July 22, 2008
Time flies when you’re having fun;
Time flies when you’re having none.
REMINDS ME OF THE LINE
from “House of Games,” “Happens to the best, happens to the rest.” A reader commented, on “How the Tempus Fugits,” that the tempus fugits even when you’re not having fun, perhaps more so. True over the long haul, I reckon, but nothing drags like a day of work you hate. But speaking of time, you know what aggravates me? (Remember? Jackie Gleason used to ask that during his monologue as he smoked a cigarette with one hand a held a cup of coffee and saucer with the other.) You know what aggravates me—every time I click anywhere on the web, even my email, I am assaulted with the before and after scenarios of porcelain-skinned beauties turning into wrinkled used-up douche bags—and back again, after applying that week’s miraculous horse estrogen to their faces.
WRONG ALL OVER THE PLACE
But to start with, I don’t see ads of chisel-faced young men turning into deflated basketballs. Nor do I wish to be told every day that there is something undesirable and shameful about aging, something you have to hide at all costs from the viewing public. Mind your own business, and leave me and my wrinkles and cellulite and age spots and gray hair alone. Fuckers, don’t fuck with me!
At Bloomingdale’s, you can get one whole ounce of Freeze 24/7 wrinkle cream at the bargain rate of $125.00. “Hope might not exist in a jar, but miracles do. This dream cream is for real and delivers a powerful punch against wrinkles. Watch them melt away within minutes.” In minutes! Can you imagine anyone buying that claim—at $125 an ounce, no less!
Another lower-end, at $39.95, product, “Created by Dr. Murad to fight the signs of Hormonal Aging, Resurgence® is clinically proven to increase skin firmness by up to 42% in just 10 minutes!”Preparation H is even faster, and ten times cheaper.
My favorite is the miracle wrinkle-hiding cream “Deception.” At least they’re honest about what they’re selling.
THE PLAYTEX “GENTLE GLIDE” TAMPON
used to be my plug of choice, but I’ve boycotted them for years because of their tasteless, infuriating ad featuring a lovely woman reclining, who was apparently all trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey, reigned in and pushed up and rounded out in their lycra spandex shapers, with the legend, “This woman’s body is not as good as it looks.”
WRONG ALL OVER THE PLACE!
I think that ad was yanked “within minutes.” Women bear no obligation for their bodies to look good according to anyone’s definition but their own. Public perceptions be damned. Try to ignore it, though. Might as well “hurl matches at the devil,” as Mark Morford recently put it.
Or do I just resent all this because my body is not as good as it looks?
No. I resent it because of the very advancement of the idea that there is any subjective gradient scale against which a woman’s, or man’s, body can or should be measured. I resent it because the uglier and more inadequate you feel, the more the beauty industry thrives and profits from your low self esteem. A multi-billion dollar economic engine that exists to make people feel like shit, but with mascara—which by the way is made of shit—bat guano. You can’t possibly get away with your own naked face, so here is some goop for your eyes, you lips, your hair, your skin, that should make you passable. Thus goop-encrusted, can you face the world.
There’s no reason to not want to look and feel your best, but the millions of dollars spent on products consisting of ingredients no more active than hope is shameful exploitation and waste of resources, both the world’s and our own.
“TELL THAT TO MY BODY!”
said a Walgreen’s clerk when a customer told her 61 is young!
Here’s a tip for dating older women, courtesy of Yahoo:
“5. Don’t focus on looks. Give compliments, but focus less on her physical appearance — she may be anxious about it. And even if you’re complimentary, she may worry that you’re too focused on looks. She wants to be appreciated for who she is, including her intellect and style. Compliments like ‘That color is lovely on you,’ or ‘You look great tonight’ are safer than ‘You’re in great shape.’”
Wrong all over. Don’t fuck with me.
WAVES OF PLEASURE
and relief pass through me as I enjoy a latte at the Café while someone else cleans my flat of five years’ habitation. Thank you, sweet Lord, for hired help. No more of this do-it-yourself crap to save money. Money’s not worth it! There’s a handyman in the East Bay whose slogan is Just Fix It! I’m his target market. Don’t tell me what needs to be done, don’t tell me how you’re going to do it, just keep me out of it and send me the bill. I’ll love you on Yelp.
THE BURDEN IS LIFTING,
the onus of owning. Buildings (four), appliances large and small, plumbing and lighting fixtures, rugs, dish- and glassware, utensils, power tools and hand trucks, lawn mowers and leaf blowers, couches, chairs, tables, cabinets, desks, ladders, hoses and garden implements, heart-shaped rock collections, statuary, computers, printers, scanners, 33-, 45- and 78rpm LPs, CDs, DVDs, pasta makers, food dehydrators, water heaters, beds and linens, bikes and ice skates, pianos and clocks and lamps and Tchochkes From Around the World, televisions and inner vision, jewelry, gloves, hats, shoes, thrift shop scores galore, art, kitsch, opera glasses, Oregon state flags, tents and camping gear, baubles, bangles, beads and books, books, books. I’ve owned nine refrigerators.
You can have it all, except for the four rooms I have once again crammed with some of the above.
“No fair blaming yourself for the excesses of Western culture in the late 20th-early 21st century!” wrote a friend. No, I replied, but I can be disgusted with myself for being emblematic of them. Shall I tell me what I think of me? I’m spoiled!
THE PAPERS ARRIVED
the other day. Not the newspapers, not my walking papers, but the dozen or more boxes of 53 years’ worth of letters, photos, articles of interest, concert programs, the trunk of misc. writings, journals, the 3-inch binder of my Collected Letters, half-written novels, scraps with incomprehensible scrawls, the uncredited quotes, phone numbers, and jotted-down musical works and opus numbers culled from the radio—a former forest of memories, glories and regrets.
“THERE SHE IS! THE SPIRIT OF SAN FRANCISCO!”
Said a street lady of me after she saw me hauling mirrors in a red wagon to put on consignment at the sweet little floral/gift shop Xapno at 678 Haight, two blocks from my flat. “It’s my car,” I told her when I first passed. Here’s today’s green tip: Go red. Next time you go to the supermarket, leave the car home and take the little red wagon.
DID ANYTHING EVER CHANGE OVERNIGHT
for you? Like little Ms. Zahra finding her way into my world and family? Like shaking a man’s hand and loving him for five years over it? Like someone cleaning your flat for you and feeling freer than you ever have? The ordeal is nearly over. A few last trips to the thrift shop, the stagers do their thing, the place is listed, and it’s off my hands. My part is pretty nearly over. I get to sit around my formerly charming apartment now inundated with papers, sorting those papers. I am going to get this stuff in order if I have to have a nervous breakdown doing it. That’s my promise to myself.
The author’s pet, Zahra: Cat, or jackal? You be the judge.
Author’s Caption: Zahra challenged Yulangi to a staring contest. The indifferent young jackal replied, with a lackadaisical sneer, “If we must.”
jackel photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/noodlefish/454513408/
“IT’S THE ULTIMATE EXPRESSION
of what life is all about—finding love.”
Who said that?
Gavin Newsom, of his impending marriage.
ISN’T THAT RIGHT, LITTLE MS. ZAHRA
What would your life be without love? Over. But overnight, upon Zahra’s arrival, domestic bliss chez Alexandra became feline discord. After ten days of mewling, hissing, butt sniffing, and suspicion, Zazu, Zzyzzy and Zahra can now share a room. Zahra has too much energy to be confined to the couch now and must dash and flop and slide across the floor whether they like it or not. The elders watch her gymnastics with bemusement. What’s all the commotion about? My downstairs neighbor must think the cavalry is coming through.
It’s become obvious to all there’s more than enough love to go around. It’s delightful having a baby in the house. My stodgy 2-year-olds are beginning to liven up. It’s Saturday night and I’m sure the clubs and bars are packed with revelers, but there’s nowhere I’d rather be than in front of my laptop with a purring kitten curled on my shoulder, Errol Garner’s Russian Lullaby not-at-all putting me to sleep nor waking her up. Zzyzzy’s been a gentleman, exhibiting a meet-her-halfway curiosity, but Zazu, who’s in love with me, is having a harder time sharing me. But Zahra was only 1 lb. 6 oz. when I brought her home and they know not to hurt her. Pretty soon they’ll love her too.
Because time flies. Sooner or later, love will become the ultimate expression of what life is about.
Women's eyes shine when they're telling lies
It's a-hard and it's hard, ain't it hard, to love one that never did love you? It's a-hard, and it's hard, ain't it hard, Great God, to love one that never will be true? --Woody Guthrie, "Hard, Ain't It Hard"
copyright Alexandra Jones 2008