Yesterday millions of people watched the solar eclipse and I was one of them. I was able to get eclipse glasses on Saturday which was a miracle in itself. Joining the eclipse fervor was a decision I made reluctantly. No big deal right? After all Colorado was at 95% coverage and not a total eclipse. After deciding it was indeed a big deal for me, I had to fit viewing the eclipse into my work schedule. As part of my job I go to Senior Housing Apartments monthly to do blood pressure checks so I decided to take a look before I went inside. It was 11 o’clock and the sun was about 1/3 covered. I was excited, this was real, not “fake news”. Apparently Mother Earth, our solar system and the Universe deal in Truth.
Edna was waiting for me, as usual. She knows the day I am coming and has only missed once in the year I have been doing the checks. Ironically she was in the hospital due to issues with high blood pressure! I make sure I do an accurate reading because I know how important it is to Edna’s health. I let her know that I had eclipse glasses and asked if she would like to take a look and her face lit up. So we went outside to see what the eclipse looked like, she was amazed that she could really see the sun being covered by the moon. It was better than T.V. she thought. As each of my regulars showed up for their blood pressure readings we took a trip outside and I shared my glasses so we both could see the eclipse. Soon we had quite the crowd! Another pair of glasses and a welders mask were shared by residents joining us, and the postman did the pinhole viewing. A home health care worker, the director of the building and the pop delivery guy borrowed glasses to take a look. The “old”ladies, me and assorted visitors got to witness a force much greater than us and there was a quiet reverence.
And then it was over and the group disbanded and it was back to normal. I’d like to think that I helped fellow humans to feel awe. There was a bit of doubt as everyone took their turn with the glasses , but all saw the eclipse as it happened and no one was disappointed. Most of us were pretty sure that we would not be alive to see the next eclipse, so we did not intend to miss this one. And we didn’t.
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore…..
Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain…
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible. Helen Reddy and Ray Burton, 1972
Powerful words, but soon these words were used as a putdown; as in a man deriding a woman who was trying to stand up for herself “Oh look, I am woman hear me roar, ha ha.” I believe that women have not made much progress since the bra burning and the non-ratification of the ERA in the mid 1970’s. “ You’ve come a long way baby…”—not so much. For example “baby”, can you imagine a man as “baby”? Babies need to be taken care of and are dependent, men are definitely not these things. Why was the woman who brought home the bacon always the one who fried it in a pan? And still a WOMAN? I don’t like bacon, unless it has chocolate on it!
Fast forward to 2017…. Half of Congress are women and half of all CEOs are women, right? Nope! Recently, 13 Senators sat in a room to hammer out a thrice failed “better” health plan and not one was a female, now that’s representation! No health care without representation, we could all have a huge tea party in Congress.
I had coffee with a friend today, we were talking about health issues during her pregnancy and she told me she had an incompetent cervix. I said “Whaaaat? Incompetent cervix?” Without minimizing the seriousness of this condition, we had a big laugh at the thought of a man—sometime, somewhere, labeling a woman’s cervix as incompetent! Do men have incompetent body parts? Have you heard of an incompetent prostrate, or incompetent testicles?
Paul Ehrlich, the author of The Population Bomb” and a researcher on climate change and sustainability at Stanford, came to CSU several years ago and was asked how to save our imperiled planet. His response surprised me and the audience, he said we need to give the women of the world the same advantages as men and women will save the planet.
I am growing my hair out, maybe to shoulder length. I started with hair that was not much more than an inch long. I bet most men out there are thinking big deal! Just let it grow and don’t cut it and there you are…long hair. This is a very naive view which confirms that men just do not understand women. If they did understand they would know about the dreaded “in-between” stage where headbands and barrettes are the last resort to save a “Just chop it all off!” moment at the hairstylist. And headbands and barrettes are so not for the “mature” woman. My hair is “in-between” and I am struggling to survive this awkward stage to get tomy long flowing mane of thin gray hair. Doesn’t sound like much… but for the first time in my girlie life I want that ponytail!
Women shave, wax, pluck, laser, and use chemicals to remove the hair on our bodies. The hair on our heads is colored, bleached, curled or straightened with an iron, permed, braided, woven with extensions and complained about. We actually have “bad hair” days! Shorthand for my hair looks like shit and I feel like shit. Our roots are showing and we’re not talking about trees. After going very short I felt almost naked, I knew people were thinking “My god, what has she done?” Reality check: I am just a blip on the radar which disappears quickly, so it is likely they quickly moved on to a Trump tweet and the compulsion to mess up the Donald’s hair.
Ironically, in June I went to see the musical “Hair” at Midtown Arts Center. “There ain’t no words for the beauty, the splendor, the wonder Of my… Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair.” There’s the Afro, the Mullett the Bob, the Pixie, the Ponytail, the Pigtail, the Updo and then let your hair down and get …. Why on earth is there so much attention paid to the hair(s) on our heads? The perfect haircut and style will not give me the power that Samson had before he got the “bad “ haircut and lost his strength. Or will it? And Rapunzel let down her hair to let her prince come into the tower, so long hair will get me my prince…
So back to my hair which is growing as we speak. I will get through this awkward, in-between stage with the help of my best friend who has sworn to talk me out of any weak “chop it all off” moments! In the meantime I have my life to live, which is the only “big hairy deal” that needs my full attention.