Knowing what I wanted to draw your attention to, I asked my inner voice for a title and the one you see popped up. Hopefully, we shall all know what it means by the time I get to the end of this essay. What I had in mind was some sort of inversion of what was to what is. Example: You will have noticed that womens' underpants are fuller in the back than in the front. (This may well be true of mens', too, for all I know, but I am excused ironing duty on underpants so haven't had the same opportunities to assess the situation). I have always understood that this is to accommodate the greater girth of the human sit-upon as opposed to the curve of the part the cat sits upon. Well, Dear Reader, prepare for a shock: when, inadvertantly, I put said garment on back to front, it fitted. I shall spell it out in case shock has stilled your visualisation faculty: my front tummy is now bigger than my back bottom. There was a touch of what I can only call 'rue' in my laugh as I struggled to right the situation, going through the pantomime, again, on my feet struggling to lift a foot ,bend my knee and so on and so on to get the damn things on the right way round. I could, of course, have sat down somewhere, but this seems such an elderly approach and a definite giving in.
I had a similar experience with my hair. My hair is cut by an expert whom I have come to trust and depend upon. Each time I go the fact that I can't afford him is washed down the sink by the concomitant fact that old age is intrinsically a visual challenge as it is, so the cut of one's hair becomes of crucial importance. (That's what I tell the accountant, anyway). Along with the Guru, the haircutter is always trying to drag me in to the here and now. Why don't I dye it blonde? It's muddy brown/grey. Why don't I have it spiky? It's flat and droopy. The tension between mutton -dressed -as -lamb, as my Mother and her friends would say when really gunning for some unfortunate over-kill acquaintance, and dragged- through -a -hedge- backwards is not easily resolved, in my experience. Anyway, through a mixture of skill, scissors and sorcery, my hair emerges wildly fashionable and effectively tumbled one month's mortgage after each visit. Then I wash it myself. The result: cut by a madwoman with pinking shears in the dead of night with her eyes closed.
But my age group is not the only one given to inversion. I was walking through the flag-ship store of an extremely well-known British retail company the other day. I like looking at babies and little people. I am fascinated, watching them trying to make sense of the world. A Mother was bending over the end of the push chair - buggy, for kind readers over the pond - of one about nine or ten months old. She was pushing a fat little foot in to a leather slipper, trying it for size, I assumed. This was not easy because the companion shoe was attached to the one she was trying. Not much room for manoeuvre. I looked to see how Cinderella was coping with this. Peacefully: she had one of a similar pair in her mouth and was happily chewing on it. This life-long professional interferer was instantly charged with what to do. Draw the Mother's attention? Tell a member of staff? Call a Medic? Do nothing. The vignette was complete. The Mother had undisturbed time to try the sizes, the child was content, the second pair of shoes was ruined and I had relinquished the kind of intervention that had been automatic, normal to my ageless inner self.
I have just registered that hourglass refers, primarily, to one's figure. See above for how that would apply to me. Bora Da (A.V., thank you!)