Friday, September 21, 2007

300,000 mile checkup, Part Two

Aging sucks. I feel like a car that's running poorly and needs a complete rebuild from the chassis up.

I was thinking about this the other day as I went in for my annual birthday present to myself -- a facial, manicure, and pedicure at my favorite spa. There's all the buffing, the shaving, the waxing, the sluffing of dead skin, the plucking of stray hairs, and the polishing of various surfaces, not to mention maintaining the frame and pounding out the dents.

This is the kicker about aging, for women. There is So. Much. Maintenance. Seriously, if I were a car, I'd say I just had my transmission overhauled, fluids checked (see Part One), and tires rotated but I'm still kinda limping along the road getting passed by newer, sleeker models. What else can I do? I suppose I could get replacement parts, but then I'll look like an Impala with a set of Ford Mustang headlights that don't fit, so I'd have to get a new paint job probably, which would mean the body would have to be stripped down and refurbished, and it'd cost about as much as refacing the Empire State Building so it all sounds like too much money and time, considering I don't plan to change drivers.

It really brings to mind a fabulous old Chevy Impala straight out of American Graffiti. The problem is, no matter how well-maintained the car is, one look at it and you know it's old.

So I have decided to be a classic car. I will maintain the original parts, shine 'em up when they get dusty, and keep the interior clean. Fueled by a good lemon drop martini, of course.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

300,000 mile checkup, Part One

My bottle of Prozac is almost empty, so it must be time for my annual tune-up. There are times when I can objectively look at this old body and admire it for still running after this many miles with only a couple of replacement parts and a little touch-up paint, but the annual lube job, valve check, and tire rotation is almost more than I can bear.

The yearly pelvic exam is completely ludicrous. Where else would you actually pay money to take off your clothes in front of strangers, allow them to stick their body parts into your body parts and root around in your yaa looking for things (the Hope diamond? last night's leftover baked potato?) and then top it off by making you stick your boobs into some sort of stand-up waffle iron?

It's totally machine sex, only in reverse (if it was real sex, they'd start with the tits and then move to my yaa). I wonder if the exam was developed by men, back when 99% of doctors were male. The cute little peek-a-boo gown, the stirrups -- surely those had to be somebody's wonky fantasy items. Oh, and the part that makes our muscles twitch -- the speculum, that lovely tool that looks like a medieval shoehorn and feels like an industrial-weight flashlight.

The first time I had a pelvic the speculums were still made of metal, and fucking cold metal to boot -- they stuck that thing in my yaa and you could practically hear the gears turning as they cranked it open SKEEEK SKEEEK SKEEEKKKKKK and turned the overhead light on so brightly that I thought they might be guiding aliens to the landing spot for a tiny phallic spaceship. Gives new meaning to the term "landing strip" for those ladies who wax.

Strangely, it's the bright light that gets to me. Who needs to see anything that well? Those parts are designed to be seen in low light, candlelight actually -- otherwise you are exposing every mole, scar, stretch mark, ingrown hair, outgrown hair and pale knob of flab that flesh is heir to. Why don't they hand out burkas to wear, for God's sake? That may be the only time in the history of female life that it's appropriate to wear one. Sheesh, then at least your face is covered and nobody knows whose yaa looks like it's had a few late-night wrecks, or at least fender-benders.

I love it when they look up and say cheerfully "Your cervix looks great!" after taking the sample. "Really?" I think, through gritted teeth. How would you know? You just scraped a wad of flesh out of my yaa with a spork from Taco Bell! Yes, there was a dainty little Q-tip sitting on the instrument tray, but I've used Q-tips and they don't feel like floor waxers. My cervix might have looked great this morning fresh out of the shower, but now it probably looks like an old tomato with mold spots.

Then it's on to the waffle iron -- excuse me, the "mammogram." Heh heh, I'm a tiny bit testy after the yaa exam. You've all heard the comparisons about how mammograms feel -- open the refrigerator door and close it on your breast; lay down on your driveway and have someone back the car over your left boob, yadda yadda yadda. They're all true, but it's not as painful as I thought it would be. The worst part is that I really think my breasts droop more now that I've been having mammograms than they did before. You can only squish the Silly Putty for so long before it loses its shape.

So if you see a middle-aged woman leaving an office building with her hair disheveled, waddling slightly, and clutching her arms across her chest, she might have been having some rompy wild sex on top of her desk. But if she's just had her annual exam, she won't be smiling -- she'll be clutching her prescription for Prozac. Martini douche, anyone?