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From a really good murder mystery by Harry Bingham, Love Story, With Murders.

The detective heroine, Fiona Griffiths, seems to be in her 30s. On page 100, she writes:

“Then I stare at my face in the mirror for a minute, wondering if it feels like mine. In Bram Stooker’s Dracula, the dark count is invisible in mirrors and I often feel something similar is true of me too. I can’t feel any deep relationship between the face that is mine and the person I am. Like they’re two different things. I don’t know if this is something that everyone feels.”

That is exactly how I feel as I get older. I look in the mirror and realize the face doesn’t go with how I feel.

I get this when I watch an old Showtime series, Dead Like Me. The premise is that people who die may ascend directly to some upper worlds. Others must remain on earth, in a form loosely resembling their former selves but somewhat uglier. Somehow they have to find jobs, even though it’s not clear how they manage without formal identification. One character is a parking meter cop; the heroine works in her former job as a file clerk.

The heroine forgets she looks different. When she goes to her old home, her real mother shoos her away. She feels the same inside. Outsiders react to her as an ugly person they don’t know.

That’s exactly what being old feels like…like wearing a Halloween face mask you forget to take off and wondering why people are staring.

I’m not my face. I’m more like my butt. My butt is firm. An orthopedic doctor told me the best way to avoid hip fractures is to develop strong glutes. I have.

Alas, nobody looks at my butt, except maybe in the gym. They look at my face. A stranger to them…and to me as well.