When you are forty, half of you belongs to the past

Yesterday, the bike and I got to Chicago Avenue, and rather than ride around the extra half-mile, to the underpass with a ramp and back up to my office, I carried the bike down the stairs to cross under the Drive.  I’m short; I’m in 3-inch heels; the pannier unbalanced the bike. Basically, I can carry the bike up and down the stairs without falling, or dropping it, or wheezing like the little engine that could, but apparently I don’t look like I can.

I get offers of help, often, or people explaining the ramp to me (remember, I’m short–the geometry of the ramp is awkward). Usually I wave it off.

This morning, a nice young man, on a racer, all spandex and youth, zipped past me, climbed the stairs and bounded back down before I had even picked Linus up again. So I thanked him and let him carry my bike up the stairs, whereupon he zipped off down Chicago and I crossed the street to lock up.

15 years ago, I would have assumed he thought I was cute and he was being appealing. Now I realize I probably reminded him of his mom and he was being polite.

“All women are aware of that moment when suddenly the boys don’t look at you. . . .It’s a fairly common thing, when suddenly you no longer attract that instant male attention because of the way you look. I never really knew how to enjoy beauty, but it took the form of a subconscious arrogance, expecting things, all muddled up with celebrity. Then you begin to deal with it,” So says Julie Christie, anyway. I tend to agree; despite never having been a famous, beautiful celebrity like Julie Christie, I certainly had the subconscious arrogance of youth and the beauty that is in it.

I wouldn’t trade my life at 40 for my life at 25, or even 35, even if it means reminding people of their moms.

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