March 3 – Assembly Required

by Carol Ziel

Older Woman on Sofa

Image courtesy of Ambro at

I tried to brush the vanilla icing from my lip. It stuck. Or rather “they” stuck: a small colony of coarse white hairs had gathered at the corner. This burgeoning village of whiskers had joined the unicorn hair that sprung from between my eyebrows, and the straggly chinny-chin-chin hairs that could easily be braided into a ZZ TOP kind of look if left unattended. I used to hang on the sink watching my father shave. Never in my childhood fantasies did I contemplate having similar Gillette moments.

Now, even before I begin to shave, I must find my glasses. I have two pairs: not the cute little reading half glasses in funky colors from Walgreens, but serious nerd glasses–one for reading and the computer, and one for distance. Then there is my somewhat new hearing aid.

Finally, the “pad of the day.” I used to have a collection of shoes. My current collection is adult incontinence supplies. I used to buy one Victoria’s secret push up bra or matching panty each pay period. They came in glorious jewel tones. Now my undie drawer is packed with Fruit of the Loom and black sports bras. It would take more than the color black to make a sports bra sexy. And my breasts are no longer even in alignment.

The breast situation at least had an interesting story. I had to crawl my 70-year-old body through my locked truck’s back window to retrieve a key. While my breasts were wedged on the console, my butt was hanging out under a perfect blue sky, bent in an unflattering penitent position. Although I did retrieve the key, backing out was a problem of mythical proportions. Embarrassment gave me momentum. With a pop that was startlingly like a champagne cork, I flopped out. True, the key was in hand, but one breast hung further south than at the beginning of the adventure. Apparently, ligaments are not what they used to be either.

I long to jump out of bed, pulsing with the promise of the day. I miss the time when my breasts were perky and pristine, bladder snuggly in place, my eyes piercing and hearing sharp and when the only cane I owned belonged to a sexy Halloween tap dancing costume. I miss 4-inch heels and disco clubbing. I miss the time when my mail was more than AARP catalogues, Medicare supplement notices, and life insurance advertisements.

But most of all I miss a time when assembly was not required to start my day.

Carol has been an SCN member for six years and is grateful to be nurtured by such wonderful women writers. She is also a gardener, grandmother, social worker, Quaker and Goddess-centered woman who primarily writes poetry but is branching out into more essay types of writing. More to be revealed.


10 responses to “March 3 – Assembly Required

  1. Love it, Carol! These are the humbling losses of aging that all of us deal with. Thanks for articulating them with such good humor!

  2. Betty McCreary

    Oh My! You said it all. I am a bit younger, but on the way. I hope I still have your sense of humor in a few years and I hope to not replicate your truck incident. Thanks for the grin with my coffee this a.m.

  3. Oh! how I could relate to our diminishing body parts. The damn mirrors are betraying me. At least I know that I am not alone in this body aging club. Thanks for sharing with such humor.

  4. Wonderful, Carol! And when my shipment from Amazon gets here it will be my rollator/transport chair duet and I will be pushed around in my adult stroller while trying to recall where I left my glasses and being grateful for non-leak underwear. Who knew a second childhood would be so literal? Sigh.

  5. Carol, you have always been blessed by writing self-reflecting humour well. “Embarrassment gave me momentum” is a wonderful string of words. 70 and going strong!

  6. Thanks, Ladies for the encouragement. It’s good to know the lovely company I’m in. Caroline

  7. Good thing we can laugh at ourselves. Thanks for the chuckle.

  8. Sooooo funny, or is it?

  9. Absolutely gorgeous, Carol, from start to finish!

  10. Love this piece, Carol! The personal downsides of aging can be hard to take, but humor helps. Thanks for sharing!

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