Friday, May 12, 2006


I got a whiff of old-lady perfume (Emeraude? Coty?) when I just went downstairs in my office building to take care of something (okay, I'll admit it: the ladies room on the 4th floor is nicer than ours, which resembles the ground floor girls' room adjacent to the Library at Christ the King Elementary, circa 1981). See, they run these classes for retirees here at Northwestern; it used to be called something officious-sounding like "The Institute for Learning in Retirement," and now has a new moniker (which I can't remember) because some foundation or another gave them like a bazillion-dollar donation. You know, naming rights. These seniors bustle and inch around the building mornings to attend classes like "Great Short Stories," "History's Famous Trials," or discussions of the New Yorker or New York Times.

There must have been a break from "The Wisdom of the Human Body" class today as I turned the corner on the 4th floor and spied her. I swear I saw myself in about thirty-five years. Funky--but not weird, as in a weird cat-loving Evanston Art Lady way--necklace of stones or shells, short (yeah, I know I'm gonna shrink), a sort of contemporary coif of thick hair colored a resonant brown, not old-lady purply-brown. She was stylish but not trying too hard--she hadn't succumbed to the seemingly requisite uniform of crocheted vests and beige SAS walking shoes.

She had her hand on her hip, was talking sort of loudly and pointing and basically telling her companion (whom I didn't notice at all, so struck by my doppelganger, I was) something about "then the girl at the desk said I couldn't do that," in, you know, a real know-it-all way like Lucy Van Pelt. Or me.

I didn't linger or stare, but walked away, thinking:

God, please let me still have that much hair in thirty years.

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