Left to its own devices, my body would render me lumpy, squat and squishy with kinky gray hair and a patio cushion where my rear end should be. My teeth would be furry and so would my legs.
Without the daily round of upkeep, my house would also grow furry with dust, and the plants that hadn't died from lack of water would croak from lack of sun because the windows would crust over with whatever that is that grows on my glass.
Without thrice-weekly shopping trips for milk and yogurt, my bones would go to sand and before I knew it I would be a small, round troll living in a house-shaped block of dust.
All this would happen in about a week if I let it.
Lately, I feel the universe pulling at me. Scientists call this the aging process, but that's too soft and slow a word. The process at work here is not a gentle graying but a fierce tugging. It's like everything around me is being sucked up into a huge vacuum sweeper bag. And I'm that last sorry fuzzball clinging to the roller bristles, trying not to be swept in.
As I write this, I'm staring out my picture window at the perfect elm across the street, but mostly noticing the dirt on the glass and thinking I just squeegeed that thing, when was it? Last week? It needs it again.
The universe is tipped way to the right, and soon I'll be sliding off the end of it.
I confirmed this theory last week when I watched my son and his friends go off to the junior prom.
The young men have all grown into their chins by now, and the young ladies -- all of them -- are physically beautiful.
Magazine-cover-after-Photoshop-beautiful. The dresses were formfitting and the heels were high and the skin was perfect.
When I was 17 and in high school, there were maybe two girls who were that stunning and well dressed.
The rest of us looked like we bought the second frock we tried on at JC Penney, and then put a little extra effort into grooming that day.
The thing about my son's friends is how effortless they make it look.
I'm sure most of the girls used their day off from school to get some professional primping at the hair and the nail salons.
But under all that grooming were young people for whom beauty is effortless. The beauty comes to them. They don't have to chase it.
Maybe there's an alternate universe out there, a place where things are tipped to the left, where pretty and neat start out hard and get easier, and where windows have a special coating that keeps the dirt off.
Maybe in that universe, you can take a few days off from the routine and not be overtaken by weeds, stinkbugs and freckles.
All I remember of high school physics class was the rule that says an object that gets moving wants to keep moving in that direction until something gets in its way.
To test this, we played with rubber balls and slingshots, but we needn't have gone to the trouble.
All we had to do was take a look at ourselves. No matter what we did or ate or denied ourselves, we fit into our jeans every day.
We were pretty. Our molecules were fresh, pink and multiplying, and we couldn't have stopped them even if we'd wanted to.
Yes, the windows still got dirty back when we were 17, but who cared? That was our mothers' problem.
Beth Dolinar is a former Riverside resident and Pittsburgh television reporter who is staying at home to raise her two children. She can be reached at cootieJ@aol.com.