40-something-year-old fence is falling down. I have tied one
post to a retaining wall using a length of nylon rope. I’m
hoping that will keep the whole thing up for at least another 10
years. I told the hardware store guy, “See this rope? I’m gonna
hang myself with it.”
He replied, “Oh, I
don’t need a rope.”
The fence is a
metaphor for my life. Everything in my house and body are
Jerry-rigged. Jolly-rigged as one person said.
I have patched up
holes in the sheetrock and painted over them with super shiny
paint that doesn’t match the semi-gloss on the rest of the wall.
There is duct tape along my bathtub to keep the perm-ceram,
which was applied to the tiles about 20 years ago, from peeling
I wear a nose strip
each night to keep my nostrils open so I can breathe. I spend 30
minutes each morning dipping my arthritic hand joints, foot, big
toe, ankle (which was broken at age 6), knee (operated on 20
years ago), other knee (torn meniscus, no operation), oiled so I
can ride my bike which further exacerbates my palm pains, back
pains (some broken ribs, a broken shoulder at age 19), yada,
yada, yada . . .
I can barely find my
lip line to outline for lipstick now that there are wrinkles
etched in as deeply as a mine shaft. I can walk a couple days
for exercise until my foot, knee and ankle start hurting so
badly that my little skip-hop develops into a full-on limp.
Seriously, when I’m
making my bed I notice I have developed this skipping thing and
I can’t tell if it’s to protect my left knee or my right hip.
If you open my
closets, everything will fall out. I’m also afraid that my
brains will fall out. I tried picturing my best friends one day
and couldn’t remember a single one of their names. And I don’t
have THAT many friends anymore.
People say I’m too young for Alzheimer’s. Yeah, right. Just what
the doctor told me when I was into maniacal menopause at age 38.
I can camouflage my
belly with long sweaters and people tell me I still cut a trim
figure. To this, I always reply by whipping out my belly roll
and saying, “See, I told ya.”
Surely I have
Turret’s Syndrome because all I can do is cuss and bitch.
80-year-old neighbor and I have a bitching contest. Her fingers
are as twisted as my phone cord is whenever I need to extend it,
so she always wins. But she is patently amazed by the genuine
physical ailments I endure.
“O-o-oh, Su-u-u-zun! My back is A-a-aching from doing yard
“Yeah? Well, look at
my leg. It’s so bruised they may have to amputate. All I have to
do is touch something and I bleed these days.”
“But you just can’t
believe how swollen MY ankles are – see?” she says, pulling up
her pant legs.
embellishing. It’s mortifying.
I answer,“Yech! OK,
you win. But just for today.”