I’ve called this post the old man and the invisible woman because my body’s beginning to wage a war with both. I’m learning to get along with the latter, she’s been around since 2011 when I discovered I could no longer eat multiple cheeseburgers unscathed. The wrong side of 35, she rarely turns heads anymore and she’s okay with saying “I thought I’d be cooler with that than I actually am.”
She’s contemplated Botox but walked into rooms filled with semi-startled faces and tell-tale necks so spends her money on ineffective face creams instead. As she enters an age of who gives a f*%k, she’s working on owning the face that got her there. Even if it is becoming less visible.
The old man, however, is another story. This unwelcome geriatric invading her body; he carries prescription reflux medicine in his bag and brings his own Mylanta to parties.
Friends recently decided on my alter-ego, Carl, a no-nonsense grumpy old fart. I envisage him to be more of a Karl; a short-fused man of Finnish or possibly German origins, he’s building an impressive arsenal of ailments and feels frequently misunderstood.
Older siblings and friends frighten Carl (or Karl) with their ageing woes. They’re not quite afflictions of the elderly, more like distant cousins – old sporting injuries that now involve “therapy” and new words like ‘bursitis’; an inflammation around the joint that’s a little too close to home, home being inflammation inside the joint, otherwise known as arthritis. No one’s mentioning menopause.
Before Karl carried two kids, he’d never seen one blood test. Now he’s learning about cholesterol and pancreatic enzymes. The results that Doctor Google returns have gone from slightly concerning to you could be dying. Karl just wants to eat his mother-in-law’s fried chillies and soft cheese until he dies and the body he finds himself invading is, against better judgment, still accommodating.
I want to love Karl but he’s a manifestation of ageing that’s harder to ignore than the invisible woman. He’s in my face, up in my grill. Reminding me my body’s not built to last forever. And I really just want to keep eating cheeseburgers.