I’ve been having a mid-life crisis of sorts lately.  Some would say I’m too young to have a mid-life crisis, but that’s assuming that I live to be, like, 100.  My mother lived to be 53, so technically she should have had a mid-life crisis at 27.  From that perspective I’m way overdue.

The only thing I don’t like about getting older, aside from my mind going, is that I suddenly have all this anxiety about losing my looks.  Until recently I didn’t realize I had any looks to lose.  I thought I’d come to terms with the fact that I’m an average-looking girl who has to get by on her wits in this world.  Maybe it’s the fact that I’m losing my wits that feeds my desperation regarding the other.  I don’t know.  Well, I wouldn’t, would I, because I’m getting stupider as we speak.  It’s not fair, in any respect.

Yesterday I was taking Elvis to speech therapy, and I forgot how to get there.  I got off at the right exit, but I failed to immediately turn left, and a few moments later I was completely lost.  I had no idea what I’d done wrong.  I thought I’d taken the right exit, but maybe I hadn’t.  Maybe I went one too far.  It was kind of hard to believe because I drive him there every Monday, and moreover, I had just been to the dentist that morning, which is right next door to his speech therapy, and I didn’t have any trouble doing that.  I figured if I could just remember how to get to the dentist’s, I would automatically remember how to get to speech therapy, but unfortunately I couldn’t remember how to get to the dentist’s anymore, either.  I knew that I could get there taking the same street that the rec center was on–the rec center where Princess Zurg took her ballet classes when she was seven years old–but I didn’t find that working for me either, because what street was that again?  Was it this one?  Did I really take the wrong exit?  I didn’t think so, but I must have, so I turned back and tried to retrace my steps–which, incidentally, is not something you want to do at 4 p.m., just in case you were wondering–but that wasn’t working for me either.  Under ordinary PMS circumstances, I would have been screaming and cursing at this point, but I wasn’t doing either of those things.  I was trying hard not to cry because, seriously, I have been driving this route every week since Elvis was three, and I’ve never had any trouble with it before, and now I literally did not know anymore where speech therapy was in relation to…anything.

The good news is that it only took six minutes, total, for it all to come back to me, but it was the longest six minutes of my life.

It was like that time I got down on the floor to change Girlfriend’s diaper and forgot how to do it.  Usually I get down on the floor to change Girlfriend’s diaper and forget that’s why I got down on the floor.  This time I knew why I was there, but I couldn’t figure out how to begin.  “So I’m here to change a diaper,” I thought to myself, diaper in hand and wipes at the ready.  “What comes first, again?”

That only lasted about thirty seconds, tops, but it was still disconcerting.  Perhaps even you are disconcerted.  Or perhaps you yourself experience this about twenty times a day, in which case I’m sorry I brought it up because you’re much worse off than I am.  I’ve only had these two incidents in, like, a year.  Twenty times a day I forget what stuff is called or why I walked from one end of the room to the other or why I turned around or what my husband’s name is, but this business of forgetting how to change a diaper or how to drive my son to speech therapy–stuff that ought to be muscle memory by now–has only happened twice.  So it’s not time for assisted living yet, but clearly that’s where I’m headed, so I ask you:  If I lose my wits, exactly what am I supposed to fall back on then?

It doesn’t seem like this should be related to me dying my hair, and maybe it isn’t, but all I know is that when my mind was young and spry, I didn’t worry about gray hair or those permanent creases in my forehead that I got from furrowing my brow fourteen hours a day.  Do you realize that as I type this, I am attempting to ward off the signs of aging by raising my eyebrows as high as I can get them, i.e. in the opposite of the furrowed position?  Do you think that will help?

I am already dying my hair.  I own three tubes of lipstick, which is more than I’ve ever had at one time, and I might go through all of them in fewer than six years.  I am back to wearing eye make-up on special occasions, even though it makes me cry, which is kind of a counter-productive beauty regimen, if you think about it, but what does my brain know anymore?  I am still sort of planning to get braces.  A couple weeks ago I was thinking about getting my ears pierced, and for the last 48 hours I have seriously considered getting my boobs done.  I mean, why not?  I’m all done breast-feeding, and it would be nice to have some body parts that a bra could support.  Rephrase:  it would be nice to have body parts that a bra could fit.  You know, just for a change.

I’m not going to get my boobs done, of course.  I’m probably not even going to get braces.  Do you know what I was thinking on my way to the dentist yesterday?  I was thinking about how long it takes to do my hair in the morning.  Answer:  about two minutes.  Five minutes if I want to get fancy.  How improved is my appearance by combing my hair?  About ten times, minimum.  So why don’t I comb my hair every day?  It is a mystery.

That is why I know I’m not getting braces.  I can’t handle the pressure of spending two-to-five minutes on my hair everyday–I can barely manage to color my hair ever six to eight weeks–so how am I going to handle the responsibility of the detailed dental hygiene and orthodontal maintenance required by braces?  Even thinking about getting my boobs done–I’m just going to have to get them done again in ten years, so what’s the point?  You see the extent of my problem.

Another problem with getting my boobs done is that every time I look at my fabulous new breasts, I will feel guilty about the fact that the money I put into them could have fed x number of families starving in another part of the world for x number of months.  (I don’t have the math on me–I haven’t researched the boob job that thoroughly yet.)

Of course, another potential problem that I haven’t really explored is that I’ll be so pleased with my fabulous new breasts that I’ll want to show them to everybody I meet, which will introduce a host of issues I don’t wish to discuss right now.

In a perfect world, women would be rewarded for their part in continuing the species by being allowed to keep either their bodies or their minds for the 30-50 years they have left on earth.  They shouldn’t have to lose both.

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