I thought you were dead!

It’s funny how the expressions you hear change when you see someone you haven’t seen for a long time.

Things shift from “You look great!” (even voice) to “you look GREAT!” (surprised voice) to “you look …great!” (artificially bright voice). It’s all in the diphthongs, which, contrary to popular belief are not how you describe those underwear you wear when they are trapped in an uncomfortable place. Although those can cause upward diphthongs, true.

There’s the query shift from “How’s work?” to “Still working?” to “STILL working????”, and “When’s the wedding?” to “Still married?” to “Still married, eh.”

There’s “How are the kids?” to “The kids at school yet?” to “Got grandkids yet?” to “How are the grandkids?”

My hair went grey when I was in my late 30s. Once I took my wee group of kids (youngest was 4) to church and was invited to join the line dancing group. I explained I couldn’t line dance. The sweet woman said, “Oh, that’s no problem – all you have to do is be over 50 and you’re welcome!”

I blame the hair care industry and the fact that women colour their hair until they are 107 and shrivelled into husks. People seem to assume that I, even with my young face and unshrivelled body (alas), am a centenarian just because I don’t dye my hair. Somehow, naturally grey hair is wrong, while ¬†glaringly brassy red hair or gothic black hair is fine after fifty.

I met a long missed auntie once and she told me flat-out she wasn’t going to tell anyone she’d seen me with my hair “all grey like that.” I loved her. Outspoken, yes. Tactful, not so much.

But you know life is starting to get grim when someone says “Wow! I thought you were dead!” like the person I overheard in the coffee shop the other day. To a sixty-ish-looking guy…

I haven’t heard that one, but with my lack of communication with folks as I try to rope myself into my novel and writing, I feel sure I’ll hear it, soon.

Provided someone sees me. I think I’ll just hide for a few years yet.


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