Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Elderly Girl


   (4/15/11) She wears a tight white men's tank top and Bart Simpson boxer shorts as she pumps iron to the music of teen love, loss and party-time spirit. She chews gum like Britney Spears and wears cherry Chapstick -- the kind that Katy Perry kissed once, and liked it. Occasionally she glances at the phone, as if waiting for the team captain to call and ask her to the prom. She closes her eyes, taking in the tunes, while she does the military press. She's got the kind of arms you see on infomercials, but almost never in person. She is euphorically tranced-out from whatever chemicals course through your veins when your muscles are in "resistance" mode. Just when she thinks she can't do any more reps, the hit song "Grenade" fills her "workout dungeon," and  Bruno Mars' soaring love keeps her going.
   What is wrong with this picture?
   Well, there are those gray hairs, for one thing. The thighs, muscled though they are, are as wrinkly as an elephant's. The neck is another issue, not exactly Miss Teenage America material -- it's one of those turkey situations. Nothing to gobble about, but enough to remind the fans that she isn't 21 anymore.
She isn't a redneck, though.
    Her little boobies are deflated, and her toenails are a bit yellow. She is getting moles all over her back and stomach that her doctor dismisses as "age spots." 
    And then (this is bad), there are the chin whiskers. She used to pluck them, but vision and eye-hand coordination wane at a certain point, and now -- this is really bad -- she uses a razor. Don't make that puke face -- it's only her chin!
   This, dear reader, is Elderly Girl. She has waited in vain for womanhood to descend upon her, but it never did. She went from spoiled ingenue (a Mighty Girl, making a splash) to an Aging Girl, losing her grip, to an Elderly Girl, who isn't quite sure where she belongs. 
    Last year, an attractive young doctor whom Elderly Girl saw for a sports injury, asked if she would be interested in having dinner with a good friend of his, a fellow Harvard alum. 
    "Dude, do you know how old I am?" Elderly Girl replied.
    He glanced at his computer screen and saw the date of birth.
    "Whoah," he said.
    "I'm probably old enough to be his mother," she added, and Mitch said, "Indeed you are. I'm stunned."
    He asked Elderly Girl what she uses to keep her facial skin "so pristine"  (generic Retin-A) and said, "My wife would kill to have your body."
     Elderly Girl has to kill herself to have that body -- it doesn't just happen!
    It's confusing to be Elderly Girl. It's a "double personality" lifestyle in which some people call you "Miss" and others call you "Ma'am." Some men want to take you home for a cup of tea, or whatever, and others act as if you're a little bit icky. She rushes chivalrously to help people loading groceries into their cars or struggling to get luggage out of their cars, and she realizes that they are essentially her peers. Elderly Girl feels like a brawny teenage boy hauling all that heavy stuff to and fro. She laughs off their gratitude, saying, "That was my deltoid workout for the day."
   The "girl" part of Elderly Girl can be readily called forth in the right situation. 

    Being around people 20 years younger than she, who seem so grown up and serious and dutiful, makes her feel all the more girlish. She hasn't felt any adultiness since 1975. 
    Is there anything about Elderly Girl that is age-appropriate? It is hard to say, and perhaps it is a matter of opinion.
    She finds that being elderly has its perks, and so she plays that role when it suits her. 
    Ironically, people will tolerate immaturity in an old person that would be smacked right down in some random kid. Elderly Girl can be demanding, irrational and sullen -- ready and able to incite a full-fledged riot, if things aren't proceeding to her liking. Everyone comes running to calm the crazy dame down, offering a her free latte and a full refund.
    There is a newfound Elderly-Girl freedom not to care what anyone thinks. It's like learning to exhale for the first time. For many years, she cared too much. Now, perhaps she is overcompensating. But the fact remains: She doesn't care. She will do what she wants, say what she wants, and if you don't like it, fine. She's not being hostile about it -- she just DOESN'T CARE. 
     There is the part of her that is fresh, profane, sparkly, lurid, quirky, whimsical and brimming with curiosity and delight. That is the part that wears the Bart Simpson underpants. She skips down grocery aisles, singing along to the Muzak, and banters with strangers as if she actually loves being alive. She flirts with every baby and pets every pet. She gets personal fast, and most people don't seem to mind her kamikaze interactions. Then she goes home, gets in her trusty old bathrobe, and doesn't emerge for weeks. She stands on her balcony by the almond tree and contemplates going over the railing, head first. Oblivion: what a heavenly word.
Which one is Elderly Girl? That's classified information.
    Elderly Girl can be all princessy if she is inspired, but she can be irresponsible, impatient, reckless and defiant. She is a kid who swears and picks fights and demands justice, even when it's clear to everyone else that it's more trouble than it's worth. .Her mood swings keep her and anyone around her perpetually uneasy. Creating trouble makes her feel alive, and if you piss her off, you'll be sorry. 
    Dear oh dear: She never grew up. Apparently, she never will.
   But she is almost 62 years old, and there are aspects of her brain and body that feel it. The aging process, which she was taught to fear and dread, is actually quite amusing. It's amusing because she is so youthful in so many ways, and it almost feels like a lie to say how old she is, because she often seems to be headed straight for a juvenile detention facility. 
    It's ironic that she was often told through her teens and early twenties that she was "so grown up!" But then, Something Terrible happened, and she became a spokesmodel for arrested development. Not having had children also probably removed some of the normal impetus to become more responsible, stable and giving. Never a mother, always a daughter.
     As she grew older, she essentially regressed. Her demeanor and manner of speaking became increasingly more adolescent. Her wardrobe went from well-coordinated, ladylike and tastefully accessorized urban business attire to a baggy grunge: cargo khakis, death-metal T-shirts and jaunty boys' caps. Piercings and tattoos are on her mind -- it just seems like the right thing to do. Don't tell anyone, but so does heroin. Shooting up looks more inviting every year.
    Pearls and pantyhose: Never again. 
    Her artistry with the makeup palette used to be quite noteworthy. She got glammed up just to walk up to the corner for a newspaper. Her face was her blank canvas, and using color, definition and shading, she created something generally regarded as attractiveness. If only they had known what was underneath. OMG!
    But she lost interest in that charade long ago. What a relief, to have a clean face. What a relief not to have to keep looking in the mirror to ensure that no touch-ups are required. What a relief to enjoy the beauty of other women, instead of competing with it.
   Her capacity to sustain relationships, handle the chores of everyday life and conform to the rigors of a regular job went down the tubes when the 1990s had barely begun. Everything became too complicated, overwhelming or pointless. Various neuroses blossomed and grew. Her life grew smaller and darker, but the "girl" was still in there, willing to make the occasional appearance. 
    She has coped with the alienation in various ways -- some healthy, some dangerous -- over the years.
    She looks out at the world and sees everyone doing what has to be done, loving their "stuff" and loving each other and having some good times -- partying, planting flowers, biking around in those tight neon costumes -- and she is puzzled by what motivates them to keep going, but she is happy for them. That they want to get up, they want to go on, that it isn't even an issue for them. Elderly Girl has forgotten how it feels to be like that. They look forward to things. It's all very touching.
 Yay -- isn't this great??!!
    It used seem that she had been young forever. Quite suddenly, she wasn't -- she was elderly. Now it just seems that she has been alive forever.
    Whoever said "life is short" must not have had a very good memory. Somebody ought to flip the bird at that fool. Life is interminable, and it seems that it's going to continue for quite awhile longer. God! Elderly Girl has experienced so many eras of human history that it gets her head spinning just to think about it.
Angry Old Lady
     At the beginning, she was a quite homely, colicky baby, born to a beautiful 30-year-old woman. She wanted nothing more than to please adults. The headaches and stomach problems kicked in when she was four years old. The pediatrician noted that she was anxious, always casting a nervous eye toward her parents whenever he asked her a question. 
    She was a good girl. She was the teacher's pet. She got straight As. She read the encyclopedia for relaxation. She loved to eavesdrop as her mother bragged on the phone about her achievements.
    Now that Elderly Girl has become so elderly, she and her mother are growing old together. It's nice. In many ways the mother -- who is still beautiful -- is more youthful than the daughter. She is fascinated and enthused about so many things. She has no pain, no health conditions and takes no medicine. She enjoys each day with energy and gusto. She wants to go shopping. She wants to go to the art museum. She wants to go to the Greek Festival and the Jazz Festival. She wants to go on a cruise around the world. 
    Sorry Mama -- no can do. Elderly Girl wants to stay at home. No beachwear, no Margaritas.
Is this Elderly Girl, or her mother? It's neither, but it could be either.
    This old-young hag has retired from the Sturm und Drang of modern life's grand tumult. Now, Elderly Girl understands why death was invented. She is world-weary. She's heard it all before. She knows how everything will turn out.
    People have been screwing up in the same ways and for the same reasons since she was old enough to read a newspaper, and history keeps repeating itself: Sex, power and greed, whether shaken or stirred, have lost their intoxicating kick. Scandals aren't even scandalous anymore. They're just boring rehashes. Way to go if you can betray your wife, your stockholders or your country in a novel way.
     Otherwise, it's Groundhog Day. Again.
    Sometimes this feels like wisdom to Elderly Girl -- this panoramic view of so many decades. She can pontificate and prognosticate without even giving it much thought, and she turns out to be right over and over again. That doesn't stave off the eye-rolling boredom she feels about world events. Might as well watch a cooking show as watch the news, but all the recipes are starting to seem repetitive, too. Like history, cooking becomes very formulaic once you know the basics.

    Elderly Girl enjoys being elderly. Some old people complain about being invisible, but she likes having the option. Being on display -- just being noticed -- can become tiresome. A lot of people look right through you, right past you, when you've lost your youthful luster. 
    Occasionally, it can hurt your feelings, being such a nobody to the world, especially the cool kids who work at Whole Foods. 
    "Do you know who I am?" she is tempted to ask them. "Do you know what I've done,? Do you know who I've dated?"  
    But they would just laugh, and say, "Stay away from the old lady in the 'Green Day' T-shirt. She is off her rocker."

HEY: all you eye-rolling kids. Elderly Girl will still be doing extreme stretches before her workout 20 years from now -- long after you've gotten too fat to walk around the block! Enjoy your TV show and your Cheeze Doodles!

Now this crazy dame we know as Elderly Girl has shaved off all her glorious hair. God!!

At last, Elderly Girl has decided to share with the world her uproarious secrets to longevity in a two-part series, the first of which is at
The second, equally indispensable installment is at

(Elderly Girl emerged from her hole on August 2 for another visit with the Dear Readers ("Holy Sheet! Elderly Girl Could Lie Here Forever" )

She can't resist raging on with "'Non-Scents!' Elderly Girl Declares"   (  on August 18. 

Now she's stomped off and enshrined herself in her own blog, "The Elderly Girl Experience." Things were getting way to crowded at Kronstantinople. Do you think she should do a clothing line? She is very inspired by the Taliban's sense of fashion.