She’s blowing me. With a fan.
Shortly before … I’m walking through Lime Ridge Mall here in Hamilton past this skin-care kiosk (I guess that’s a thing) when a young, bespectacled woman with long, straight black hair shoves an upside down sample cup at me with a white concoction on it.
“It’s hand moisturizer,” she says in a thick accent I can’t place.
“Oh, thanks,” I say and begin rubbing it over my cold, dead hands.
“Can I ask you a question?” she asks that question.
“What are you doing for your eyes?”
She means the bags under my eyes. Obviously, I say nothing (the actual word, not the lack of action). Next thing I know I’m sitting in her office, as she calls it, in the middle of the mall and she’s rubbing this brown substance under my right eye. Now she’s done and she’s pointing a small fan at my eye and blowing air on it to speed up the drying process.
While this is going on, she asks me a lot of questions.
“Are you from Hamilton?” (Nova Scotia)
“What brought you to Hamilton?” (work)
“Are you married or happy?” (nice one)
“Do you mind if I ask you how old you are?”
“I turn 50 in a couple of weeks.”
“Ooh!” she looks surprised. “You don’t look 50.”
“You look good.”
I love how she sets the two statements off like they’re opposite. 50 equals … Not good.
Just to conclude the story, she’s happy (not married) and Russian. I thank her for the kind words, but I never even get a price on the eyebag treatment. She offers to treat the other eye, no thanks, and I leave the mall with one eye that looks 45 another that looks 55 so let’s cross eyes and call it 50.
Holy smokes. Look at that:
50. 50! That’s a mean lookin’ crooked number at the start.
I can’t believe I’m this old. On my 50th birthday, that’s what I feel mostly – I can’t believe I’m this old.
I don’t feel old, but I know I am. I’m 50.
I don’t feel old mentally. But now that I think of it, physically … yeah. I’m 50.
I’m not as strong as I used to be, my workouts are a shadow of what I did years ago, I have to constantly guard against beer gut (wish me luck), and I’m sore. I’m sore. My favourite cologne is Rub-A535.
My feet hurt all the time – and I already have orthotics. Getting out of bed to start the day and at work when I’ve been sitting for a while and get out of my chair, those first few steps are tortuous. I look like I’m walking on hot coals.
A few times my supervisor, who sits behind me in the open-concept office, has seen me hobblewalk and looked at me puzzled.
“I’m 49 years old,” I’d say.
Can’t say that anymore. I’m 50. I’ve already received the seniors discount, for fuck’s sake.
And my neck is always stiff. I can’t turn around properly. I have to kind of half waddleturn my whole body to look at something behind me or on the periphery of my sightline.
Periphery. A young man wouldn’t use that word.
But mentally … I’m so young! The theme of this blog is to celebrate the small stuff, and I do it every day. I try to be optimistic. Like I said in my 49th birthday post, I love nothing more than getting a laugh from people, especially those in the service industry or retail who I know get their share of humourless cranks.
I recently went to buy a new duvet and duvet cover. Considering it’s most likely the last duvet set I’m ever going to buy … this is an adventure!
I go across the street to Linen Trends in Jackson Square in full goof mode (don’t leave home without it). I’m joking around with the Arabic owner and his wife, and they’re giving it right back to me.
The guy knocks 20 bucks off the duvet cover and another 20 off the duvet. And they give me a free hand towel! Is it because I’m friendly and having fun with them? Yeah, I think it is.
Here’s the best part – when I ask for a bag for the duvet cover, the owner’s wife who rings me up at the cash deadpans:
“It’s 10 bucks for the bag.”
I crack up, shake the owner’s hand, and she gives me a fist bump.
I never get tired of stuff like that. But I do get tired of other stuff. Like, doing stuff.
A friend of mine climbed Mount Kilimanjaro when he turned 50. Me? I’m going up the street to my favourite bar, The Ship.
It never occurred to me in 50 years to try to do something like climb a mountain for my 50th. I felt guilty for a while, like I should try to accomplish something, till my wise sister Clare weighed in:
“You’re wired how you’re wired.”
Here’s how it ends. It doesn’t end.
This post was originally titled Birthday No. 50: It’s A -30- because -30- is the old school way journalists would indicate they were finished filing a story. This was going to be my goodbye Reynoworld post.
But now that I write this one and realize how lucky I am to be 50 and be in good health (I do binge drink but what am I supposed to do, climb a mountain?) and how much I appreciate the support, I may as well still post the occasional post.
And I realize mine is an important voice that needs to be heard. Probably the most important voice in the history of the world. The small, ridiculous things in life must be documented. Celebrated, even.
Imagine how empty your life would be if you didn’t know this post was dedicated to Dave Poole. I met him once, a few weeks ago while I was standing in front of Aout ’N About on Augusta, waiting to be picked up. He was sitting on the front deck, a heavyset, bearded white guy about my age. He was the only person out there.
We chatted for a bit, then out of the blue he brought me a shot.
I think it was a B-52. Thanks, Dave.