The great cartoonist B. Kliban (famous for his Cats) had a piece titled "The Shock of Recognition." It was just a scruffy guy looking at himself in the mirror first thing in the morning.
I love that. You wake up feeling ok, and then you see your reflection. The Shock of Recognition.
These past few weeks have caused me to be jolted into recognition in some awful and scary ways.
I hate to say it, but I see myself in Sarah Palin's cute-lil'-bunny act. The woman who is over the hill and no one dares say it to her, so she keeps popping off with these little inappropriate cutenesses.
Oh gah. Now every time I wink or shimmy, I see myself in her at the VP debate and it makes me kind of nauseous. Here we are, in middle age with our broad middle-aged butts, still thinking we can get away with acting like giggly teens.
"Can I call ya Joe?" she chirped as I cringed. There are times and places you can "Work it, girl" but a vice-presidential debate is probably not one of those.
We forget, as we age, that we are aging. In our heads, we think we are still young. My sister Laura told me about a time in her late thirties when someone asked her how old she was. She said "Eighteen" without hesitating, because, in her mind, she WAS 18. It wasn't until they snorted that she was brought up short.
Like the protagonist in Milan Kundera's novel Immortality, I fear that Ms. Palin and I are trapped in a picture of ourselves that no longer exists.
Please forgive me if I ever appear pathetic as I navigate these perilous waters of midlife womanhood. And if you see Sarah Palin, tell her I understand.