Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Faking It

Bone-crushed tired. I went everywhere plus I took a walk today. I hurt, I hurt, I hurt- so what? Life. It's life. I used to pretend to be an actress, now I pretend to not hurt. I walk, head-up, I make my stride into something not hurtful-looking. But oh, that first getting-up, out of the car- that I cannot fake. I roll-walk until I can pull it all together, that old-woman hip roll walk, the bob, the weave, the sway.
Stop it, I tell myself. Don't give in. 
I sat in the car in the parking lot of the mall for a good fifteen minutes listening to Billy Collins read his poetry on the radio. The sun baked me through the glass of the windows. It was good. Finally, during his rendition of The Lanyard, which I have heard so many times before, I deemed my loins sufficiently girded and and grabbed my purse and shut off the car and weave-rolled-swayed until I caught the rhythm of it again, the walking, and I strode into the mall like I belonged there and indeed I do as much as anyone with a few bucks and WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED TO THE GAP and honestly, everyone was as nice as they could be and compared to Bass Pro Hell World, it was a joy, as soothing as an interlude with Bach Quartets and creme brulee and a tiny glass of sherry.
I swear to you.
Okay, one woman did ask me if I was making faces at her but when I explained that no, I was not, I was just admiring the make-over she was getting she turned on a dime and told me that I had beautiful hair and that perhaps I should get a make-over too to go with it.
She has a point, at least about wearing some damn make-up once in awhile.
I did put on lipstick before I went to the library. If anyone noticed, they did not say a word.

Here's Billy Collins reading his poem, The Lanyard. 
I'm sure you've heard it but if you haven't, it's sort of lovely and true and it's worth your time.


  1. Yes, what the HELL has happened to the Gap, and jeans in general? I'm not a large woman, my BMI is a respectable 20 - but do you think I can find a pair of jeans that fit? It took me two years of trying things on before I could find jeans I could tolerate. They're still not what I wanted (Levi's button front 501s circa 1970) but these days we wear what we can get.

  2. Mary, I have just read the perfect description of how I move through the world, the pretending not to hurt, the roll sway till I can catch the stride, the unfolding out of a car, and then I remembered that you too have that snapping hip syndrome, I remember now and it's so very odd how much we share, you in Lloyd me in nyc and I get it I get I get it. On snowy days like today, I carry a long umbrella and use it surreptitiously as a cane because heaven forbid I should actually need one, even in the slippery slush and snow. Don't give in, I think, don't give in. Just as you do. I think sometimes we share a brain. Certainly we share our hearts.

  3. I think I would very much enjoy hobbling along on a walk with you. Tonight I could not believe how much it hurt my knees to stand and sit. I'm decades ahead of schedule on the old woman program. I feel gypped.
    I'm proud and envious of you for forcing yourself out there to do what needs to be done, errand wise. I have stuck my head in the Holiday sand, and I will be very sorry when I realize what I have accomplished, which is not much.
    I am saving Billy Collins for in the morning because that's how I want to start my day.

  4. I have old lady hips too and I walk like a damn peg-legged pirate when I get out of a vehicle!
    I have been reading your blog, just haven't had time to comment. While the rest of the world is gearing up for Christmas, I'm already rolling into the post-holiday blues.

  5. I refer to my walk as my old lady shuffle, and so it is.

  6. I agree -- The Gap Crap barely covers my crack.

    As for the real poet, Billy Collins -- I think that's the first poem I ever read of his, and I still love hearing it. I had the pleasure of hearing him live years ago, and he is so funny and dry and just what you'd imagine. It's always good when a poet can actually read well, too.

  7. oh my I've never heard him but he will do very nicely for my morning poem.......just catching up on your blog, loved your buddha nativity.....was wondering myself if there is no one to see the christmas decorations do they really sparkle? Decided they do and so I did......you are a poet lady!!x

  8. Not Bach Quartets. He didn't write any. The inventor of the string quartet was Haydn, born about a half century later.
    So what, you say? Does that change the meaning of what you wrote? Of course not. But we're all specialists (obsessives)in our own ways, and for some, reading "Bach Quartets" is as jarring as hearing someone call your beloved egg-laying birds "pelicans". Hey, it's Florida--those feathery creatures are probably pelicans, right? No? Well, chickens, pelicans--same thing.
    I'm (seriously) teasing. And you're lots better, accuracy-wise, than a 10-year-old Brooklyn neighbor, probably raised on Rap and Gospel, who was visiting while we had a CD of Bach's keyboard preludes and fugues playing. "Do you know what that is?" we asked. Unhesitatingly, proudly, and dismissively, she said "Opera"!

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  10. Anonymous, my goodness. You assumed Mary was referring to Johann Sebastian when she may likely have intended Johann Christian Bach, who wrote many fine quartets. I'm listening to B flat Major right now, and I think in Mary's honor I will listen to Bach quartets all day.

  11. Allison- The only jeans I wear are a pair of women's Levi's (odd for me) that I got at the Goodwill. I have no idea what I'm going to do when they fall apart.

    Angella- I think of you ALL THE TIME as I attempt to walk like a normal person. I think we would make a little dance, you and I, as we strolled down the street. And oh- wouldn't we laugh? Thank you for being a part of my life, my heart-twin so far away, yet so very close.

    Mel- That poem is hysterical and heart-ripping too. I am so sorry that you have pain at such an early age. Some of us are just doomed.

    heartinhand- Well, at least you have a chance of facing the New Year with some cheer, being so ahead of us on schedule. I hope that for you, anyway!

    Rubye Jack- I MISS YOU! Thanks for popping in. Shuffling in? Whatever. I'm just so glad to see you.

    Elizabeth- I adore hearing him read. And this poem is of course, probably his most famous. I never grow weary of it.

    Youngatheart- Interesting question. Yes, I think that like the sound of the falling tree, the glitter is there, even if no one witnesses it.

    Anonymous- Uh. Well. There are plenty of Bach String quartets. But thanks for pointing out that JS didn't write them.

    Mel- You crack me up. Enjoy the concert! Thanks for having my back.

  12. Picky, picky, picky. Anonymous, does your knowledge of classical music make you feel superior? We have had the grammar police, now we have musical police? Sheesh!
    Mary, I know exactly what you mean. I pretend to not have pain everyday. I don't know why I don't just admit it to myself that I am aging.

  13. I hate going to the mall as well. I do not feel like I belong, I loathe it, I feel like an impostor. One step into the mall and suddenly my jeans are dowdy, my hair is staticky and I have caverns under my eyes. Internet shopping has saved me. This post was somewhat of a relief or release. For many of us, I think.

  14. I could send you some of my old jeans that are comfortable and worn. Might be a bit long though. I have taken up running again which is probably a terrible idea!

  15. Yeah, what HAS happened to The Gap? I used to buy clothes there all the time, but I haven't found anything worth wearing there in at least a decade. Of course, that may be because I'm older and their clothes are still aimed at young people. I don't know.

    Love the Bach discussion here. LOL!


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