September 11th, 2006

ozarque figure

Eldering; notes on reading about Nora Ephron's neck....

I don't mind my wrinkles; I don't mind the state of my neck; I don't mind my white hair, though I wish it would quit thinning so it would be less hassle to deal with; I don't mind the age spots on my skin; I don't mind the curious shape my body has now that it's ruled by gravity. I don't mind those things for myself, and am much amused by the celebrity ladies' dramatic announcements that they've taken a vow to Age Naturally. I don't even mind the "old ladies are invisible" phenomenon, since an invisible old lady can get a lot more done than one that everybody is keeping an eagle eye on.

There are two effects of aging that I do mind, and that I resent bitterly.

First: I despise being frail. I expected the wrinkles and the neck thing, and the white hair, and so on; I was prepared for those. I wasn't prepared for becoming frail; that has taken me by surprise. I was never physically strong in the sense of being able to lift huge weights and do dozens of fast pushups and the like, but I was always strong in the sense of being able to go right on doing whatever-it-was -- hoeing, or typing, or walking, or singing, or whatever -- long after everybody else around me had collapsed. I was never physically strong in the sense of being able to go trekking about in the evenings -- doing the clubs, or going to parties -- but sunup to sundown I was somebody you could rely on to finish her assigned tasks and pitch in to help others should that be needed. I never expected to be one of those people that others (and I myself, truth be told) have to fret over: "Will it be too much for her, do you think? Do you think she's up to it?" I never expected to be someone who, right in the middle of some urgent and worthwhile task, suddenly finds herself obliged to go sit down for a while, or even lie down for a while.

Pride -- the worst of the seven worst sins -- that's what this is. I took my endurance for granted, didn't appreciate it half enough, assumed that it would always be there, and am now being put firmly in my place by Providence, which is determined that I shall learn humility if it's the last thing I ever do. I hate it. My neck? Feh. Who cares about my neck? Not me, I assure you. But being frail; that's hard.

Second: I despise all the bodyfuss I now have to go through. All my life, getting ready to go to bed has meant that I washed my face with Dial soap, brushed my teeth with whatever toothpaste had been cheapest at the grocery that week, and went to bed. Period. Three minutes, max.

No more. Now there's endless fuss. Special bionic teeth [teeth wearing crowns, mind you, and some of them golden crowns!] that have to be brushed in a special way with a special substance. Special bionic corneas [post-cataract-surgery corneas] that have to be plied with special fancy eyedrops. Special potions that have to be applied to one area of flaking skin; other special potions that have to be applied to other areas of flaking skin. Not because I give a flying floo if it flakes, but because without the potions it stops just flaking and starts bleeding, which isn't an effect a nice old lady like me wants to inflict on other people. It goes on and on and on, this long list of bodyfusseries. It takes me thirty minutes to get ready to go to bed; and come morning, it takes me almost that long to reverse the process. I might as well be putting my hair up in pincurls [some of you may remember pincurls] or applying false eyelashes and false fingernails; the time wasted would be the same. It just plain and purely infuriates me, and it's totally inappropriate in a house with only one bathroom, but there's no avoiding it. Not unless I want to be toothless and blind and bleeding, there's not.

It was very unfair of God to give only men the ability to grow beards. An old man can grow a magnificent full beard, so that all that's on public view is his twinkling eyes with their lovely crinkly lines at the outisde corners, and everything else -- including his neck, be it ever so raddled -- is hidden away. Let his hair grow a bit long in the back, he's all set; no neck to be seen, and he's gorgeous. Not fair. You can tell that all the Psalms were written by men because there isn't a single one in which someone is railing and ranting at the Almighty about how unjust it is that only men can grow beards.

I object.


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[The article about Nora Ephron's neck -- and the distastefulness of the bodies and body parts of aging ladies -- is still at http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=2878 .]
[A partial index to the posts in this journal is at http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=ozarque .]
ozarque figure

Writing [a book of] science fiction poetry; response to a comment...

Act One

A few days back, before the flu, I said that I'd just about decided that writing a collection of roughly fifty science fiction poems like "Too Human By Half" was a project I really wanted to do and was willing to commit to doing. And dteleki commented:

"Are you really proposing to build 50 sf poems right before everybody's eyes here in this blog? Because if you are, I have 2 immediate reactions:

1. Omigod, how wonderful! Wonderful for you to do, and wonderful for all of us to watch and participate in!

2. Your commenters will not allow you to write 12 similarly wrong-headed poems in the same wrong direction. Not without a huge fuss, anyway. Any really major problems will be pounced on and agonized over instantly, as happened with the voting poem. Any repeated mistake will provoke "you're doing it again" comments. Even if you start out wrong-headed, you won't stay wrong-headed, you certainly don't have to worry about that."


Intermission

[Flu.... .]


Act Two

Response to #1 above.

Many heartfelt thanks to dteleki for saying it would be wonderful if the construction of those fifty poems went on right here in public with everybody [every interested body] free to observe the process. That's a major compliment, and I'm grateful. I suspect that there'd be a lot of readers who would disagree, and would briskly avail themselves of the delete key; that makes the compliment no less welcome.

Whether I'll actually do that is another matter entirely; see below.

Response to #2 above.

That has got to be one of the scariest things I have ever read.

I think it constitutes a whole new Speech Act category.

Eek.



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Footnote

I hasten to add that I don't believe that dteleki intended to be scary.