Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No Guarantees

The tribulations of adolescence are undignified in middle age.

I didn’t just tweet that. I was going to, but without explanation it sounds more profound than I feel. Besides, there are times when “25 words or less” won’t do, and a curmudgeonly rant is one of them. Are your seat belts on, my darling children? Here we go.

The blessings of middle age include a generosity of spirit regarding one’s own appearance. Once hygiene is provided for, the rest is negotiable and the currency is comfort.

Speaking of comfort, the sleep situation reverses itself midway through life. Once upon a time I felt like a rogue warrior when I stayed up all night and lurched through the subsequent day. Now I’m inordinately proud if I manage to rack up more than 7 consecutive hours of unconsciousness.

Equanimity comes with age. Despite going ballistic yesterday over something that was merely annoying, for the most part I don’t care about things the way I used to.

But what about the adolescent tribulations, you ask. Reasonable of you, and I did promise. Not for me to break a covenant, so I will share too much: There is an unsightly pimple on my face.

Forget sagacity and wisdom, if I came with a warranty, I’d demand my money back.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wherefore Art Thou, Angela Lansbury?

Spoiler: Feminist rant ahead.

I never watched “The Rockford Files”, mostly because the character of Jim Rockford was so damned endearing that I couldn’t stand the torment of his hapless misadventures.

That said, we have the second season of “Banacek” on order (for real not from Netflix) because I know we’ll watch them over and over as we did with the first season, as we do with the all-time pinnacle of heroic narrative, “The Saint.” It doesn’t get better than that, folks.

Why the rant? Go ahead, I double dog dare you, think of an equivalent female character in popular culture. Books, films, comic books, radio, I don’t care if she’s in tights and a cape or has little fairy wings, you try to come up with a single female character who is attractive, strong, smart, kicks ass AND – this is the important part, of course we can do the rest but this is the sine qua non – has a sense of humor.

It can’t be done. Carole Lombard got most of it, Myrna Loy too. The young Lauren Bacall comes closest, I think, but still doesn’t quite make it. (Don’t even mention Katharine Hepburn or Uma Thurman, neither was/is funny.) I want likeable, strong, smart, beautiful and funny. And I want them to figure out the mystery before anyone else does. You could make a case for either Elizabeth Montgomery or Lucille Ball, but I think you’d lose on the kick-ass component because both were constrained by their era to defer to their husbands. Fictional Cawti, Barda and Siva never solve the plot nor make a joke. Pam Grier would have been funny if she had the lines, but she didn’t.

Simon Templar, Archie Goodwin, Vladimir Taltos – just once in my life I’d like to have a role model who needs to wear a bra.

Okay, after I got all that written out, a lovely rant if I do say so myself, Robert, that expert practitioner of enlightenment through evil, looked at me and said, “Mrs. Peel.”

Fine, then. Name two. Or one who can’t be called a sidekick.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Storm Warning

The weather report for my area says it’s raining right now. Of course it isn’t, but it might as well be. At midnight with the curtains blowing and the electricity building in the air --- oh yeah, my bones say it’s a storm, but either a small one or still far away.

In either case, it’s cold enough for a sweater, and the little heater by my feet is on. I’m espresso-level awake, though I haven’t had caffeine since this morning.

But you know what? It’s a glorious mood. There’s recklessness reminiscent of adolescent excess. Ha. Say that five times fast. Still, it’s true. In this mood, decades past, I once began a road trip at 2 a.m. just because there was nothing else to do. I started my first novel on my beat up old electric typewriter that had a broken “o” key so I used zeros instead and had the first three chapters written by dawn. I knew that my favorite vanilla crullers came out of the oven at V-G’s Donut Shop in Encinitas at 4:00 a.m.

The unreality bestowed by hour and weather brings credulity, the belief that the unlikely isn’t just possible, it’s a good idea.

All of that was a very long time ago. Now I know that tomorrow will start in eight hours whether I’m ready or not. Age may bring wisdom, but it’s a hell of a lot less fun. And I really miss those crullers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Pretty Lie

I lied on Twitter yesterday. Deliberately and on purpose, even.

The truth: I saw a woman of indeterminate age. Logic infers early 60s but appearance not so much. Her hair ranged from honey to dishwater blonde. Her arms were toned, her skin laser-taut. Her face was preternaturally smooth. Time, pain, money and a whole lot of work went into that. The effect should have been lovely or at least pretty. At the very minimum, she should have been attractive -- except she wasn’t because of two things: her sneer and her slouch.

The tweet: “A slouch and a sneer cancel out a pretty face. Pity.”

While that’s true, it’s not what I meant. What struck me at the time was that this woman put so much effort into her appearance, only to stop short of two necessities that don’t require surgery and can’t be bought either at Nordstrom’s or the beauty salon. A pleasant expression and straight posture are readily available to all of us. She had neither. I find that fascinating.

What I find merely interesting is that I didn’t think my tweeties would appreciate those nuances.

Most of the world is still repelled by surgical and artificial beautification. I remember Torquemada-esque eyelash curlers and lye-based perm solutions; painless non-ablative lasers seem facile (though expensive) by comparison. I no longer get Botox, but that’s due to laziness rather than high-mindedness.

With my lined forehead and gray streaks I can’t say I’m in a beauty closet. I try to wear lipstick more often now that my hair is boy-short and I’ve given up my beloved plaid flannel shirts for the same reason. I won’t castigate Joan Rivers, nor will I decry extreme measures should I develop more of an ego in the future. I just won’t tweet about it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thought For The Day

Let’s face it, knocking wood and looking at the Biggest Picture, things are easier than they used to be. We’re not fighting the elements or wild animals for food and shelter -- discounting anyone who tries to eat in my house without tithing Jonah.

For the most part we buy our food without either hunting or gathering, and didn’t build our own homes. So, barring the obvious; health, paying of bills and meeting of deadlines, my question is: what do we think about?

Of course we avoid that which makes us uncomfortable, at least we do when we can. How many times did you reschedule your last dentist appointment? I rest my case. I haven’t even thought about setting up mine.

Instead, I find myself meandering down a bunch of mental paths. Robert’s DVDs of “Lie to me” have me reading the works of Dr. Ekman, a behavioral psychologist whose work borders on cultural anthropology. My Twitter buddies have me deconstructing Absurdism and relating it to the commonplace. And “NCIS: L.A.” has me wondering how I ought to be restructuring my ab workout.

But right now I find myself wondering why I seem to be blowing all my good ideas in spurts of 140 characters instead of detailing them here, for you. Sorry about that. I’ll mine my twitterfeed for blog concepts next time.