November 10, 2008

A Brief and Clinically Depressed and Wrinkly and Saggy and Old Digression

We will get to the topic of what a freak I am tomorrow, when I tell you about the time I LITERALLY used hand gestures stolen from Disney’s animated version of The Little Mermaid to audition to be friends with a girl named Beth. Yes, I AM actually THAT weird. Perhaps Beth was, too, because it WORKED.

…MEANWHILE, You may have noticed I am blogging less. I may have noticed you noticing because you may have sent me several e-mails about it. Yes, I am only blogging two or three times a week, but not because I do not love you, OH NO. It is only that I am at that place where The Book Is Go, and I am very seldom noticing things that are happening around me. I live in fictional Texas these days. Look for me to emerge back into being less hermit-y in a couple months.

MEANWHILE, I am thinking of completely giving up on aging GRACEFULLY. I am, after all, the girl who could always be counted on to trip over dust motes. I have never done ANYTHING gracefully, so why should getting old be any different for me? I think I must have already stumbled over forty and landed face down in LITTLE OLD LADY HOOD, as all the college kids I taught last week relentlessly called me ma’am. Any minute I am expecting to be set upon by boy scouts, who will force-march me across the street as part of their Help The Elderly Whether They Want Help or Not Badge.

WHY DO I TRY??? I might as well let my elbows get rough and use a jug of dollar-ninety Vaseline Intensive Care lotion on my FACE instead of shelling out for the twenty buck Oil of Old Grocery Store Moisturizer because APPARENTLY I decided to SKIP any sort of VIBRANT middle age…

Today, I went hiking with my friend Julie. We go every Monday, death marching up and down a gentle mountain near an historic battlefield. Julie is a little younger than me – maybe 35? Her son is my son’s BFF, and her daughter is my daughter’s BFF, and her LITTLEST is three and goes on the hike with us in his 50 million dollar overland stroller that you could SERIOUSLY use to forge a path over the Adirondacks.

Today, we passed this older fellow, probably late sixties, and waved and smiled as trail etiquette demands. He grinned down at Julie’s toddler and said, “AW! Is that your grandbaby?”

Julie, WILDLY affronted, said, “NO! That is my son.”

And this gent, abashed not at all, said, “Oh, I didn’t mean you. I was talking to your mother.”


Then I set on him like a harpy and rent him in twain and JulIE and I ate his intestines while he was still alive and screaming.

I think he got off easy, really.

Julie said he was hitting on me, but if you are 68 and think you have a SHOT I must be looking pretty ROUGH, wouldn’t you say? Yikes.

We hiked on and I said, “WHY do I try? WHY even pursue FITNESS? AND I put LIP GLOSS on before we set out, and not ENTIRELY for the MOISTERIZING LIP-PROTECTIVE QUALITIES…forget it. I am going to lie down here in the grass and cry and eat candy. YOU go ahead and work your butt muscles, daughter-mine. You can pick up my corpse on your way back to the cars.”

She still made me go on the hike, but I have to say, it was one hellacious ugly way to start the morning.


Posted by joshilyn at November 10, 2008 12:33 PM

Not completely comparable, but it reminded me of last spring when my mother was staying with us after my dad passed away. The little Hispanic lady in Sam's who was passing out free food looked directly at me and said, "Here. Try this. Why you not slim like your sister?" I said, "She's my mother." And the lady said, "Why you not slim like your mother. 'Tis better to be slim than. . .*some sort of obese hand gesture*. . ."

Yes, indeed.

And I think you are lovely.

Posted by: Roxanne at November 10, 2008 12:51 PM

To the food sample lady in Sam's.

Why are you not kind like Roxanne? Tis better to be kind than slim. And tis WAY better to be kind than... *makes a hand gesture that clearly means "a buttmunch."*

Posted by: joshilyn at November 10, 2008 12:58 PM

I am laughing with you. With you. I swear.

(The daughter mine line did me in.)

While visiting my MIL's church one recent miserable Christmas, a lady said something about me being my OLDER SIL's mother and I nearly passed out.

Then she tried to make it better by saying it was because I am so much bigger than she is.

Her life was spared because Jesus was watching. I choose to believe she meant to say I was taller than the rest of my husband's family.

But it crushed my spirit and I didn't even have a hike ahead of me.

Bless you.

(You are lovely in a non-mam sort of way. True story.)

Posted by: Lisa Milton at November 10, 2008 1:10 PM

Ouch - that's awful.

A movie ticket-collector asked my mother and I if we were sisters. I'm 27, she's 60. *sigh* Also, when my brother told his girlfriend that he had two sisters, one of whom was nine years younger than the other, she guessed I was the older one. Um, no. Try again.

Why do we bother?

Posted by: Holly at November 10, 2008 1:10 PM

The hapless man.
In my case, I was 45 and, at that moment, holding onto the bus strap. The old guy seated on the side peered up at me.
"You are pretty..."
I started to thank him, except he finished with:
"...for a girl."
I didn't know if I was 'too' young or the wrong sex.

Posted by: hollygee at November 10, 2008 1:15 PM

Wow. How tactless. Any man who knows women at all would never assume that someone is a child's grandmother unless the woman is carting around a photo album and offering to show everyone photos of her grandchild.

Posted by: Caryn Caldwell at November 10, 2008 1:39 PM

We haven't met in person, but you don't look so old in the photos I've seen.

Some people (old man) mean well but make fools of themselves with false assumptions. Others (food sample lady) are just plain rude.

Good luck with the new book!

Posted by: Paige Ridley at November 10, 2008 1:42 PM

Here is what happened: In order for him to justify his own aged self, he picked the hottest chick on the trail and decided SHE must be MY age! Just like a man. Its like the ones that are 30 but are sure they could kick butt in college football. Like that. He was wishing himself younger by making you older. It's still a good thing you ate him alive. The blindness would have left him no quality of life anyway.

Posted by: Em at November 10, 2008 1:49 PM

I haven't been ID'd for a beer in many a year. Until I hit 32 or so, it was a regular occurrence.
(Forgive them all, Father, for they have sinned: It's been 4 years since any of those dag gum servers have asked for my ID. Please, I beg you...strike them all down. But AFTER they bring me my frothy beverage.)

And one time, some guy asked me when I was due. I was in a size 8 (!!!) at the time. Talk about an ego crusher. GAH!

Posted by: Tuli at November 10, 2008 1:51 PM

Obviously he had cataracts and was almost legally blind. Shake it off!

Posted by: RuthWells at November 10, 2008 2:26 PM

Macular degeneration. It's the only explanation.

Posted by: sara at November 10, 2008 3:00 PM

I feel your pain. I ran into Kroger on a Wednesday--never go into Kroger on a Wednesday--and slapped my few items down to check out. The cute young thing behind the register asked, "You want your senior citizen discount, ma'am?" My response, "What?" Thinking I was not only elderly but also hard of hearing she shouted, "YOU WANT YOUR SENIOR CITIZEN DISCOUNT, MA'AM?" I wasn't even 50--ten years short of the allowable age for the discount. Now I know I had had a bad day, but come on. I did take the discount and made a vow never to go into Kroger on a Wednesday--ever.
The old guy--just hitting on you in that senile way old guys have.

Posted by: Ralee at November 10, 2008 3:10 PM

I thought that the book was sucking the life out of you, and I was right! I look for your and Mir's posts daily. I need the laughs!

Posted by: Melody at November 10, 2008 3:12 PM

There are clueless folks in every generation. Help support the economy and buy those expensive only-for-your-face lotions regardless. We all need the emotional boost. And since I've met you personally-he was way off base girlfriend!

Posted by: Bridget at November 10, 2008 5:02 PM

You made me totally laugh out loud today - something I rarely do. I suppose the old man probably should not have been out on his own. The nursing home has most likely missed him by now. Oh and the college students who mam'ed you. They didn't know any better. Remember you live in the south. They only meant to be polite. I still mam people out of habit even when they are younger than I am.

Posted by: Cathi at November 10, 2008 5:51 PM

....and if you get the dreaded "when are you due?" question (as so many of us apparently have), the correct, you-can't-have-just-seriously-asked-that answer is a deathglare, deadpan "for what -- an oil change?"

Posted by: dramamama at November 10, 2008 8:11 PM

Clearly the man had poor eye sight...I mean...seriously! Have I not told you about the time G had a roommate's relative start up a conversation about being in Nam? G is clearly not old enough to have been there.

ALSO...I have a cousin who is like 30 that is going to be a that!

Posted by: Lia at November 11, 2008 4:53 AM


Posted by: nik at November 11, 2008 6:08 AM

BWa ha haa! Too funny. As an old mommy (about to turn 45 while my girl just turned 4), I'm just waiting for that one myself.

I always thought your pictures look rather young!

Posted by: Brigitte at November 11, 2008 6:42 AM

In April I went to my nephew's baptism and a lady at the church asked me if I was the grandma. She knows my brother, who is, granted, 9 years younger than me but NOT younger enough to be my son.

I am expecting a baby next month at the decrepitudinous age of 38, and woe betide the person who asks me if she's my grandbaby.

Posted by: CJ at November 11, 2008 10:02 AM

I'm with Sara - it was definitely macular degeneration - he couldn't see.

Posted by: Deborah P at November 11, 2008 10:34 AM

ouch. dumb old guy probably had catarachts (sp?) so it was really more about his poor vision than the way you look.

also, you live in the south. don't all females get addressed as ma'am?

lastly, I highly recommend the $30 Dear John facial moisturizer from Benefit.

You're beautiful, Joss. Irish lasses and laddies are beautiful/handsome even as they age.

Posted by: Elizabeth J at November 11, 2008 12:17 PM

It's cataracts. Really. They make your eye's all yellow on the inside. You probably looked jaundiced. It changes all the colors and makes everything all blurry. Truely. My step-dad is an artist and said so.

Posted by: JulieB at November 11, 2008 3:11 PM

Honestly, once people get past a certain age themselves, everyone else just looks "younger". They can't tell the difference between 35 and 50 - it is totally NOT you!

Also, men rarely update their "search images" for attractive women to reflect their own increased age and girth.

As for the Ma'am thing - students called me Ma'am in MS when I was 29. So did my mechanic and sundry other people scared to try to pronounce my last-name-with-not-enough-vowels.

It is not you, you're gorgeous. Whether trying to grow old gracefully is a good use of your energy is another question, and one NOT to be confused with struggling to continue to look young.

Posted by: Diane (TT) at November 11, 2008 5:57 PM

I'm a 40-year-old mom with an 18-month-old. I've gotten the grandmother line -- just once, but I'll never forget! And I'm a hottie! Just kidding!!!!!!! This is true -- when I saw you in church last Sunday, I was pretty excited. I came home and told my husband about it. He asked if he thought we could be friends, because well, I need friends, and I've been a fan of yours for a while. I'm star-struck, what can I say. As I was enumerating the WAYS IN WHICH WE MIGHT BE SIMILAR, I said we were close to the same age, though I thought you were probably five years younger at least. I might have gone younger than that if it weren't for your kiddos.

I won't stalk you at church or anything, I promise. But I will say hi next time I see you!

Posted by: Sherry at November 12, 2008 9:55 AM

Oh for Pete's sake! He must have been BOTH legally blind and massively brain damaged to think that you looked old enough to have a 35 year old daughter and a grandbaby. WhatEVER. Feel pity for the old gent. He's clearly in a downward spiral.

Posted by: Aimee at November 12, 2008 10:59 AM

OMG you are hilarious!!! Who TOLD you that middle age was vibrant??? They lied LOLOLOL

Posted by: Jill at November 12, 2008 7:38 PM

I feel ya girl! When check rental houses for my daughter, I was organized and call ahead to let the owner know I was coming to see the house. Stupid me, took my co-worker, who is MY AGE with me and yep, you guessed it. The manager told me my "daughter" looked just like me! I could have slapped him. She, of course, just smiled and called me MOM for the rest of the week!! Middle age sucks!!

Posted by: Janie at November 14, 2008 1:57 PM

Oh, my. The worst example of this I've witnessed is when a stylist at a hair salon thought that my friend was my son's grandmother. She's one year older that me, and I look like a 43-year old with two kids (which I am). She was justifiably ticked off and I was terribly embarrassed because she kept insisting that meant she looked old enough to be my mom.

Posted by: Cindy Ericsson at November 14, 2008 11:48 PM