Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

The Necessity of Electricity for Old People


by Tracie Grimes
Tracie is a monthly contributor to Kern County Family Magazine

humor
The first day of my 50th year started out fittingly enough--darkness enveloped me.  Not in the metaphorical sense (well, maybe a little, because I was feeling a little sorry for myself, being so old and all), but in the physical sense. The power was out. No coffee, no blow dryer, no toasted Eggo waffles for the kid’s breakfast...it was just me and my flashlight.

Breakfast wasn’t too difficult.  Thank goodness we had cereal and milk that hadn’t reached its expiration date.  Getting ready for the day proved a bit more difficult.

Using a battery-powered lantern, I surveyed my now half-century-old battleground (my face), as I decided my battle plan in light of having no light.

I knew with the first glance at the menacing reflection in front of me that it was not going to be easy.  I felt I was looking into the face of evil, and it was I.  The Don King/Medusa hair, the dark shadows, the deep lines around my lips that acted as parenthesis encasing what looked like dried up flaps of skin.  Was I fifty or one hundred and fifty?

I knew I had only a short amount of allotted time before I had to get the kids out the door for the carpool (thank God it wasn’t my day, so I had a few more minutes), so I went to work.  Not much could be done with the hair, but I tried to use styling cream and anti-frizz serum to pat down the Italian Cyprus tree that had sprouted atop my head during the night.  I matched my clothes as best I could using a flashlight, sticking with light and dark solid colors, because Lord knows what I’d come out looking like if I tried to match patterns.  Then, the make-up.  It’s hard enough to apply eyeliner with a magnifying mirror, because wearing bifocals to apply eyeliner has never worked for me.  But, trying to juggle a mirror, flashlight, and eyeliner proved impossible.  Deciding the lantern would have to provide adequate enough light, I completed my make-up regime, which looked OK in the dark, shadowy bathroom.  It was only when I got off the elevator to go to my first meeting of the day and saw my reflection in a mirror that was in a lighted room that I realized how important electricity is to the make-up application process.  I looked like Carol Burnett’s impersonation of Gloria Swanson, and I was definitely NOT ready for my close-up.

There’s no turning back now, I thought, rubbing some of the wayward eyeliner off before entering the office doors.

The day got better, though.  A wonderful surprise luncheon at Mama Tosca’s with five of the most wonderful women you could ever meet that my angel-friend Lori put together.  Then, whisked away that evening for happy hour at Mexicali downtown with four other of the most fabulous women to walk the earth.  I was content.  I was going to enjoy my 50’s.

Then I opened the mailbox.  AARP had sent me a welcome package.  Darkness enveloped me once again.

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