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After Work: Yikes, I'm Old

Big handbags. A bacon cheeseburger instead of salad with balsamic dressing... Dona Gibbs would have us believe that old age is setting in.

Don't you believe it! Dona's words sizzle with ever-youthful enthusiasm. To read more of them please click on After Work in the menu on this page.

O.K. Time has come for me to fess up. Iím getting older.

If looking in the mirror isnít proof enough, there are other signs that grannydom is upon me.

First off, I am now a grandmother to two little guys. ďNow let me just see,Ē I say while digging around in a ten-pound handbag, ďI have this winsome little book of photos right here.Ē

Thatís two signs of age right there: big hulking handbag and grandkidsí pictures.

Now to point out the youngest grandsonís new teeth Iíll have to dig around in said handbag for reading glasses.

Aha, yet another sign of age!

My lunch companions are perusing the menu and have lost interest in pictures. After all, they have plenty of their own grandchildren and they could dig out half a dozen of their own pictures from their big handbags.

The ladies study the menu as if this lunch may well be our last. Can the salad be chopped? Can the dressing be served on the side? Is the iced tea sweetened?

And then after all the questions, fully half the women order the hamburger. Some spring for the bacon cheeseburger.

Ten years ago, that would have been unthinkable in a group of lunching ladies. Then it would have been salads all round with balsamic dressing on the side, or for the chicest of us, a simple squirt of lemon juice.

We were all concerned about our figures then and hadnít discovered that a heaping helping of spandex added to undergarments is a miracle diet.

I look around the table and then at myself. Since when has comfort been a priority in my attire? Well, let me see, since my last birthday. Thatís when I finally stopped subscribing to a hip little shopping website and admitted that float-y tops over stovepipe jeans made me look silly Ėor worseólike some freak of nature whoíd become pregnant at sixty-four.

Then there are shoes. Shoes, I love them but more and more as art objects. High heels, sling backs, peep toes, wedges Ė I think they are splendid. At least for five minutes, I adore wearing them. Then give me back my flats. I havenít yet succumbed to trainers with dressy attire but Iím never saying never.

Iíve always loved pop music. But I know Iím getting old when I canít identify one new artist on the music scene. Gee whiz, Duncan Sheik and China Forbes are my sonís contemporaries and even they, although wildly talented, and donít qualify as truly cutting-edge.

Iíve always loved pop culture but I wouldnít dare uttering any of what I think is the new colorful slang. First of all, by the time it hit print it would be old. Secondly, Iíd misuse it, no doubt.

Then there are some really scary signs. I really think about my upper arms; shallow, I know, when I should be thinking about my eternal soul. I donít want to be waving a merry good-bye to a friend and have my un-toned flab do its own little independent shimmy.

Ladies, and gents too, I might add: almost any outfit can achieve a dignity befitting older age with the addition of a blue blazer. It your attire isnít suitable for the addition of a smart little jacket, the aforementioned blue blazer or full-fledged suit, then rethink the event. Should you really be there?

ďHow come my mother never told me that food would stick in my teeth?Ē a friend asked.

ďI canít have tomato sauce anymore,Ē another friend wailed. ďIt keeps me up all night.Ē

ďIf I have a glass of wine at lunch,Ē I complained to a fellow luncheon club member, ďIíll have to have an afternoon nap.Ē

ďAnd whatís wrong with that?Ē he, an affable eighty-something gentleman, responded while hailing the waiter for a Bloody Marty.

All of these are minor concerns compared to the real problems of getting older and not necessarily better.

Arriving back from months in Florida (another sign of age) I was getting out New York apartment back in shape. We haul little back and forth but I do carry bauble and bangles.

Iíd carried my favorites back to New York but had left some very sentimental pieces behind in New York. When we got back, I couldnít find them. Iíd hidden them. But where?

I looked and looked. I thought I might have inadvertently tossed them. I looked some more.

I mentally beat myself to a quivering insecure pulp.

I looked again. No sparkly rings and things.

It was then I exhibited a truly frightening sign of age: I thought the very hard-working, trustworthy painters who were doing some touch-up work for us had stolen my little treasures.

Thatís dangerous. Itís the ďmust have my purse with meĒ syndrome perhaps you saw in your own grandmother.

Ever-enthusiastic and ever-youthful husband guffawed (not an endearing sound). ďYouíll find them,Ē he said. ďYou have some ingenious hiding places.Ē

He was right. I do and I found them, but Iím not telling where.

Paranoia plagues some of us in our later years. Thatís one sign of age Iíll have to fight.


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