Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mirror, mirror? Nah, never mind

Never been one for admiring myself on the mirror except perhaps for my thick, formerly dark brown mane, especially after most of my friends began losing theirs regardless of the color. Losing one's hair is a clear sign of creeping, or galloping, old age, one that makes you concentrate on the sink drain rather than the bathroom mirror.

Part of the energy-saving design for our new house is a series of skylights, including a long rectangular one over the bathroom sink. That one supposedly had the added advantage of providing a soft, natural light, not quite like the flattering pinkish glow of some makeup mirrors women use, but certainly one easier on the aging ego than the fluorescent bulbs at cheap motel bathrooms that make you look not just ancient but downright cadaverous. 

But I'm starting to think that at age 64 (mine) the bathroom skylight and windows let in far too much light for any purpose. It's become a case of too much information. 

My hair seems to be remaining in place, though I'm afraid to look too closely at it too. It is way gray and has developed an aboriginal wildness to it that is difficult to control with any type of goo.

When I first came to San Miguel I tried a no-fail coloring shampoo that one is supposed to rinse off promptly after five minutes. 

Never again. I asked Stew to mind the timer but he got distracted and the stuff stayed on for about fifteen minutes, so I came out looking like a cross between Ricky Ricardo and Bela Lugosi. 

"It'll grow out," Stew said trying to be comforting, before I even had a chance to look in the mirror.

At yoga class the next day, some of the women tried to look at my eyes but really couldn't help staring at my suddenly jet-black hair. "What the hell did you do to yourself?" I'm sure they wanted to shriek. Namaste to you too, ladies, for keeping quiet.

Right now I'm leaning toward a buzz cut which will save money on hair potions and time in front of the mirror in the morning. 

The latter seems to be the more important concern. Anymore I tend to concentrate on various features of the bathroom except the mirror. The plaster on the wall over the sink counter didn't come out too evenly, huh, the bumps and creases accentuated by light pouring through the skylight glass which, by the way, seems to be constantly dirty. 

The pictures in the bathroom keep getting crooked, partly because of the wind but also because the cleaning woman does it on purpose, I am sure, just to let us know she dusted everything. She's sort of passive-aggressive that way.

I recently installed a spray bottle and a rag to polish the granite countertop, which is perpetually dusty and splotchy. A bit compulsive but it keeps my attention off that incriminating mirror.

Problem is that as you get older, the more time you have to spend in the bathroom attending to various physical or aesthetic emergencies--to the extent they can be remedied at all.

Now the red-flowered plant on the counter is wilting too. Hadn't noticed that.

Recently I've been forced to irrigate my sinuses every morning, a New Age remedy for constant colds and sinus infections. It also a creates a revolting snorting noise, Stew tells me.

The more frantically I floss and poke around my teeth with special toothpicks with a tiny brush at the end, the worse my teeth seem to get. I used to have cavity-proof choppers but since coming to San Miguel I'm on my third root canal. Maybe people should go in for a global root canal when they turn 60 and get that over with. It would save gasoline and time at the dentist. 

And what's the deal with eyebrows growing out of control? I thought that was an unsightly aberration  limited to Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes". It may be spreading. 

Wrinkles and bags under the eyes also are becoming a concern. When I pose for a picture I don't know whether to smile, and let wrinkles take over my face, or just sit there looking sphinx-like but not quite as crinkly.

Except that unless Home Depot develops some sort of Spackle for Men there's no solution for that dilemma either.  

What to do with the mirror? We could cover the skylight with a translucent plastic to cut down on the light, which is definitely way too much. Or brush my teeth by candlelight before the sun comes up. Maybe replace the mirror with a landscape painting. 

Too little light, though, could be disastrous for my periodic eyebrow trimming.  A slip of the hand could leave me looking like Nora Desmond, who had to paint hers every morning. 

This problem is getting worse by the day. Maybe I should forget the mirror and work on what's going on inside my head. 




3 comments:

  1. al, i got such a good laugh out of this! come on, you're a handsome man and you don't need to worry about your looks. heck, i'm 57, almost totally gray, and what used to be a head of very thick dark wavy hair is now so thin that when i wake up in the morning, i could see the bald spots from where the hair has parted during sleep. i'm not crazy about it, but i always say that i am growing old "graysfully" thanks for a good laugh, i really needed it.

    teresa in nagoya

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  2. Oh those daze. Looking for a job in my early 50's in the computer field I died my hair just to maybe fit better in a field that was predominantly 20-somethings. I swear they thought what is this old fart doing here.

    Once you dye it you have to keep it up .... but when I retired at 62 that was the end of it. When it grew out I was almost pure white and will remain that way.

    Thanks for the reminder

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  3. It's a good thing you're as handsome as you are or you would be having apoplexy every morning. You are perfect, just the way you are......well except maybe for the snorting noise. Poor Stew! ha...

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