I seem to be repeating stories. Even when I take a second to ask myself, Have I already told this person my adorable story that took place thirty years ago? Either I don’t wait for my own answer, or I can’t remember if I did or not, so I launch into it, because, really, it’s my best story of all time: I joined a health club the year after giving birth to my last baby when I was in my early thirties. One morning, as I was walking to my aerobics class, all the way across the entire gym floor, I noticed men looking at me and nudging their friends.
I was getting a lot of attention, just by walking through the club! This was terrific. Men were noticing how well I’d whipped my saggy postpartum body into shape. I was naughtily delighted at how much they all seemed to want me.
When I got to class at the far end of the building, the instructor came rushing over to me, saying, “Oops, you’ve got toilet paper coming out of your leotard, and it’s dragging behind you!”
Lately when I’ve told the toilet-paper tail story, I see a little impatient nodding going on, because my listener has heard it all before and is trying to save me the trouble of finishing.
I believe I’ve now told this story to everyone, though I can’t be sure, so I’m going to keep telling it, just in case.
This happens, too: I’m driving in a perfectly orderly and cautious way and come to a four-way stop sign. A young dad in his SUV is already there, waiting. He spots me and begins waving that I should go. It seems like a panicky wave, like he can’t trust me. Like he wants to save his kids in the backseat. I want to open my window and shout, “Hey, I’m still an excellent driver!” But those were my father’s words to the Police after he mowed down an entire hedgerow in front of their condominium in Florida. So I do go first at the intersection, but I also give the SUV dad a little thank-you wave, showing off I can still do two things at once without hitting the fire hydrant on the corner.
There are more signs that I’m not, shall we say, the young bloom I used to be.
I never run out of anything. Ever. My days of trotting next door for a cup of flour while I’m in the middle of making a pie crust will never happen again. I stock up on everything, even things I will never use if I live to be 100. My heirs can count on inheriting economy packs of toilet paper and a subscription to The New Yorker that will expire in 2045.
When I have to bend down, I always look around carefully to see if there isn’t something else I should be doing as long as I’m down there. I hope the cheerleaders from high school also have to do this now.
I’m not sure I’ll ever remember to cough or sneeze into my elbow because every time I feel one coming, I still hear my mother saying “Cover your mouth!”
I’ve never taken a selfie. I reject that word on principle. It’s quite enough that I’m of the generation that established the School of Epic Self-Importance. I don’t need pictures taken at bad angles to remind me that I’m the center of the Universe.
And somehow I totally missed the demise of phone booths. One day they all just seemed to have disappeared from the landscape. This happened while I wasn’t looking, which troubles me.
In his later years, every morning and every evening, my grandfather wrote down the weather in the little boxes of the free calendar he got from his newspaper boy. I’m happy to report I’m not even close to doing that. But the world does seem to be spinning so much faster than it used to. And I’m not ready.
For anyone keeping score, the weather was miserable today. But I don’t remember what it was like yesterday because I don’t keep track. I swear I don’t.