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September 08, 2004

There is No Means of Escape Here

At any point during the day I am any number of ages. I think the combination of a missing 8mm memory and a pretty fucked-up adulthood mean I am free to linger and wander the supermarket shelves of Ages, a grocery store catering to those of us that somehow got a little lost. I can wander up one aisle, taking only ice cream sundae mixings that as a child would be a perfect meal, or wander up another and fix something that appeals to all 4 food groups.

I was thinking about this yesterday when I went to get my hair (on my head) trimmed (guys, here's one thing you should know-women actually trim the ends of their hair to make it grow faster. It's a weird thing, but it's honestly an attempt to grow more hair.. Don't stress about the logic.) While sitting there, recovering from a sudden nosebleed (what are the odds of that happening? And of those odds, why must it happen all over a brand new hair salon? I have such problems committing to hair salons!), I started watching a woman with an enormous blond helmet for a haircut next to me, my eyes caught a little girl having Her First Haircut, complete with pictures and smiles from the mom.

I walked up and down the grocery shop of the Ages in my mind, and realized that I am any different age during the day. For example:

- Going to the films with my neighbor Karl (who has become my sci-fi movie date, as Mr. Y hates sci-fi and Karl and I both like the genre) we walk into the theatre complex. On the wall of the parking garage is a big metal sign, affixed next to the stairwell. It reads: There is No Means of Escape Here. I know it means that the stairs are not attached to a fire exit, but still. That sign really is the story of my life. Never in my life have I so badly wanted to get a penknife out and steal said sign, but I resisted since the garage not only had CCTV, but I didn't have a penknife. I wanted that sign so badly, too, to hang on the wall in our house. It summed up my life. I would've resorted to petty vandalism just for the chance to point to that sign and tell people: "See? My motto there."

I was a teenage hooligan.

- After washing my face and religiously slathering anti-aging moisturizer on my face and neck, carefully covering my under-eye area with another special anti-aging cream (I am so paranoid that I will look old. No one has asked me for ID in aaaaaaaaages), I look in the mirror. And there it is. Smack dab in the middle of my part, a grey hair is sticking straight up, much like the feathers at the top of Big Bird's head. The hair it not just grey. It's white. Shockingly white. And it's not the first time I've seen this hair-I've plucked it before, so that strand of hair is growing back in, and it's growing back in white.

I was middle-aged.

- I am laying on my back on the sofa with my feet sticking up in the air. Mr. Y calls me from the kitchen and asks me if I want anything. And I do. I put my feet down and push myself down the length of the sofa, until my head hits the armrest. I continue pushing and snake myself over the armrest so that my head is hanging half-way down the side of the armrest. I am Snoopy on top the doghouse. I am a bendy toy dripping over the side of the couch. I am a snake. I am that jar of weird gooey green gel that you used to get inside a box of Cheerios, a knickknack that held interest for approximately one hour.

"Can I have some cheesy buiscuits?" I plead.
They are not called cheesy buiscuits. They are really called Mini Cheddars, and they are like Cheese Nips but better. I know the name of said product, and I know that I must always have them in the house. I also know that I will never call them anything but cheesy buiscuits, mostly since it humors me.
Mr. Y brings me an individually wrapped portion of cheesy buiscuits.
"I love the cheesy buiscuits." I murmur, and ooze my way back off the armrest, my head red from the blood rush.

I was 4 years old.

- The pink Lola wig on, I feel my body start to shake and shiver. I feel the need to climb on top of Mr. Y, I feel the need to stand on the table and dance. I turn music on and bop my way around the kitchen, unrepentant, unreserved. I make dinner and I move my hips in ways that would make Britney Spears envious. I feel alive, I feel sexy, and I feel bubbly with laughter.

I was in my early twenties.

- Filing papers in a binder, I stand up from the study floor and feel an instant white-hot bolt of pain. With irritation and despair, I realize I have hurt my back again. I pinched the nerves in my back a few years ago, and now during times of extreme stress, if I am moving too many heavy objects, or if I move wrong, my back hurts like hell. Bent over, I walk to the stairs and sit down. Mr. Y provides me with that heated cream on the back, the favorite of arthritics and athletes everywhere. I take copious amount of ibuprofen and shake my head, saying: "I can't do that, my back hurts too much." When I walk, I do so at 45-90 degree angles. I walk on the balls of my feet, my spine feels like a metal rod is soldered to it.

I was an old woman.

- In bed Mr. Y's warm form comes up behind me. I hold my breath, and luckily he takes me in his arms, cupping his body behind me. He molds me to him and squeezes me close, as though somehow he knew that the only thing I wanted was to be held. The only thing I needed, the only thing I could think about, was being wrapped up in arms and cuddled.

I was a baby.

The examples go on, from childhood hijinks to concern about the welfare of others. From the utter fascination watching a spider build a web to proof that "Like, OMIGOD!" screamed at top level is not restricted to Californians in the 80's. From making sure Mr. Y has what he needs and wants to craving chocolate so badly I would sell my soul. In one day, I bounce around the extremes of ages, and I hadn't even realized it.

Maybe my childhood isn't lost.
Maybe I simply forgot how to look for it.


PS-my laptop should be fixed this week. Sorry if I haven't been visiting or commenting on your sites lately.

Posted by Everydaystranger at September 8, 2004 06:33 AM .

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Very well written, I know exactly what you mean :)

Posted by: Sheilah at September 9, 2004 10:01 AM

I've been noticing the same thing myself recently - how is it that us 20- and 30-somethings can feel so many ages in just one day?

As usual, you manage to get it all out via the keyboard in a way that brings us all right into your mind. You gorgeous creature you!

Posted by: goldie at September 8, 2004 11:23 PM

In this way we are all time travelers. Very interesting post.

Posted by: Easy at September 8, 2004 08:41 PM

I think this is so well written - and I think the key is to recognize the ages (as you've done) and go full on into them when you need. I've been a needy four year old a lot lately - just wanting love love love love... luckily the missus is usually willing to oblige.

Posted by: martha at September 8, 2004 05:11 PM

I love this entry! Very profound and yet lighthearted.

(And I too have fought the battle of the gray hair - why ARE they always insistent on growing white and wiry instead of silver and flowing?)

Posted by: Lisa at September 8, 2004 02:38 PM

I tend to think my child-free-ness (or childlessness, if you will, but mine is by choice) makes me ageless.

I, too, find myself bouncing around between ages.

Beautiful post, and I agree, an awesome piece for a writing contest, or for a magazine, maybe a women's magazine?

Posted by: scorpy at September 8, 2004 01:00 PM

Pretty interesting concept you've got going there. And it would make a really fine entry in any writing contest.

Posted by: RP at September 8, 2004 11:09 AM

And it's not the first time I've seen this hair-I've plucked it before, so that strand of hair is growing back in, and it's growing back in white.

Uch, don't get me started on that. I am beginning to slowly accumulate an entire part-line of these "repeat offenders." This was fine when I could afford professional coloring. It is not fine when I'm cruising the Wal-mart to see which is on sale: Clairol or L'Oreal?

I like this post lots. I feel like I slip in and out of ages some days myself. The bad thing is I often feel like I'm living them all wrong.

Posted by: ilyka at September 8, 2004 07:41 AM
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