Why? How old do I look? That’s my standard answer whenever the question of age comes up. Of course, the doctor asking the question, the lady at the DMV, and the young twenty-something behind the eye glass counter seem to have little patience for my self-indulgent quiz.
The truth is I look younger than I am. The crow’s feet are sparrow-size, the laugh lines have not turned into jowls, and my hair is not gray, thanks to Da Vinci hair coloring mocha-tint #5. But something has changed; a part of my “not so damn old body” is turning on me. You know the saying, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Well, that hand, my hands have decided to plunge into the abyss of aging.
My soft supple hands have simply changed, perhaps as quickly as … overnight! I was rubbing my favorite vanilla scented lotion into my palms when the first of many discoveries made me plop my butt down and begin the pity pout. Where did all of this extra skin come from? Why there is enough skin on the back of my hands to mimic a pot sticker and these bumps? What the hell are these pea size bulges that sit right on top of my veins? As if that wasn’t enough, there are brown spots, not a lot but enough to connect together and have an outline of the state of Texas! The skin has more wrinkles in it than an old boyfriend’s tee shirt wadded up and kept for the memories.
These hands, my hands, have done a good amount of work in their time. They have cradled my two daughters, my grandchildren, and several fine glasses of red wine. They’ve pulled back the hair of a few friends as they literally spilled their guts out over bad men, bad food, or too much good wine.
They have put together bed frames, bicycles, Strawberry Shortcake dollhouses, stereo systems and yet they’ve never learned to program a VCR.
These hands have sported a ring on one finger that stated I was married and on another when I was not! Through the years, they’ve patted the backs of deserving friends and colleagues and have pulled the proverbial knife out of my back from some of the very same deserving friends and colleagues.
They’ve caught a ball, thrown a ball, and have had a ball! The ten digits of these hands have spend hours picking at keys, first on a manual Remington, then an electric Brother and finally on an array of computers and laptops trying to tell stories that make people claps their hands in joy and wring in their hands in suspense.
Lately these hands have spent more time digging in dirt, planting an herb garden, feeling the back spine of its favorite books, and rubbing the head of the old family dog. They’re never idle, always looking for something to get into.
We still have a lot of work to do, these hands and me. They’re still strong and able to juggle many things at one time. I’m not going to hold the fact that they look a bit tired and weathered against them. They have done quite a bit for me.
However, I’m not giving in and so the next time someone asks, “How old are you?” I’m going to shove my hands into my pocket and reply, “Why? How old do I look?”
I am also starting a fashion movement and bringing back the elegant and somewhat quirky style of Holly Golightly and those beautiful white gloves. They were such a handsome accessory.