The Loh Life

Menopalooza, Part One: Purple Haze

Sandra Tsing Loh deals with getting older.

I’m trying to hold it together, but I'm not succeeding.

The other week, I turned the coffee machine on without inserting the coffee pot. Later that day, my children would watch me, fascinated, as I kept swiping my fingers futilely over the screen of the Kindle. “It works with buttons!” they cried out, barely suppressing their laughter. “What?” I said, looking up in bewilderment. Then, the microwave went off, but when I got there I realized the chime was actually an incoming text on my I-Phone, which - of course - I had to hand to my kids to read because I’m blind without my glasses, which were on top of my head. No wonder when I was standing later in Fresh ‘n’ Easy, I turned to my 11 year old and said, “Fruit! I have no idea what fruit to buy! It’s all too complicated!” Strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, plums—who can decide? I solved it by buying a melon that I have absolutely no plans to cut up. I placed it in that special drawer in my fridge we call the Produce Museum.

Part of the problem is, of course, that I am 50 and might SAY I were menopausal if I was actually keeping track of my cycles. I may have written them down, but to be honest there is a fair amount of paperwork on my dashboard that, while hurtling westward on the 101, flew out the window. My friend Carol is sympathetic. The other day, she said it took her two hours to recall the word “refurbish.” “I kept saying, oh you should see what our neighbor is doing with his home! He is— His furniture— It’s old— It’s, you know, OLD. . . furniture? And—?” Two hours later, she screams out at the hair salon, “REFURBISH!”

So sure, it’s that time of life, further complicated by my having to juggle sandwich generation responsibilities of having both a 91 year old dad and two tween girls. But, modern life itself doesn’t always MAKE that much sense. Recently, I saw a nice wooden file cabinet at Office Depot that was on sale for 120 dollars. Great! Then, in slow motion, I watched a jumpsuited Office Depot employee wheel A LONG FLAT BOX to my car. That’s right—this was a SELF-ASSEMBLED piece that involved, I kid you not, 224 individual screws, a 23-page booklet, and three ma-a-ajor typos. . . The type of schematic ERRORS you can only unravel via three-D modeling in your head combined with silent retreat and prayer. It took — no kidding — just under seven hours. For a 120 dollar file cabinet. That lists a bit to the left. But oh the money I saved!

Next week: The Haze Thickens.


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