A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Nerds


1963 Pentax – I still have my dad’s.

Today, I went to have my medicare card photo taken.  Again.  I lost the first set and then spent the last two weeks looking for them.  Given that my application was due two weeks ago, I had no choice but to get new ones.  Government photos always look like shit.  For one, you’re not allowed to smile or have any expression on your face.  If you’re over 40, this means that you can’t disguise any lines or sagging by lifting that mess up with a smile.

The girl who took my photo was a sweet young thing – maybe 22.  I said, “try to work some magic with that camera, set it to the brightest flash, if it has special effects, select ‘soft focus’… because this picture is going to follow me for 5 years and I’m not going to get any better looking with time.”  She laughed, as all young girls, completely oblivious to the ravages of time, do.  Unfortunately, it was a standard camera, designed specifically for government mugshots – no fancy effects, no levels of brightness.  And because I had to take my glasses off, I have indentations on the side of my nose and look like a nerd whose glasses just got stomped on by the school bully.  Harumph.  I suppose it could be worse, though.  When the fella was taking my passport photo two years ago, he told me not to blink, to hold it, holllllld it… but I had been trying so hard not to blink that, by the time he finally clicked the button,  my eyes were ready to tear up and I looked like a deer with headlights in its eyes.

deer in headlights

A reasonable facsimile of my passport photo, minus the horns.

My next stop was to look for some inexpensive yoga/sports pants with thick enough fabric to hide bumps and lumps on my kiester.  (I normally shop online because I hate shopping, but with the Canadian dollar doing so poorly, it’s just too expensive to buy from the States anymore.)  Now don’t get all impressed or anything – I’m not one of those lithe, flexible gals who work on their core and muscle strength and bend like pretzels in an actual yoga class.  Nope.  Neither am I a jogger – I think the only time you should be jogging is if someone behind you  is wielding a knife.   The only consistent exercise I get is my Belly Dance Workout class on Fridays – which has the added bonus of giving my muffin top a purpose – a raison d’etre, if you will.  Despite the skinny bitch in the class who moves like she’s at a rave*, thereby annoying the shit out of me, the class is a lot of fun and very relaxing.  (*: Am I the only one who looks at people when they dance and  imagines what they must be like in the sack?  Because if I were a dude, I’d be calling 911 if I got busy with that girl – I’d be thinking she was having a seizure or something.  It really is THAT bad.)   Anyway, my old pants are in bad shape and are at risk of falling off of me while I shimmy.


Fairly accurate visual description.

At this point, I should probably point out that I have my period, so crotchety comments should be taken with a grain of salt… or Midol.  I just feel that this is the only time of the month when I can really release my inner bitch and feel somehow justified because Mother Nature is mercilessly cursing my reproductive organs with unnecessary pain.   We should stop getting periods when we’re no longer ‘viable’ as temporary housing units for fetuses, regardless of menopause.   My uterus is like a slum housing tenement in Detroit; nobody wants to live there, very few want to even visit, so just tear the whole thing down already.   But I digress… back to shopping for yoga pants….


My next boyfriend? A girl can only dream….

I walked into a store and headed for the sporty-type pants, miraculously avoiding both salesgirls.  I found two pairs that I thought ‘might’ be okay and headed for the changing room.  BIG mistake.  If ever you want to beat your self-confidence to a pulp in 10 seconds or less, all you have to do is pull your pants down in the changing room of a store.  I don’t know if it’s the lighting or the mirror or a combination of both, but I was almost stunned at what I saw.  I stood there looking at myself from all angles like someone looking at the hideously disfigured victim of a traffic accident… you know you should stop, but you just can’t.    I decided then and there that, from now on, if I were to date again, I could only,  WOULD only, date men who had some form of retinal damage.   They need to be wearing glasses.  With a strong prescription lens.  The pants fit weirdly and had that awful way of riding right up your rump – nobody, and I mean nobody, needs to see that.  Not even on a skinny girl.  It’s just not right.


Check out the beautiful grain!  Bet it smells really nice, too.

And so I left with my self-image in tatters and two hideous medicare card photos, and headed to the closest place I could feel comfortable – the hardware store.  (My comfy retailers are hardware and art supply stores.  I used to like bookstores, but the only English one left downtown is too bright, open, and impersonal for me. )  Okay, so it’s not a ‘real’ hardware store – they don’t sell cinder blocks and lumber; more like toasters and paint and cleaning supplies and even socks.   I love the lumber section at the real ones, though- because the wood smells so nice.  Inevitably, some guy with a measuring tape hooked on his belt asks me if I’m looking for a particular wood, and I just say, no, I just like the smell of the wood… and he leaves, shaking his head.

And then I headed back to the metro – an environment where I avoid making eye contact with anyone because I invariably draw in some weirdo who reeks of urine, alcohol, and wet cigarette butts.  When that happens, I often wonder, ‘how bad do I look, that a dirty, smelly guy thinks he has a shot with me? Do I give off THAT kind of vibe?  The kind that says: I’m into cuddling men who smell like week old urine excreted from a seriously diseased bladder?’  It’s a little depressing.    I once had this old homeless man propose to me when I was using an ATM at a bank.   He was with two other guys, on the floor, marinated in booze; but they seemed jovial.   I turned to him, looked hurt and said,”you only want to marry me for my money!”  We all had a good laugh.  I wonder if those guys are still alive today… and if anyone ever accepted his proposal.

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