Earlier this week I took my daughter to the local photographer to update her portfolio for her drama agent. Whilst there I asked the photographer if she would be kind enough to take a couple of mother and daughter photographs. ‘Of course,’ said the photographer. So together Eleanor and I beamed away while lights flashed. At the end of the shoot, the photographer showed us the results on a big screen. Eleanor looked absolutely stunning. But who the hell was the old bag standing next to her?
I don’t spend a lot of time in front of the mirror. Well, only to put my make-up on. And that’s not something to smile about, so I’ve been oblivious to the crinkled eyes and crow’s feet that appear on baring one’s teeth. I don’t stand there like my teenage daughter, preening and pouting with a mobile phone, before posting the latest inane pose to Facebook or Twitter. But that’s because she’s 15. Whereas I’m 50. And dear God did it show when we stood before this TV screen. ‘Do you do airbrushing?’ I asked.
Since my big birthday, never have I been more aware of body parts doing things they’ve never done before. Forget about wrinkles, middle-age spread or sprouting a fluffy chin overnight. That’s superficial. It’s the brain I’m talking about. Since March it’s completely re-located. Possibly to my derrière. I jokingly tell my family that my backside is keeping my brain warm. My husband jokingly says, ‘That figures because you talk a load of s**t.’ Well I think he’s joking anyway.
Certainly there’s a major problem connecting the brain to other parts of the body. Like my mouth for instance. There are moments where I open my chops to speak and wonder exactly what’s going to come out. Take Friday for example. The car needed petrol. So I filled up and then ambled over to the cashier to pay. ‘Oh, and while I’m here, I’ll take a run through the dishwasher.’ The cashier smiled kindly before wordlessly passing me a ticket... to the car wash. Where do these unwanted words come from? Why does the brain misconnect to the mouth causing rubbish to spout forth?
I was caught out again while doing the day job. Whilst it’s good to be friendly with folk, when writing to Paul it’s probably best not to start his letter with Dear Pal. It could be misconstrued as taking friendliness too far.
The brain is also failing to remember day to day things. How many times do I go upstairs to do something only to find that I have absolutely no recollection of why I ventured upstairs? But no matter, because being a busy housewife and mum there’s always something to do downstairs. If only I could remember what. One day my husband watched me go up and down the stairs, backwards and forwards, without actually achieving anything. ‘Are you exercising?’ he asked. ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I’m trying to remember...something.’ ‘Well why don’t you sit down and think about it.’ ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ I snorted. Sit down? I was far too busy going up and down the staircase. Mr V shook his head and went back to his telly viewing.
In the last week alone I’ve tried to get into three cars that weren't mine and lost my car in the supermarket car park four times. I just couldn’t remember where I’d parked it. Should I be worried or does this happen to other women?
I’m currently reading a book about taking charge of your life and making your dreams come true. Apparently you can literally manifest things into your life. Currently I’m working on manifesting a really brilliant state-of-the-art brain. However, this cosmic calling turned a whole new corner last Wednesday.
I was ransacking the larder for a jar of baby porridge for the hamster (yes, sounds odd, but she’s old, lacks teeth and I swear the baby porridge is all that’s keeping her alive). Anyway, could I find the jar of baby porridge? No. Frustrated, I grabbed a chair, hoisted myself upwards, and systematically searched the shelves from top to bottom. No baby porridge. It was late, the shop was shut and I didn’t want the hamster starving. So in desperation I’m ashamed to confess I began chanting. ‘I am manifesting a jar of baby porridge, I am manifesting a jar of baby porridge.’ Mr V wandered into the kitchen in search of a late night snack, found his wife with her head inside a cupboard commanding a tin of Heinz soup to turn into a jar of Heinz porridge, and asked what the hell I was doing. I nearly fell off my chair. It’s one thing to attempt manifestations in private, quite another in front of an audience. I clambered down from the chair, put it back under the table and then froze. For right there, on the table top, was – wait for it – a jar of baby porridge. ‘OH. MY. GOD.’ I paled. ‘What’s the matter now?’ Mr V asked. I picked up the jar of porridge and waggled it in front of my husband’s face. ‘I’ve only gone and done it! Manifested a jar of baby porridge!’ Or...gulp...had I in fact been to the cupboard...removed the porridge...forgotten I’d done so...then spent a futile five minutes searching the cupboard and behaving like a lunatic?
Meanwhile I’ve taken solace in a bit of retail therapy. Autumn is upon us. The shops are full of warm knits, long-sleeved tops and trousers the colour of rich wine. I’ve bought a couple of sweaters and some jeans in this shade. After all, they match my face as I repeatedly hot flush to the colour of boiled beetroot.
Which reminds me. If scientists ever find a cure for the menopause, what will our biggest problem be? Global cooling...