Nothing says horrifying better than going shopping for a bathing suit. The fluorescent lights in the fitting room give you that close-to-death pallor while simultaneously enlarging every facial imperfection. Then comes the horror of discovering that the size you wore last year is cutting into the flesh around your hips as you try to convince yourself that there are no size controls in whatever country that little bikini was made in. And to top it all off, there are security women watching you on monitors while you stand there looking pasty and puffy in the too small bathing suit. They must be chuckling. Well, you made their day, anyway.
Equally as unpleasant is reading about a movie star or celebrity who was born after you graduated from college. Holy crap. Am I really that old, you wonder. Yikes. This frightful realization plays out many different ways on a daily basis if you read those tabloids in the supermarket or if you watch TV or go to the movies. But it jumps to a whole new level of creepy when you notice a hot guy in a movie moments before it occurs to you that you are old enough to be his mother. Ewwwwww. That is just wrong on so many levels.
Dropping a hopelessly outmoded word into a conversation is the verbal equivalent of whipping out the AARP card for all to see. Cream rinse. Cassette tapes. Sony Walkman. Dickies. I could go on and on because I am ancient. So ancient, in fact, that when I was a little kid, there were no seatbelts in cars. No one wore a helmet when riding a bicycle. Our parents smoked cigarettes. Although I was too young to go to Woodstock, I know people who did. They said it was groovy.
Tennis is another one of those things that makes me feel crappy about myself when I think of all of the decades I have played that sport and all of the lessons and clinics I have attended and all of the games and matches I have participated in -- and I still suck at tennis. I haven't really improved much despite the time and effort and outlay of money. And despite all of the tennis outfits I tried on under the fluorescent lights.
But by far the most hideous of the many affronts to my self-esteem is the photo album or, as my mother displays in her house, the hallway covered in family photos from all the years of our lives. That photo of me as a kid is all good. Same with the graduation photos. Even the wedding photos are just fine. But then, as I walk closer to her bedroom, I can see myself age like it's a flip book. That's the year I had a baby and my waistline hasn't recovered yet. That's the year I started coloring my hair. But there are also a lot of fun times depicted in those photos, as well. I think I'll focus on those good times in the future and maybe over time my eyesight will deteriorate to the point where I am no longer able to see the defects of age. A girl can hope.
Until then, I am going to wear the bathing suit I have until the elastic disappears and it falls off of me. And after that I may just have to go skinny dipping. That could be groovy.
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