take a closer look. Then I internally scold myself. The conversation in my head goes something like this:

Practical Me: You already have three black cardigans.

Blackaholic Me: But this one has ruffles on the cuffs. Ruffles are so in now.

PM: Who’s going to look that closely at the cuffs? You’ll just be wearing another black cardigan.

BM: But the texture of this one is so smooth. And it has long sleeves. Two of our older sweaters have three-quarter sleeves—too much exposure for winter.

This goes on for a second or two more, and then I hang the item back on the rack.

Today I went shopping, again, and wandered into—surprise!—Chico’s. Here’s a rhetorical question: Does a mostly black top that has red and white accents count against me? I thought it didn’t, and I could not resist buying it. It fits me well, I have many things to wear it with, and it was on sale. But it also looks vaguely like a number of other black-with-other-colors Chico’s tops I already have.

So it’s fair to say I haven’t been cured of my black clothing addiction. I know of one can't miss cure, but I’m not ready to go for it: I'll adopt a shaggy dog or long-haired cat. Then I’m sure I’ll never wear black again. Or navy. Or charcoal…

Monday, November 16, 2009

The language of age

A friend at work recently loaned me a book she found amusing—How Not to Act Old by Pamela Redmond Satran. The cover alone made me laugh: a pair of granny panties swinging alongside a leopard-print thong on a clothesline. The book’s chapters cover the actions we older people take that give away our generation, sometimes before we open our mouths. According to Satran, if we leave a voice message for a younger person or even send an e-mail, we’re labeled as old. Instead we should text. I don’t text, and in the interest of full disclosure, I admit that we’ve blocked texting on our family cell plan so we don’t get hit with extra fees.

The book is funny, and some of the tips, I’m sure, will not be heeded by most people over 40. And many, I have to believe, are tongue-in-cheek. But it got me to thinking about my habits and how I’m noticing more of a divide between the young and myself. I specifically said “myself” because not all of my contemporaries are stubborn about giving up past practices.

My word choice is an excellent example. I still say medication instead of meds, pharmaceutical instead of pharma, applications instead of apps. It’s hard for me to cut doctors down to docs, although I used it in an earlier post. (It felt odd as I typed it then, but I was trying to be hip….do they still say that?) Some of the newer shortened words are, in my opinion, short enough in their original form. What’s the time saving there? And are we supposed to be too busy—or too lazy—to sound out two syllables? You are now getting the picture as to why I’m not texting. Can you imagine me typing "C U later" and not obsessing about the omitted letters—not to mention a misplaced “C”? I have tried Twitter though, and anyone who reads my writing can understand why I’d have difficulty saying anything in only 140 characters.

I'm told I look younger than I am, and most of the time my clothes are appropriately youthful. And I’d like to believe that I think young—when I’m not trying to come up with the ironies of aging for this space. So, the handwriting is on the wall (does anyone ever say that anymore?), and you’ll probably see me texting my grandchildren in the future—if texting isn’t considered old by the time they learn to type with their thumbs.