Tuesday, January 6, 2009

When She is an Old Woman, She Will Decidedly not be Wearing Purple

Over the past few weeks, the Matron has had the bewildering experience of encountering at least ONE MILLION people that she has not had the
  • pleasure
  • discomfort
  • aggravation
  • amusement/bemusement
of encountering in anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Most remarkable were the minions at Grandpa Don's funeral. The Matron is married to a man with 75 first cousins!!! The union of his parents--Irish Catholic immigrants and Polish Catholic immigrants--created a theological vortex of prodigious power.

Indeed, the Matron's own weddding was a champagne haze of "who is this?" and "isn't he married to what's-her-name?"

Of course, since John's parents are long divorced, only about half this crew crowded in to say good-bye to Grandpa Don. But half is enough to PANIC the Matron!! Why!??

This is her generation -- mid-forties, give or take five years. And they came, OLD!! Old, she screams, stomping on the size one jeans and padded bra!! Why bother!!?? What with those eye pouches, wrinkles and triple chins ahead!? It was ugly. Adults who were last seen lithe and unlined, suddenly had all kinds of unseeming Sag and Wrinkle.

Nothing like DEATH and the sight of 43 people visibly marching toward it, to make your day, huh? So the Matron was a little selfishly and completely inappropriately depressed the day of the funeral (remember, there were actual mourners with better values than the skin tautness gauge).

Just to insure that the Matron understands that she is both old and unpopular (multi-tasking, again!), last week she also ran into the Gold Standard for High School Success while seeing Grease with her daughter.

Digression! Yes, she took Zelda to the completely inappropriate touring production of Grease, where crotches are rocked and breasts cupped with abandon. Given that Z. recently performed as the lesbian sex-pot in Rent, well, things seemed just about right.

So there she is in the unwholesome lobby, replete in a $2. no-brand jacket, jeans and unwashed hair, rumbling through a purse for a Kleenex & breath mint because her nose is running and she can STILL smell the coffee on her tongue , but who stands before her like a goddess, perfectly coiffed and chic, but THE most popular girl in high school (not in the Twin Cities but far off in smalltown) whom the Matron has not seen in nearly a decade -- and the goddess was looking much more expensive, composed and less wrinkled than the Matron. And she did not need a breath mint.

After the pleasantries, the Matron marveled at her range, capable of looking middle-aged while feeling, oh, 15.

Today, the Matron was at LifeTime Fitness. She is weak. The ice is bad. So she joined for the month of January and guess what? There are other human beings there and sometimes they talk to you.

This is a very bad development.

You see, the Matron is long accustomed to slapping on her seven layers of clothing and running, completely alone. She can be naked in the shower and there is no 21 year old trying hard not to look at the shriveled acorns (but imagine marshmallow texture - that's important) masquerading as her breasts. Or worse -- chatting!

So today she's standing half-dressed at LifeTime, trying to put in contacts and she hears this:

"Mary? Mary Matron? Is that you?"

Matron (through one contact): "Uh. . yes!"

Elderly Woman: ""It's me! Lonnie Levin? Remember from parenting class?"

So the Matron embarked upon a long conversation, half-naked and in a hurry, with a woman who clearly had been in some kind of parenting class with her who clearly was also a COMPLETE STRANGER. For four or five minutes of small talk, she had absolutely no idea who this ancient woman was, and could only fixate on the fact that whoever she was, she looked pretty damn old to be in a parenting class with the Matron.

Then. . . finally, she remembered! The class, the woman. Her approximate age: exactly the Matron's.

So if you are an old friend of the Matron's and haven't seen her in a good long while, but have put on just the right amount of wrinkles, pounds and existential angst to mirror her own sad state?

It's okay if you don't stop and say hi . . . .


Suburban Correspondent said...

Oh, wow - I know. It's awful. I've spent 33 years worrying about how I look, and within a day, it seems, it suddenly became completely irrelevant.

Some older woman role models, please? Without cosmetic surgery?

Erin Alberty said...

Ya, what's the deal? I thought the rule was that the popular girls from high school would become dowdy and barefoot by 25. But the hotties from my class still are hot. It's OK because they were nice.

The popular girls from junior high? Different story. If you want to feel better about yourself, look up the snots who terrorized and depantsed you in 7th grade. They'll have have mullets and droopers for sure.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm lucky--in my work almost everyone I see is sick or, if not sick, needing medication. Since I know everyone's bday, I am constantly asking my 20-something coworkers, "She looks older than me, right?" They always answer in the affirmative. Maybe they're trying to be nice, but I'll take it.

Heather said...

Oh gosh. Can I just pretend I didn't go to high school?

M said...

Oh Matron, know how you feel. After racing through the "Twilight" series after Christmas and then watching the movie I'm suddenly feeling all OLD. It's all so depressing. And yes, the young looking forty-somethings and the old-looking forty-somethings are equally depressing.

Oh god, the word verification is "forti". It mocks me.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Hubby and I were watching TV last week when a commercial began, "were you born between 1924 and 1968?"-- Hubby got excited, we were in that age group --(barely) I got scared -- because we're now in the group that can apply for that life insuance that doesn't have any limitations on it --- you know, the stuff that is supposed to pay for your FUNERAL!

Beth said...

I am no longer able to determine the age of anyone between 40 and 60. I suspect this is in part because I like to think I don't look my age. Hah! What an illusion - but one that keeps me happy...
(Why do I care??)

Anonymous said...

The very best aging comment I have heard was said at my 20 year class reunion: We all look pretty much the same, just... lower. At my 40 year reunion we were all glad just to be above ground.

Yep, gravity wins every damned time. I could stop by and you could marvel at how much younger you are than I. Would that help?

Outnumbered2to1 said...

Oh man. Isn't that the truth. I keep turning to my husband and saying, "what happened? They look so old." And he turned giving me 'the look' as if to say, we are ALL old. Sucks. Not as bad as seeing all those teeny bopper moms dropping off their little 4k kids at school. They are really too young to be having kids.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is, while I have good youth genes and look much younger than I am (32, the receptionist at the dentist nearly fainted with shock when I told her I was pregnant with my 3rd child, she thought I was 18), I could care less. It's wasted on me.

Lynda said...

It is pretty frightening, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Oh man, there is nothing worse than watching it all go south--except communal showers. That makes it much worse.

Minnesota Matron said...

The Matron loves this! Her high school graduating class had over 300 people but still -- after one of her dear old high school friends read this blog post, the friend called up the Matron and said: "I bet you saw XX X."

And she was right! Power!

Yolanda said...

I loved this post. I know how you feel I got my first prescription for bifocals yesterday.

Unknown said...

True story--I went to a 20 year memorial service for some high school friends and as the seats were being filled I whispered to my hubby that these folks must be parents of the other kids in my class. The wheels in my brain turned slowly and I thought to myself, "My parents are in their 70's. These folks look like they're in their 40's." The wheels kept creaking on till I realized these old people were my classmates. Oh, denial is a beautiful, wonderful thing.

Anonymous said...

Good news for all you forty-somethings: growing older has gotten a bad rap - it's not something to fear. I loved my 50s as my children were getting older, becoming more reasonable, graduating from college and becoming independent. I no longer worried about my career and getting ahead at my job. I simply enjoyed it. My 60s are even better - I still feel youngish, am active, RETIRED, and enjoying grandchildren and real freedom. I have a ball with my friends, carry on with my husband, read for pleasure, do some volunteering, and overall I am unstressed and happy. I have time to do things that have been put off for too long. Cheer up!!!! Know that the next stage in life has much to offer!