A little while ago a friend I haven’t heard from in yonks and yonks and yonks* tripped over Days in the Life. Just in time, I guess, to read my mention of my old A7 Kawasaki motorcycle simultaneously with being seized by a fit of clearing out old closets–the ones with the skeletons in them, obviously**. And he emailed me two photos. It has taken me ten days or so to get my head around these graphic emblems of the Paleolithic but it was obvious to me from the moment that my computer screamed INCOMING! PHOTO! that I was going to have to post these.
I apologise for the fact that I’m not wearing the matching leather trousers, but that is the Harley jacket–which is in fact still upstairs in the attic.† And the glasses mean that I’m only about twenty. Twenty. Jes–no, this is a family blog. Crumbs, then. Crumbs. Twenty. It’s hard to believe I was ever that young.†† But my eyes had deteriorated to the legally-blind-in-some-states stage which was making me nervous, and the rumour was that contact lenses would halt the malign degression and possibly even reverse it slightly. So I bought contact lenses. And then could not get along with them, anyhow, nohow.††† But glory did they cost‡ and their existence haunted me, especially when I went back to college and went from having no money to having no money and owing the college thousands and thousands of dollars‡‡. So I got the contacts out again and said I Am Going to Learn to Wear You, and I did.‡‡‡ But I graduated when I was 22 and I’d been in contacts at least a year by then.
Scary, huh? Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about my first motorcycle accident. No, I am not going to show you my scars.
* * *
* Barring a ‘happy birthday’^ to the then-recently-live web site, which was a bit like . . . hearing The Motorcycle Song on the radio for the first time in a quarter century. Your Past Is Still Out There. It’s one of the drawbacks of getting old, having more past. Of course it’s also one of the advantages. Very confusing thing, life.
^ Fancy remembering the birthday of someone you knew decades ago. Ah well. He got an 800 on his maths SAT. I got a 12.
** Everybody had a motorcycle in those days. We were all Arlo fans. We were also all poor. Something with a roof and a passenger seat suitable for your mother was well out of our price range.
† It too has got old. Like Arlo and me.
†† Standard protest here: Thank the gods it’s over. I mean it though. Not everyone does.
††† This is a bit of a saga in itself. This was back in hard-lens days, so adjusting to them took a while. I didn’t adjust. Went back, they said, oh, that’s because you’re a girl. Girls take longer. So I went away again. I still didn’t adjust. I went back. They said oh, that’s because you’re very fair-skinned. Fair skinned people take longer. I went away again. I didn’t adjust again. Next time they said it was because I had hay fever. Then because I had lots of other allergies. Then because I was on The Pill^. Then it was because I was living in Washington DC at the time, where the smog is so dense with particulate matter that you can hear it clattering against your motorcycle, and this is very irritating to sensitive eyes. I think there were one or two other excuses^^ but I’ve forgotten. I gave up, and went back to my (increasingly scratched and beat up) glasses.
^ Do they still call it The Pill? I was in that first generation of girls for whom it was already there when we needed it. There was a little fuss and bother about the ‘parental permission’ thing but I solved that by dropping out of school and running away.
^^ None of which they had seen fit to mention before I got out my checkbook.
‡ See: poor
‡‡ For patronising the stuffing out of me because I was a girl. I was a transfer student, but I was a member of the first graduating class that included women who had been there for all four years, so we were still a novelty. Some bits of Bowdoin kicked and screamed more about the addition of women to the student population than other bits. The English Department was pretty kicky and screamy. But I digress.
‡‡‡ But I was living in Maine. So maybe it was the smog.
Thirty years later my eyes said, Okay, bored now . . . and I’m back in glasses. It was nice while it lasted. And in truth I only really miss my contacts when I’m out in the rain with my hands full of horse or hellhounds.
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