Sunday, January 31, 2010

Be careful what you laugh at

For one recent birthday, a long-time friend gave me a card that read “Ten Things We’re Still Too Young For.” Then it went on to list, from 10 down to 1, a la David Letterman, actions and attributes that immediately bring to mind little old ladies. My friend’s comment inside the card was “Uh-oh—I’m close to thinking some of these aren’t bad ideas!!” As I started reading through the list, I laughed as I recognized what applied to my mother and other older relatives but was pleased to see they didn’t apply to me. Then I read further, and my smile faded:

10. I don’t wear a plastic rain scarf. Do they even sell them anymore? I vowed years ago, watching my mother encase her teased hairdo in the ugly bonnet, that I would never wear one. So far, so good.

9. I don’t—and would never—have a tissue box cover made of yarn. Never.

8. My shower floor does not sport rubber daisies. I have a modern shower with the standard non-slip base (we were too over-upgraded to have the shower floor tiled), so that’s a non-issue.

7. I do not go to the “beauty shop” to have a once-a-week hairdo teased and sprayed. That practice will probably die out with the older generation. (However, sometimes I forget and call my salon the beauty shop.)

6. Do I have a drawer of newspaper clippings? Hmmmmm. Maybe not a drawer. Does a manila envelope count?

5. I was too quick to say no to having a huge vinyl purse with a padded strap, but the stores are now filled with fake leather purses, large ones, which may or may not have a “comfort strap.”I think I have one of those…

4. A seven-day pill organizer? Here, I get a little uncomfortable. Who at our age doesn’t have one? At least in my experience. Does it count if it contains only vitamin D pills and baby aspirin?

3. Do I have a tissue in every pocket and sleeve? Well, not in public. But with the perpetually runny nose that I was born with, I’ll admit to walking around with wadded tissues in the pockets of my bathrobes. When I have no pockets, I tuck them into my sleeve (eek!) or even my pants waistband. I surprise myself by my willingness to admit this. But I repeat: I don’t do this in public.

2. Do I have a shaky lip outline? Let’s leave this as “It’s getting there.” In my first post here (last September), I complained about how my lips are getting less defined. So I’ll have to add this one to my Yes list.

1. I expected more of this one—like David Letterman’s big finishes—but it’s just about finding a second use for bread bags. I can honestly say I never do this. But we do recycle most other relatively clean bags. And I confess that I use the cylindrical bags the Chicago Tribune comes wrapped in as shoe holders when packing for a trip. But I think I can safely disassociate myself from this one.

So how did I do? There were a few Yes answers and a couple of Maybes. I would like to conclude that I’m age-appropriate, not yet over that hill. And modern technologies will keep me from adopting the other outmoded “elderly” habits. But I’m afraid this list would look very different (and so our answers) if we asked our adult children to create it. I’m just not going to ask.