Thursday, January 4, 2007

The March

401K contributions. Prudent and responsible retirement planning. Sleep deprivation. Inexplicable muscle torpidity. Partial hearing and/or memory loss. Obituary scanning. Pre-menopausal symptomology. Ocular degeneration. Bifocals. Annual mammograms. Personal dryness.

The above words have become a common enough part of my vocabulary. I can honestly say that there is not one word in that series of phrases that I used when I was in my 30s. Well. Unless it was to produce the following sentence: "I'm suffering sleep deprivation due to surprising, but hardly inexplicable, midnight boffing. "

It's a strange sort of twilight space to be - in my 40s. My intellectual being tells me that I am not old. I am vibrant and alive! I am witty and can hold my own in mixed company! I am an intelligent woman of substance, comfortable with who I am! Pleased with what I have accomplished! I am excited about what I still want to achieve! Eschew stupidty! Repudiate juvenescence!

I have endured death, divorce, and dual male adolescence. I have earned the respect of corporate executives and the scorn of one backward woman offended by my managerial requirement of occasional attendance.

Old? Bleep old. 80 is old. I can do anything I want to do. My children are (mostly) grown. I earn a decent living. So what if I'm putting the maximum amount of my paycheck into my retirement? Adroit fiscal regulation is thoughtful and astute.

I'm at the top of my bleeping game.

And then my physical being sniggers at my intellect.

I'm not talking about some artless optometrist telling me I need bifocals. Nor some taut twenty something looking at me with pity. Them? Without exception, I am unconcerned; I endure the vacuous mouth breathers in a detached manner. Life hasn't beaten them down yet. They don't have a clue. Let them - alone - raise three agile-minded teenagers into thoughtful capable adults. Then we can talk.

No. No. I'm talking about me. Myself. My body at war with my mind. Bleep it - I won ribbons in track for the 100 meter hurdles! I won the bleeping MVP trophy in volleyball! At one time, I alone excited the ardour of hot young men with my lithe, supple figure (see Dan Hughes; Frankfort, NY, May, 1981).

Nope. Nope. I'm talking about the simple things. It becomes increasingly difficult to accomplish what had once been fully taken for granted. I now fear, in my 40s, that I am never to enjoy the banality of some tasks ever again. Getting up in the morning pain free. Walking the bleeping dog - breathing hard. Driving in the snow - anxiety ridden. Hurdle stretches - weighted with pain. Weight loss - teeming with insurmountable obtacles. Showers? Yes, showers. Now frought with terror. Is there anything more mundane? More pedestrian? More prosaic?

But today (and I beg your forgiveness for the disturbing visual) reaching for the shampoo, I slipped. I fell. Out of the shower. I fell without deliberation, wrapped in the shower curtain, to the floor hitting my head on a corner wall. Hoping against hope that I could make it to work during our busy season, I dragged myself back to the shower, it was ok! I was still young! Vibrant! Capable! I could make it to work! I could save the day!

But there was Blood. Lots of it. Lots of Blood.

A cousin, eight staples, and one vicodin later...

You might as well have told me I broke a hip.


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