Saturday 26 March 2011


Now there's a challenge: reality. The word affords as much clarification as averring that one man's meat is another man's poison. What is reality to me can easily be fantasy to everyone else. However, what I'd like to put to you, as we speak, is the kind of reality that, for instance, sees itself in the mirror. Yes, I do realise that I have touched on this subject in various guises before and even before, (see below, I say), but, when your inner world and your outer world are vulnerable to a confusion of generations, it has to be useful to examine it, again, from time to time, don't you think? Anyway, pursuant to a delicious lunch which had had a certain measure of spinach and other green goodies, I went to clean my teeth. There ensued a debate you will be familiar with - the females amongst you, that is - whether to do a thorough job and disturb the makeup around mouth and chin, or whether just to pass the brush gingerly across the teeth, doing the minimum to remove the debris and preserving the status quo ante of the paint work. It was at this point, gazing in to the mirror, that I noticed my gums. The metaphor for age that calls it 'long in the tooth' is wrong. One is actually 'short in the gum'.

Last night, I was invited to dinner. I enjoy the experience of dressing up and putting one's best dress forward. There were seven of us. The sum total of the age of the others just about added up to my age. Well, I exaggerate, but not by much. Among the group was a young man whose profession I won't divulge. You would recognise his characteristics instantly if I were to and then there would be no point in my going on. Suffice it to say that, having been introduced to me, his eyes swept over me and his back swivelled towards me. Written on a sign across him were the words:" No interest there. Old lady, must be her (hostess) Mother. Not worth my bother." Now, there is another reality. The old are invisible. The young specimen of whom I write, though, was something of a cliche, himself. His arrogance manifest in trick questions. You know what I mean. He asked questions to which he thought only he knew the answer and the rest of us were left, in failing, thus to reaffirm his superiority. Dear Reader, I won. Only once, but I did. He asked if anyone knew where the headquarters of a certain car manufacturer could be found. I knew and named the place. He actually had the gall to turn round and look at me properly for the first time. With surprise, Dear Reader, with surprise, he agreed I really did know of which I spoke. I didn't know whether to be more annoyed by the surprise or by the blatant writing of me off. It was, in the end, too funny to be annoyed at all. Reality is reality. I am old and invisible. He is young and obnoxious.

The other day I went shopping with someone dear to me who happens to be stunningly beautiful. Whatever she tried on looked amazing on her. However, there was one hitch in the smooth running of the outing. She has made up her mind what size she is. Irrespective of variations of model and make, she knows, intractably, what size she is. Good, makes everyone's life easier. But does it? Let us suppose she has decided she is a size 12. What happens when size 12 Jaegar turns out to measure the same as size 14 Marks and Spencer? I tell you what happens. She walks away. She doesn't wear size 14. " So what?" you may ask. Well, she may well miss an item that would have enhanced her appearance even more, she leaves baffled and confused salespeople in a little trail behind her and she leaves me facing, anew, the question of reality and when is a 12 just a 14 in another language. As I have said, this lady is beautiful. There is a strange phenomenon of which you will be aware. In the mirror our faces are distorted. We never do see ourselves as others see us, unless in a complex arrangement of several mirrors. (I speak here of the physical. The statement is too often true of the character,too). So, it seems I have talked myself out of my starting premise: it is not reality which is found in the mirror, it is only the remains of a good lunch. Prynhawn da.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Liz,

Actually, I sympathise with your friend and I am surprised that you are surprised that she should act in this way. Do we not all see ourselves how we would like to be, whether it is a question of size or age or intelligence? Reality simply will not do!
Keep blogging, please, because although I did not share your point of view in the last one, it did make me laugh so much I nearly fell off my chair!