On a recent morning, I had to stop at Walgreens on my way to work. I shortchanged the dog on her walk, rushed out of the house 15 minutes early, drove, parked, went in.
I did not know why I was there. No idea. I wandered the aisles — Flea shampoo? Birthday card? Pink highlighter? Nothing. I left with only a Diet Pepsi, hoping for a caffeine kick-start to my brain.
It did not help that this was the same day I was to receive my 20-year anniversary award from the Times, where I started as a college intern when Ronald Reagan was president. Or that I thought I might have to hobble up to the front of the staff meeting on a cane, or at least on the arm of some nice young man, since I had managed to throw out my back.
That I did this while running did not offer mitigation. Since then I relapsed just trying to move the recycle bin to the curb, thankful only that my neighbors did not witness that particularly inglorious moment.
Turns out what I needed from Walgreens was one of those hot/cold adhesive patches you stick to your back to relieve your pain, the mediciney, locker room smell of which does not make you feel 17 again, let me tell you.
Also, I have become ashamed of my socks.
The basic white crews I always wore with sneakers — from the time "sneakers" meant white Reebok high-tops with Velcro straps — now mark me, mystifyingly, as old-school with old-school socks as proof. Apparently socks must be barely visible above the shoe. A friend says she constantly tells her daughter to put on socks with her sneakers, to which her daughter replies, "I have on socks. You're not supposed to see them."
When exactly did we hand over the reins? When did our music become old music? In fact, when exactly did I start saying things like, "They call that music?"
The other day my sister (older, it should be said) actually reached out with her thumb to wipe a bit of schmutz from my chin — a tactic our mother used for quick facial cleanups when we were kids and one we swore a blood oath never to employ. My sister swears she did not lick her thumb first, the worst part of the maneuver, but I know what I saw.
And who am I to talk? When a child I know whined recently about how long our car ride was taking, I heard myself say, "It won't be as long as it has been," channeling a phrase of my mother's that always made me crazy.
The nieces say I'm a cool aunt, but I suspect this is only because I play their radio stations loudly in the car. I do not tell them this is the only way I have a prayer of figuring out what Fall Out Boy or T-Pain are actually saying.
The last time I went to a Friday night party, it took me not one but two days to recover, by which time it was Monday morning, so what was the point, exactly?
I actually care if wine tastes good.
Recently we threw a party for my mother-in-law's 70th birthday, and for fun, made the invitation from a long-ago photograph of her in bathrobe, fuzzy slippers and curlers (remember curlers?) The picture is hilarious, a big hit with her friends, and, yes, I did somehow manage to score one of those mothers-in-law with a sense of humor.
I did the math, and she was younger than me in that picture. For my 70th, probably they'll come up with a picture of me in those hopeless socks.