I have come to the conclusion that today is Dingy Middle-Aged Women’s Day. (That’s Ding-y, as in air-headed, not Dingey, as in drab. Although drab Middle-Aged Women could be a topic for another blog entry, if I really get stuck). Come to think of it, based on my personal experience, it may actually be Dingy Middle-Aged Women’s WEEK. I started in on my own dinginess on Wednesday, when I tried to make tea by putting not a teabag, but a spoonful of sugar into the teapot. Then later I attempted to warm a plate of food by putting it in the fridge. I did at least discover my error with the plate of food unaided – the absence of the keypad on the fridge door was a dead giveaway.
Now, I was blaming my dinginess this week on the fact that my right ear is still clogged from the cold I had last year. It’s already a proven fact that I can’t see well when I can’t hear. After today’s events, however, I am beginning to wonder if this is not some kind of national honor week for dinginess, and that perhaps I lost the memo.
Case in point: driving down Sepulveda Blvd. in Manhattan Beach today, I saw four middle-aged women in dresses and heels, trying to cross the street. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but they were jaywalking, and had apparently forgotten everything they had learned about that skill in their teens. So instead of running across half the street and standing on the concrete median while traffic cleared on the other side, they tottered across half the street in their heels, laughing and chatting with each other, then stood, I kid you not, in the LEFT LANE of traffic, watching the traffic on the other side of the median. In an attempt to hurry things up (one supposes), they took turns bending at the waist now and then to peer up the street at the traffic, looking for a gap. However, not once did any of them look at the oncoming traffic on the side they were standing.
Eventually three of them did remember the “stand on the median” concept, but one of them saw no need to even move closer to it, and stood happily in the middle of the left lane, laughing and fixing her gaze on the traffic on the other side, while traffic on her side came barreling toward her and eventually stopped a few feet away from her. When the women did finally cross the other half of the street, they crossed not as a group, but as a line of stragglers, hesitant and wobbling on their high heels and giggling in embarrassment the entire way. This resulted in traffic having to slam to a halt on that side of the road as well.
Half a block up the road, I sat waiting for the light to change, shaking my head, tempted to judge but being honest enough with myself to realize that the only thing stopping me from finding myself in a similar predicament, in my current state of mind, was the fact that I don’t wear heels much any more. Just then another middle-aged woman crossed in front of my car. She was in the crosswalk, wearing sensible clothing, so I was about to heave a sigh of relief that it wasn’t an epidemic of dinginess. Then I noticed that she was talking on her cell phone. She had an earpiece in her ear, the kind that has a microphone built into the wire that connects it to the phone, so that the mic automatically sits in the middle of your chest, close enough to pick up your voice. The mouthpiece on the phone shuts off when you plug one of these earpieces in. Apparently no one had ever explained the mic to her, though, because she was holding her phone up to her mouth and shouting into it.
So there it is. Undeniable proof that this is Dingy Middle-Aged Woman’s Week. It may have something to do with the arrival of Mother’s Day. Perhaps if we all act pathetic enough this week, our families will take pity and realize that they need to plan something special for Mother’s Day without our help.
And maybe the earth will spin in the opposite direction for a day, too. Just as likely.