Recently, I was riding in a friend’s car, and she said how, since her car has a back-up camera, she never used her rear view mirror. The camera worked just fine showing her who’s behind her, making the mirror superfluous.
Let me explain: I hate the rear view mirror. In my car, in your car, in any car. Oh, I know it’s necessary–my parallel parking skills alone justify its inclusion in every car worldwide–but those little mirrors are evil.
Just last week, I got into my car to go work, and I noticed, in the aforementioned mirror, how nicely my hair was glinting in the light. Part of my hair was even sparkly. I smiled, and even said to myself something like, wow, my hair looks good, those highlights were a smart choice. I made a mental note to head to Costco and stock up on more of those industrial size Pantene shampoo bottles. Then, I leaned in closer–I wanted to get a better look at that sparkle–and saw with horror that the glint I was so happy about was actually a big ‘ol gray hair (or two). Ahhhh! We can discuss my delusion at thinking a) I was (mostly) gray free and b) my hair would “sparkle” in the cold, grey New England winter light another time. For today, agree with me that it was a cruel and unfair moment. I didn’t need to see that gray. Sometimes, after all, ignorance is better.
Then, there was the day I got into the car, looked into the rear view mirror to make sure I was all clear to drive and saw new wrinkles. New, scary, hello 40 wrinkles. The kind of wrinkles that tell you to go put on a ski mask and go back to bed.
Or, the time, I got an oh-so-terrifying view of my neck in the rear view mirror (though I am still unclear how I did this). It was my Nora Ephron I Feel Bad About My Neck moment. In that book, she wrote, “Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn’t have to if it had a neck.” She was right, of course, and it made me ponder the merits of plastic surgery.
Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve discovered gray, wrinkles, or looked at my neck. (Pause for a moment as I shudder.) But it’s the first time I have concluded that this mirror–an instrument of safety–is actually a tool of evil and despair. I want to age gracefully–not cruelly and not first thing in the morning before the caffeine hits and I am fortified against the day.
How to handle this? Other than buying even more moisturizing products with differing assurances they will fight those wrinkles and going even more frequently for highlights to “preserve” the hair color I was born with (or some variation of it), my answer very well may be to car shop. Get a vehicle with a back-up camera like my friend and never look in that rear view mirror again. Expensive, yes, but easier than plastic surgery. And, much easier than accepting the downsides of aging.