Just got home from the supermarket and I am tussling with vanity and reality. And I want to punch a self-important little gay kid in the face and say, “Dude, when you’re 66 you see how it is for you, you little faggot!” I know he’s gay because — besides the obvious — he’s wearing a very conspicuous rainbow ring and speaks with the kind of lithp one might pick up from TV or movies as part and parcel of the identity. I have nothing against gay anybody — one of my most beloved boyfriends also happened to be gay — and a person’s gender preference is none of my fucking business (and vice versa) BUT we’re talking major advertising.

OK everyone’s shocked but here’s what happened.

I pull into a lane to check out my groceries. I’m behind an extremely obese man about my age in a motorized cart with his groceries in front of him as one who uses such a cart is likely to do. He’s fine. He’s typical. He’s got on a blue and white gingham shirt, red suspenders and a c’boy hat.

“Are you with him?” asks the child wearing the store badge, the rainbow ring, a Roger Waters moustache and is clearly a checker.

“WHAT?” I ask a question that means many many things beyond “I didn’t hear you.”

“Are you with this gentleman? Because if you aren’t, I’ll check you out on lane 5.”

“Cool,” I say and follow him to where he can do his job briskly and as he was trained including annoying the shit out of the people behind me by explaining to me my receipt (because I’ve never seen one before?) “If you give me a review you’ll get extra fuel points.”

You don’t want my review, child. You do not want what I would say.

I would like to meet ONE woman who EMBRACES being old, who loves gray hair and a body that responds to neither diet nor exercise, who thinks walking with a limp is the be-all and end-all of human experience. Who KNOWS that no matter WHAT she does, she is never going to look all that good. She might look fine. She might look “attractive for her age” or “that color is great on you” but (with rare exceptions) she’s never going to be pretty (except for her age). My Aunt Martha, for example, was a 9 — maybe even a 10 — for 80. Except, maybe, for the chin hairs.

How in hell would I be with a grotesquely obese old man? And why did I feel insulted by the kid’s assumption? And why didn’t he just say, “I can help you on number 5. ‘Hubby’ would’ve come along had that been the case.

And what about hubby? How did he get there? Broken back? Farming acccident? War wound? What right did I have to be insulted by the kid’s assumption? That’s the part that bothers me most. Yes, the kid had poor social skills, but I’m a superficial bitch.

With whom WOULD I be if I were with someone? That’s a moot question. I wouldn’t be with anyone. I’m not and it’s (pretty much) by choice. Mr. Right probably DID come along but I’ve never been Ms. Right. Too emotionally warped. And am I so superficial that I am insulted that this little twerp would think someone as spellbindingly lovely as I would be with a fat old guy wearing red suspenders shopping from a motorized wheelchair? Yes. I am that superficial. Exactly that superficial.

And I feel bad about it — and that’s weird, too, because how many times was I NOT asked to dance in bars because I wear glasses and, though pretty, nothing flashy or glamorous? I can tell you. I was NEVER asked to dance back in the “what’s your sign” days.  As a friend said of me once, to a guy she wanted me to meet, “You won’t notice her when she walks into the room, but after 20 minutes, you won’t see anyone else. Martha is THAT interesting.”

Maybe the guy in the wheelchair is interesting, too. I don’t know.

23 thoughts on “Vanity…

  1. You know, that’s how Garry feel when someone tells him he’s a credit to his race. His need to punch whoever it is in the mouth is wild and I can see the red glow of rage under his tan.

    It’s just amazing how many insults we get from people who somehow assume they are actually saying something nice. They ALL need a serious dose of sensitivity training in a locked room where no one gets to come out until they “get it.”

    You really ARE a credit to your race.

  2. Ugh. Just…Ugh. That drives me crazy, the assumptions that you’re “with” someone. It’s even worse when a side order of utterly blind superficiality comes along with it.

    • That “with somebody” thing really gets to me. 😦 I have been at restaurants in Italy where the maitre’d wouldn’t even offer me a table before saying, “And where is your husban?”

  3. I think you’re gradually returning to being yourself after the trauma of your hip surgery! Hurray!

    Long story short — I was in a condo just inland from CSUSD yesterday morning — I think I saw you and one or two of your dogs climbing this hills, even in the extreme heat of the day! That a neat place!

    • There were just too many triggers in there, none of them major, but probably the biggest was that — as a woman of a certain age — I must be with a man. Very strange experience.

    • I get annoyed at the psychic old fart discounts buy the financial ones are OK. They are slight mitigation for working 30+ years on a teacher’s salary.

  4. I’m with curioussteph because I’m at that point. Mostly the way a family member will talk to me. WTH?! What was that for and wham I’m livid. Never been an angry person, ever, but I can go from 0 to 50 in 4 seconds flat these days.

  5. :p
    Hmm..a lot happened in a blink.. Unnecessary assumptions, superficial thoughts..and then the pondering and realizations. the circle of humanly growth 🙂

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