Yesterday I tried four new positions.
(And a working knowledge of shorthand was not required.)
Fling right arm overhead, as if in gay abandon or in reflecting the price of fish and the cost of living where it’s at today.
Then, while bringing my knee in line with chin, keeping my left leg still.
On his part, ooh, the boy in white overalls, he adjusted the X-ray machine over my form.
Clinical assistants get younger with every check-up.
(Oh how I miss being the proof-reader for the Kama Sutra publisher…them were the days.)
One day mirrors, next day smoke, and it’s all gone, where has the time flown.
In the wink of an eye, one is teleported from being polyamorous to needing polyclinics.
In the now distant past, if you’d raided my Mana-Ada-Lagi mansion, yes, you’d come away with a chest heaving with Victoria’s Secret — they were always on sale — support garments.
Today it’s a cabinet of Vicky’s secret brews and curative herbs and vitamin supplements.
Lavender used to be a bra colour (ask Victoria), now lavender helps you sleep (Vicky said).
Never mind were-we-ever-that-young? But rather when-did-we-get-this-old!
Why, just the other year I thought I was stepping out with a man with a catamaran.
Turned out, he had some sort of eye trouble. Cataract.
Still, a better offer than when a distinguished gentlemen — French Vietnamese — in the supermarket queue said to me, matter-of-factly, “Can you come to my flat? For $50 an hour.”
As I did the mental sums for inflation costs, he completed his sentence. “To teach my son English. He cannot go out, because he has ingrown toenail.”
I tell’ya, you don’t need rocket science to work it out…it is Other People.
Others age you. Other people make you older.
I may be 64 (I said “may”) and feel 46 but thanks to folk around me, I could just as well be 73.
(Okay, all right, those figures are hypothetical, you all cannot take joke issit?!)
It begins in your late twenties. Can’t you recall now?
Friends and family actually give utterances such as “You already so old” and “You’re not young anymore” as they burn offerings to land you a mate.
The Eurasian neighbour was sweet, “Aunty is waiting to eat your cake and drink your wine.”
The Peranakan relative minces crabmeat but never her words, “Not to say you how clever, or how pretty, don’t be so choosy.”
Those dear old fossils meant well. They could not have foreseen the choice of young men we have at our disposal today.
Never-ending phone calls to Grab and Gojek drivers, cute like panda food delivery guys, hawt like anything new age hawkers, in fact my Lazada man can cream your Red Mart fella anytime. While lifting multiple six-packs of health drinks.
And you dare say I’m no spring chicken. Aunty, I’m a spring roll here.
Of course, my home is cluttered with other people’s mistakes.
No cupboard nor shelf neither desk, spared stuff foisted on me by the kind and the generous who think they are helpful.
“As you get older, do you find you’ve lost your grip?”
No. in fact I can still very well choke you, what is it you’ve brought me now?!
Some gadget or other to strengthen one’s elasticity apparently.
“When I saw this, I said to myself this is so Sylvia, you will wear it won’t you?”
Yes. If I was a freakin’ old age pensioner retired from my hygiene teacher’s post.
But I’m gonna save it for the next monastery meeting.
Self-help books. Why do other people fancy you can’t live without self-help literature?
Listen to me carefully. Do you comprehend the term self-help? It means to help yourself.
Ergo, you no need buy for me, I ownself buy, okay?!
The CEO of this judgemental lot is tact herself.
“Paik Choo, I notice you never use make-up. Cannot you know. In advancing years must put some lipstick and powder.”
Well, let me tell you, make-up free, I elicited a chorus of wolf whistles, so shrill, so loud, so many, you’d have thought you were at a Madonna concert (I have been, hence the comparison).
I was ambling along Handy Road close to Cathay cinema. Unusually for me — you have obviously not met my pins — I was in a skirt.
I heard the hint of a phweet, and then another. Straighten up, girl, I told myself. But be casual, don’t turn around to scout. The wolf whistles grew, multiplied and amplified. Oh come on, it’s only an old skirt. When the group whistling reached urgent fever pitch, I did spin round.
Only to leap out of the way…of a reversing cement mixer. The workers had puckered themselves silly trying to warn me to get out of the way of the looming vehicle.
Just managed to skirt that problem. Phew!