Privilege Blog

What We Imagine And What We Must Sense, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:21am

I want to test an idea with you.

But first a brief digression for context.

1) My family of origin has the concept of “Carnochan science,” which means that we–probably mostly me– have been prone to positing frameworks for how the world (writ large) works, based on what we (writ small) see and feel. Like, what’s elegant must be right!

2) Given my previous post on videos of 100-year old people jumping out of planes, and then the post on memory, it feels as though in our community is interested in quirky perspectives on aging.

OK then.

On the one hand, experientially, getting older feels like pieces of my body waking up and deciding to have opinions. I won’t name the parts, fill in the blanks, readers’ choice.

On on the other hand, when my mind starts casting nets over the aging process, connecting impressions like constellations, trying to find or impose meaning, I imagine I’m just evaporating. If I have to choose one way to see all this, and it appears that I do, I envision water gradually, slowly, inevitably leaving my body. What was plump no longer yields, what sprang back sighs reluctantly as it returns, everything that used to slip by now catches, and stutters. My innards–cartilage, tendon, guts, blood, flesh, feel free to click away now–are grittier.

If I stop there, that’s pretty gross! Not fun! Yuck! as my mom would have said. But let’s keep going.

Because if I’m evaporating, it must be, in Carnochan science, that I am also becoming more porous. That those membranes, those gracious films that used to wrap me tightly are starting to admit air. Light, maybe. And, in turn, bits and pieces of me are already (joyously?) joining the larger universe.

That’s OK. That is what happens.

Also, I still have to wash so many pots and pans, almost every day. I wish I’d begun counting how many times I’ve scrubbed my small wok, bought when I was 22 and first living in Manhattan. It’s blackened, and since I didn’t use to be diligent, the edges are super bumpy with I do not even know how many old dinners. But they were good dinners. Probably tomorrow I’ll braise some box choy.

If imaginings make up my particular Carnochan science, the shiny ridges of our everyday fingertips are my religion. It’s inevitable.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. No need to get this weird.



4 Responses

  1. You have a very interesting perspective Lisa. I enjoyed reading it. As for myself, I have (mostly) enjoyed getting older. Many things that used to matter to me, just don’t matter at all any longer. I want time to slow down–daily!

  2. Susan, I agree. I only felt comfortable posting something like this exactly because I am older and I don’t care so much any more;). And I’ve liked getting older too, for the most part. To get time to slow down I just try to take moments to pay attention to what I’m doing, in the physical world. Time seems faster in cognition than in sense, to me.

  3. Aging is endlessly fascinating if you get to do it. I’m thunderstruck lately at how memories I was so sure of now seem more like apparitions of experiences than actual experiences. Like the porousness of which you speak permeated my brain, leaving more room for ideas and impressions from the past to swell with more dimension and more detail, which then necessitated some adjustments or revision. Great topic to explore!

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