Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Young at Heart, or In Search of an Optical Illusion

by Stephanie Black

To my delight and relief, I finally found something to wear to my upcoming high school reunion. Finding a dressy outfit is a quest the likes of which would daunt Indiana Jones's sister. Most available options are either immodest or ugly. There are the matronly mother-of-the-bride-type dresses, the sleeveless dresses, the shorty dresses, and (very popular this year) the brightly patterned knit dresses that look darling on slim teenagers but which cling to me in all the wrong places. Of course, if I wore a clingy, high-waisted dress, at least it would be a good conversation starter, as in “Congratulations! When are you due?” I'm not pregnant, by the way.

Finding an outfit I felt good in was a Big Deal to me because there's something about a high school reunion that brings out my . . . um . . . I tried to come up with a better word than “vanity”, but the only word that came to mind was “pride”, which I'm not sure is an improvement. Not that I've ever had much to be vain about, but the prospect of going to see people I haven't seen since I was a teenager makes me want to try to look better than I really do. I thought of trying to lose weight, but have decided instead to pin my hopes on dim lighting and an epidemic of bad eyesight among my classmates. (Actually, I am exercising regularly, but I don't expect miracles before the reunion).

Speaking of not-so-athletic bodies and exercise, we tried out a new activity at the beach this Labor Day-skimboarding. This is how it works: as the waves rush out, you wait until only a thin layer of water remains, then throw the board down, hop on and glide across the sand. It took my eleven-year-old son only a little while to get the hang of it, and soon he was making it look easy. Maybe it is easy if you're a lithe eleven-year-old with the body fat of a string bean. He tried to teach me how to do it, and I probably could have sold tickets to what must have resembled a Three Stooges routine, minus two Stooges. It's just as well that I never got the board moving much, because if I had, I probably would have splinched myself, with one leg going with the board while the other stayed behind. Oh well. Maybe I'll try again next time, depending on how much I value my dignity, which apparently isn't much, seeing as how the boogie boarding turned out somewhat comical too. I kept getting tossed around by big waves that were breaking too late to ride but too early for me to go over the top of them to wait for the next one. That's the most thrashed I've ever gotten boogie boarding. I'm going to be digging sand out of my ear canals for a month.

Funny how the older you get, the less your body bounces back. I remember when my sister and I used to amuse ourselves by rolling down a grassy hill at the annual extended family reunion picnic. Blech. Just the thought makes me queasy. It's not just that I'm a wimp, though I am. Young bodies are much more resilient. When I went to get my wisdom teeth removed at the ripe old age of 29, the oral surgeon remarked, “If you'd come to me when you were 16, this would have been a lot easier.”

It's funny too how we adults have to force ourselves onto exercise machines and into gyms to get our bodies in motion, whereas little kids-you can't stop them from moving. For instance: we all went to Barnes and Noble for the midnight Harry Potter 7 party. The magic hour arrived, and we were standing around waiting dully for our books. My eight-year-old niece, in contrast, was completely wired. “Let's play charades!” she suggested. No takers. “Mom, run in circles with me!” she said. Run in circles? Why? Is there chocolate or money involved? How often have we as adults wanted to run in circles just for the joy of moving? Hmm, maybe I should try that. If I tried it often enough, people would think I was nuts, but I'll bet I could wear that knit dress . . .


At 9/05/2007 10:27 PM, Anonymous Jennie said...

Stephanie, I've seen you. You'd look better in that knit dress than most teenagers I know. You're definitely not a member of the couch potato set and unlike too many teenagers you don't live on cokes and fries. With all the activities you're involved in, I'll bet you'd do just fine running in circles. And you'll knock 'em dead at your reunion. Have fun!

At 9/05/2007 10:32 PM, Blogger Josi said...

You know what keeps me from rolling down hills? other than that whole dignity part--Dog Poop. I didn't think about it when I was ten, but now I eye that grass and imagine pulling dried poo particles out of my hair. Ignorance was bliss.

Good luck with the reunion--I will never ever ever in a million years go to one of my own. But I'd love to put a book poster in the hallway . . .

At 9/06/2007 1:19 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Jennie, you absolutely made my day! The bad news is that I've gained a pound or two . . . or more than two . . . since you last saw me. Hopefully I can lose it before we meet again!

Josi, yikes, that's definitely a terrific reason not to roll in the grass!

At 9/09/2007 1:53 AM, Blogger Janette Rallison said...

There's nothing that takes off weight faster than an upcoming high school reunion--talk about motivation. I swear, I'm only the right weight every ten years. Anyway, I totally understand the dress shopping. I have so been there!

At 6/29/2009 4:14 AM, Anonymous Optical Illusion said...

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