Friday, June 13, 2014


Yesterday, while at a furniture store, I saw a friend of mine and she was there with a friend of hers. We were all chatting and sitting on comfy chairs when a woman walked in and the store owner called out the customer's name. I commented that it was an uncommon name but that I had a fifty-year-old friend with that same name. I was about to say that I had only heard the name with older women, but the woman chimed in happily, "I'm 65!" My friend and I exchanged glances because we both instinctively knew that she was expecting a gushing, "Oh, you don't look that old!" but it was not forthcoming from us three old biddies sitting there. None of us took that fishing-for-a-compliment line.

Thinking that she was old enough to have a child the age of my friend; I assumed she was near 70. I should be ashamed, but I always look at the necks and teeth of women to gauge ages. I love Nora Ephron's book I Feel Bad About My Neck; in it she makes fun of the prevalence of scarves in the wardrobes of older women.

The woman from yesterday had shoulder-length, straight, bleached-blonde hair; she was wearing extremely tight jeans with dedazzled hip pockets, carrying a pumpkin-colored, fabric purse, with wooden handles, and wearing sandals; her makeup was pale, but very shiny, and she had a magenta-colored slash of lipstick.

She should have been wearing a scarf! My brother Les says I act like I'm looking at a horse when sizing-up people.

When I saw her, she reminded me of a neighbor of mine who dressed that flamboyantly at age 80. I always appreciated that about her. Today, I should have complimented the ridiculous, age-inappropriately-clad person trying so hard to look young. I paused to reflect why I always complimented the neighbor, but couldn't bring myself to compliment the woman today. When I came home, I told Les about it and he said, "That's an easy one; you don't think people YOUR age should look ridiculous; but give her a break, she was just "raging against the dying of the light!"

Can I say right now how much I appreciate a person paraphrasing the third line of the villanelle by Dylan Thomas Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night?

"Rage, rage, against the dying of the light."

Listen below to hear Thomas read his poem.

A villanelle is a 19-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course I didn't know what a villanelle is! ML