I knew when a man dropped a suitcase on my head that my 50s were going to usher in some significant changes. I was on a flight home from Atlanta and was struggling to get my carry-on bag in the overhead bin. Although I did not expect any help, a silver-haired man to my right who was a foot taller than me reached up to assist me. I smiled at him and fell in love with people all over again.
Before my suitcase was completely in the bin, I heard a slightly Swedish voice say, “Could you please help me with my bag?” I caught the sight of long blond hair and perky breasts and knew I was screwed. But I didn’t expect for the man to simply release my bag before it was secured.
I ducked as the suitcase dropped onto my head like an anvil in the Road Runner cartoons. The man never even noticed or apologized. I wanted to say, “Hey, buddy, you jammed my neck and I’m already losing height!” But he was too busy looking for another way to help the blond bombshell. I’m pretty sure he offered to wash her car once they landed.
Some of my female friends had warned me that when they hit their 50s, a cloak of invisibility descended upon them and men began to stare through them. I refused to believe them. I mentioned women like Raquel Welch and Sophia Loren in my defense. Then I looked in a mirror and realized that I didn’t look like Raquel or Sophia even when I peaked at 17. This could be it.
The next day I had a glass door slammed on me by a man who was going into WalMart and failed to notice me. And I even had on my push-up bra. It was at that moment I tried to decide — Would I use this superhero power of invisibility for good or evil? Would I accept the fact that I was edging closer to my attraction expiration date?
Then I realized that the food with close expiration dates gets moved to the front of the refrigerated section. Perhaps it’s my time to be moved forward and become a superhero, one who is propelled by new wisdom and a self-acceptance that borders on blindness. After all, I survived eighth grade with bicuspid fangs and bright red acne, and that was accompanied by the body odor and ignorance that eighth grade offers.
I have decided to be a little less plastic and a little more Georgia O’Keeffe, proud of my spirit and in love with my laughter. If laughter causes some lip wrinkles and laugh lines that create invisibility with some of the opposite sex, then so be it. My husband finds me beautiful. He told me that just the other night, though it was hard to hear him because his head was turned toward the television as he watched a Jennifer Aniston interview.