Body shop

You know youíve aged when your first job at an auto dealership was in the service department and 10 years later you find yourself back in the body shop. The symbolism is frankly starting to bother me.

I mostly typed the letter keys at The Evening Sun between those two jobs, and when asked to punch in collision-insurance details on an Excel spreadsheet at Benedictís, I had actually forgotten about the number keys on the far right. Lucky for me, the Bondo and paint fumes remain on the other side of my office door because I refuse to wear a mask and canít afford to lose any more memory.

I was able to maintain this 1959 model fairly well over the past decade, but I didnít quite get to the gym for a tune up as often as I had planned. I took to killing two birds with one stone and began daily hikes or snowshoeing treks up the hill across the road while walking the dog. Now I also lift weights fairly regularly, haul water to the horses and see the chiropractor two times a year. Vitamin, mineral and hormonal supplements have become part of my regular intake and Iíve substituted water for liquor, almond drink for milk and red potatoes for white.

As far as all exercise and dietary choices, letís just say I need a balance of both to make it to the afternoon, when it becomes a toss up whether to take a rejuvenating hike or go down for a nap. It takes awhile to decide and the task usually requires coasting through the news. On some days, the poor dog just plain loses out.

Iím out of breath trying to stay young. For example, while plucking a few lonely stubbles underneath my brow the other morning, my eye caught something light from above. Suddenly a Martin Short track clicked on over and over in my brain: ďItís blonde, right? Give me a break, no way am I going to take out a blonde. But, then again (gasp), it could be gray. I donít know, itís difficult to say!Ē Itís the story of my middle aging: I canít see well enough to make a determination and, when I think I can, my mind takes longer to decide and my body wears out in the process.

I think about it often, but throwing out the magnifying mirror wonít solve the problem. You see, thereís the blatant horror of my used neck. It looks like someone from Canasawacta Country Club smacked their drive into it and spattered the divots all over. No service nor body shop can repair this collision. When my brother in Cincinnati and I finally figured out how to use the FaceTime button on our iPhones, it was the first thing I showed him. No words were needed.

I oftentimes wonder why I really care. Yes, I need to see, but that close? Does anybody else see the pores in my face and the dark spots spreading to my ears? Do I care? Again, I canít decide.

My husband loves to send me dumb blonde jokes, and so does my friend Jim. In fact, Jim gets away with posting things like, ďOh Baby!Ē on my Facebook profile picture. Iím not the type of feminist whoís turned off by sexist quips from older men ... especially if I know them. And Iím keeping my blonde hair for as long as I possibly can, thank you.

Honestly, at this age, Iím secretly flattered. Blind, gray stubbled, dented and all, Iím sure Iím in the body shop only for a short time. I expect to be back in service soon, and Ė after a few shines Ė in sales nearly new!

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