As I teeter perilously close to the precipice of turning 50, I’m becoming keenly aware of all the things that happens to the body at the onslaught of serious aging. At first, it creeps, slowly. Then, past a certain age (I noticed a change if you will, right around the age of of 47-ish), it comes at you all at once. Speeding, racing…and at record time, too.
Hello Titanic, meet the iceberg.
At 49.9 years of age, I have and have had the requisite aches and pains for a while. And I also pluck the occasional gray hair from my head and these bastards are far kinkier than what’s remaining of my blond locks. I’ve also been lucky enough to keep Crow’s Feet hidden in their epidermal nests. Lucky? Maybe, but not so much when you consider that I’m blind as a bat in terms of seeing things at a distance. I’m extremely near-sighted, though that too is waning. My vision at this point in time can best be described as “fun house” like. Why not? I guess I deserve it because I’ve spent years telling everybody that how they saw me was fiction; that my short, squatty stature was just an illusion or some strange but vivid flashback they were having from tripping on acid while laughing and stumbling through a “House of Mirrors” at one of those nasty traveling carnivals that usually find themselves in low rent strip mall parking lots. The trashy, dirty kind where you get on a ride and your seatmate is day old vomit.
I have glasses and I need to wear them more often but well, vanity thy name is Laurie. That means most days I assume this ugly squint face–one that looks like I’m perpetually smelling a fart, but have no fear; the Houston streets will soon be safe once again. You see, something happened that made me realize that I need to wear my specs all the damn time.
I had a few things to mail this afternoon, so I ferried me self to ye olde Post Office and stood in line like all the other drones and waited for my turn with one of the “NEXT!!!!” shouting, rude and angry slaves to bureaucracy behind the counter. The line moved slowly so that gave me a chance to do something I rarely EVER do at a Post Office in Houston—I looked around. And that’s often a gutsy move. The Post Office is like the DMV in that it attracts a very motley crew.
Anyway, there was a very large, plate glass window on the right hand side of the lobby, near the office where you go to get queried and verbally poked–necessary things for obtaining a U.S. passport.
I looked through the window for a second or two, then squinted to narrow my myopia even more and damned if I didn’t see a bunch of men standing under a tree and they all had long, whitish beards.
Odd, but I thought I recognized at least one of the guys.
I concentrated. Of course!! I figured it out! It was that crazy Pai Mei cat, the bearded, but powerful and possibly ageless practitioner of the lethal Bak Mei style of king fu. In Kill Bill, Volume 2, Pai Mei taught Black Mambo (played by the very white Uma Thurman) how to do all that karate stuff, like sucker punching her way out of an interred casket.
Could it be? I was less than two miles away from one of Houston’s many Asian communities, but no!! Men, regardless of ethnic persuasion or culture, usually don’t run around Houston dressed like Maid Marian; not even in Montrose, Houston’s equivalent to the West Village!!!
OK, I was able to eliminate the samurai.
Then, I looked closer. It was.. huh? What the fu—?
It was Amish men??????
But how could that be? Houston isn’t home to any Amish that I know of and neither is Texas, for that matter. Even so..irony or ironies..traffic was awfully, awfully slow as I snailed my way to the Post Office, but that deduction was way too far-fetched.
I wiped my eyes, hoping to reset my focus.
My god! Was it? Could it be? Yes, it was. It was Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons, the bearded front men from the storied rock group, ZZ Topp!!!!
It made sense. Dusty and Bill are from Houston, after all. But why would two aging rock stars hang around under a tree outside a Post Office?
Well, that rhetorical question allowed me to mark ZZ off my mental list of possibilities.
But who or what in the hell was under that tree??
Can’t be. Houston doesn’t have any hills. Plus, we’ve got plenty of White Trash to fill that demographic.
By that time, I was getting frustrated beyond the pale. I just HAD to know who these men were. So, I asked the woman behind me to save my place in line. She did and I walked over to the window and got a much better look. I touched the window; felt the cool pane of glass and realized that all this time, I’d been watching……
…..Spanish Moss, swaying gently in the breeze..
Damn, aging is a bitch, ya’ll!!!