ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE

Ace, ice, elevate. Gulp down a handful of Advil and my bruised ankle should feel better in no time. If only it was that easy to heal my bruised ego. It’s 2AM, hours after my latest embarrassing clash with the realities of aging, and still my ego aches worse than my twisted ankle. What was I thinking?

I have been known, on occasion, to glibly assure my younger friends that turning 60 is not as bad as they fear. You’re only as old as you feel. Yeah, about that. You may feel young at the start of your day, alone in your kitchen, enjoying the sunshine and your leisurely second cup of coffee. Try spending a few hours in the company of those who are truly young. You too will be forced to face facts that you, my dear, are old. Maybe not ancient old. But certainly old in the eyes of the millennials who have taken your place in the world of the relevant.

I suppose it’s my fault for thinking I could defy the calendar. I signed on with a modeling agency in hopes of landing the occasional job calling for a white haired woman. I feel silly calling myself a model since I am far from glamorous  and more than a few dress sizes away from a model’s body.  So how did I end up at a photo shoot which seemed to be hell bent on humiliating me and making me long for a senior center filled with fellow white hairs?

The shoot got off to a bad start when the twenty-something wardrobe chick with the red and purple hair handed me a pair of what looked to be impossibly small jeans and steered me in the direction of the dressing room.  Without my reading glasses, I had not a clue what size they were, but there was no way I was going back out to fetch them.

The jeans were that annoyingly stretchy material that has replaced the denim of my youth.  Ever the optimist, I took a chance, and a very deep breath, and struggled into them. Turns out that even stretchy, size 8 jeans only stretch so far. I didn’t need glasses to read the horrified looks on the faces of the make-up girl and the director. The wardrobe chick was sent shopping while I cooled my heels, and size 12 hips, in the dressing room.

She eventually returned with larger jeans, a looser top, boots with heels the size of the Empire State Building and… a dog.  A large, energetic dog which proved to be way more interested in chasing squirrels and cars than in making me look good.  As we headed off to downtown Denver, it was obvious who was going to be the star of the show.

“Let’s try that one more time,” sighed the obviously frustrated photographer. My job was to walk the dog along a busy city street, relaxed and smiling, all while balancing on heels not compatible with what was being asked of me. That dog could smell fear and knew it was him, not me, who was in charge.

“It looks like the dog is walking you,” complained the director.

“That’s because he is,” I replied as nicely as I could without letting on what I thought of their ill-conceived plan.  Either put me in flats or find a dog that has outgrown chasing cars.

The dog was eventually sent home and we all moved on to a new location, new wardrobe and new challenges.  This time, I was handed size-appropriate jeans and pointed in the direction of the photographer’s car.  While the crew set up for the next shoot, I crouched down low in the car to peel off the stretchy jeans. Memories of zipping my jeans in my boyfriend’s car, so very long ago, floated back to me.  It struck me as downright hilarious to now find myself back in that same position, crouched and zipping. I was still smirking when I exited the car and handed the stretchy jeans to the wardrobe girl.

“What’s so funny?” she asked.

Was  she actually looking at me in that worried way young people look at their grandma when she starts showing signs of dementia?  Maybe I was just overly sensitive. Sharing my funny trip down memory lane might show her how cool I really was.

“I was just thinking how long it has been since I zipped up my jeans in the back seat of someone’s car.”

“Ewwwwww,” was all she said before turning and hurrying away to find the rest of the crew.

I couldn’t keep up with her in those blasted heels.  I tried short, quick steps. No good.  I tried long, lunging steps. No better. After twisting my ankle for the third time, I took off the boots and walked barefoot down the chilly sidewalk. Let her think I’m old and demented. At least I’d remain upright for the rest of the shoot.

Even the worst days must eventually come to an end. As the sun set over Denver, I headed home. Home to my husband who shares my reading glasses and can’t see my wrinkles without them. Home to my friends who share stories of hot flashes, memory lapses and the aches and pains of aging. Home to my mailbox which will someday soon hold a check for the photo shoot, making those few hours of embarrassment seem almost worth it.

Do I regret putting myself out there? Not really.  Will I do it again if I get the chance?  You betcha!  I’m not yet ready to go gentle into that good night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Carol Bryant

Hi. My name is Carol Bryant. I'm a transplanted New Yorker, living in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. While it was skiing that initially drew me to Colorado, it's been the laid-back, outdoor lifestyle which has kept me here for nearly 30 years. I'm a writer, nurse, travel agent and mediocre tennis player. I began my writing career 20 years ago, writing essays and magazine articles. Recently, I completed my first manuscript and am currently seeking representation for this work. It's a memoir of my nursing career which spans two continents, forty years and some of the most intriguing characters who have ever entered a hospital. I’ve been told that if I ever hope to have my memoir published, I need to establish a platform – a following of readers who enjoy my writing. So, I am shamelessly asking for you to become part of that platform. I plan to blog on various topics that I find entertaining. If you are entertained, moved to cry or laugh out loud, then I have accomplished what I have set out to do. I feel as if I am taking that first, timid step out onto the frozen lake, hoping that the ice will hold me. It’s scary as hell but I’ll give it a go. After some of the things I have faced down in my 40 years of nursing, how bad can blogging be? It beats shaving scrotums.
This entry was posted in Aging, generation gap, modeling, never give up and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE

  1. Illoura Lodge Bookings says:

    I’m sitting in my office on Good Friday doing bookwork, and feeling miserable with Man Flu, with every joint aching. But you sure have cheered me up with your amusing tale! Welcome back to the best blog going on Sista! You’re a LONG way from being old. Please post more regularly, as we’re all laughing with you, not at you! Peter

    Like

  2. Phil says:

    Inescapable aging – told realistically, and courageously. We all like our comfort zones, the bold people venture outside, so good for you that you’re willing to give it a go. A very entertaining story.

    Like

  3. Diane Huling says:

    Hilarious!! I really enjoyed it. I would have left a comment, but the stupid WordPress wouldn’t let me…

    C U Tuesday.

    Like

    • Carol Bryant says:

      Thanks Diane. So glad you enjoyed it. If you know anyone else who may enjoy it, please feel free to share. And thanks for the comment which, somehow, did appear so now WordPress knows what you think of it…

      Like

  4. Eliza Cross says:

    You’re so funny, and I loved this post! I applaud your courage and joie de vivre. xo

    Like

  5. Enjoyed reading your blog, isn’t aging awful? Especially when you have to face it. Funny how our mind seems to say we’re one age and boy our bodies sure tell us another awful reality. What really matters is how we feel about ourselves, and our family still loves us . As long as we can hold our head high and carry on with a smile , lets enjoy life because the alternative sucks.

    Like

  6. Enjoyed reading your blog, isn’t aging awful? Especially when your mind tells you one age and the body says another. As long as we can walk with our head high and smile, our family loves us, then life is good. The alternative is not.

    Like

  7. Virginia Smith says:

    Haha! What joy in reading your lament! I so understand, and still find it odd that I can spend a day on my feet and wake the next morning with a sore leg…. just keep going, you are whoever you want to be!

    Like

  8. Cassie says:

    You sure do show your age gracefully! I love hearing your funny stories!! You write them so well, I feel like I was there. ☺ Very well done, again!!

    Like

  9. diannegray says:

    This reminds me of when I won a ‘makeover’ a few years ago in a newspaper competition. I’m not far off 60 and it was a real eyeopener for me trying to fit into the tight pants and the photographer constantly telling me to ‘work it’, pull in my stomach, shoulders back, chest out! It was hilarious.

    I love your story, Carol!

    In case you’re interested my post is here https://diannegray.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/cairns-eye-makeover/

    Like

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