There is a car at school that absolutely fascinates me. It is a typical white Honda minivan driven by a fellow neighborhood mom. It has all the wear and tear of a minivan, like my own, that’s been driven thousands of miles. But this car has an interesting and unusual feature. It has eyelashes. Yes, that’s right. Attached to the front headlights are very large, long, luscious, curled black eyelashes.
Now, this outlandish car decor would normally drive me crazy. As I have gotten older, I have developed a disorder that I have called “Road Hate.” As soon as I get behind the wheel of my car, I immediately hate everyone and everything on the road with me. Everyone is either driving way too slow, or way too fast. People are either too risky when they drive (look before you change lanes you asshole!) or not daring enough (could you just go already??!!) While I’m sitting at a light looking at my phone, I am instantly mad at the person next to me who is doing the exact same thing. I want to roll down my window and shout, “Stop texting and driving!” but I can’t, because I am reading a funny quote on Facebook.
And then there are the cars themselves. Between the clever billboards and all of the political signs along the road, don’t we have enough distractions? Do I have to read your bumper sticker and get all fired up and angry because you say that “life begins at conception?” I’m very emotional, people. Anything can set me off. Please just remove the campaign stickers from the last few decades. Unfortunately, driving around with a Gore/Lieberman sticker is not going to make it happen.
I’m just way too analytical to handle these tiny car signs. If I see one that says “Jesus Loves You”-I wonder if that’s really true. Then I try to remember the story of Jesus and who betrayed him, and then suddenly I’m driving the wrong way down a one-way street. If the car in front of me has stick figure stickers to represent the members of the family, I find myself trying to figure out if we have the same familial makeup. “Hey there! I have two boys and a girl too! But is your girl in the middle? Mine is!” But if the children in those stickers are wearing little sports outfits, I am back to being annoyed.
I’m all for religious freedom, but the rooftop reindeer ears during the holidays is really pushing it. Should we discuss the Christmas lights on the cars? It’s bad enough that my little Jewish children feel bad that they don’t have a Christmas tree and lights at home. Shouldn’t we at least get a little reprieve from holiday cheer while we are on the expressway?
I have a lot of trouble focusing lately, especially when I drive. All it takes is one great Run DMC song to suddenly come on the radio (that I still know all the words to) and suddenly, I have no idea where I am. I really just need to reach my destination without forgetting where I’m going or why I’m going there.
As I approach my 44th birthday, I reflect on the many ways life has changed for me in the last year. But then I realize that no, nothing has really changed this year, except for my face. Like an old house that is getting older, I am starting to show the wear and tear of my 43 years. I can try and trim the bushes or update my appliances, but the reality is that anyone walking by knows that I’m not the new kid on the block.
And so, like any house that may go on the market one day, (or one that is simply up for refinancing), it’s time to paint the outside and fix the roof.
I spent the past year figuring out how to add more “curb appeal” to myself. I studied women over 40 who, in society’s opinion, look “good.” And after a full analysis, I have come to the conclusion that it’s all about how we look from the neck up.
In my 365 days of concentrated analysis, I realized that the ladies of “The View” generally stay seated behind a large table. This is because they want us to immediately notice their hair and makeup. If it all looks neat and tidy- we are totally impressed. “Look how great Joy Behar looks today!” we exclaim, merely because she has on nice earrings that go perfectly with her hair. I don’t know if Barbara Walters generally wears pants or skirts, but I know that she always has on a lovely necklace and a crisp blouse. I have determined that Elizabeth Hasselbeck left “Fox News” not to take care of her family, as she claimed, but because they made her sit on a couch.
All of this is great news for my husband, because I have determined that I don’t really need new clothes. What I really need is new makeup. And nicer hair. And also darker roots so that no one sees the grey.
I don’t really need to pay for a gym membership. I do, however, need a membership to a place that will rub my face weekly with lotions and oils and who will pluck all of my unwanted facial hairs and who will rejuvenate my skin with the blood of a virgin baby owl. I don’t really need new shoes, but I do need my eyes to look less tired and my teeth to look less covered in coffee stains.
Lately, when I make my grand entrance into a room full of strangers, I have realized that there is no one looking me up and down anymore. I assume they figure that the trip down will basically include some mom jeans and a pair of supportive shoes. So they just keep looking up.
Maybe that’s the reason why this fellow mom has attached those eyelashes to the front of her van. Perhaps she feels that if she gussies up the first thing that people see when she pulls into the school pickup line, no one will realize that she’s dragging an old, beat-up minivan behind it.
So maybe thats why it doesn’t annoy me. Unlike the Santa nose on the hood, it’s something that I can totally relate to.