jolie laide

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


Twice each week I pass through Little Korea. It doesn’t really register. I know something about China, something about Japan, but Korean culture is opaque to me. So I go past Korean video stores with pictures of unfamiliar movie stars, restaurants with pictures of unknown foods, the Jumbotron with its silent strange advertising, beauty salons offering unfathomable treatments (We give now French!) and all of it is merely on my periphery, nearly invisible.

This week’s trip, the subway is uneventful, so I am a little startled to pop out of the subway to great welling of applause. The plaza in front of the Jumbotron is filled with cheering Koreans wearing red...its the World Cup and Korea is about to take the field, huge shots of the team fill the screen and people on the streets of New York are yelling and clapping. It’s infectious, bunches of Anglos have stopped to watch and I stop too, and suddenly this whole population I have been by-passing becomes visible, vibrant, joyful.


Blogger four inches of ego said...

I always had a similar feeling on the day of the State Fair parade in Dees Moines, the day the rest of Iowa arrived in the center of the urban hub of the state. All in a moment it became clear that I, in fact, lived in a rural state, though the specific city filth of Des Moines' streets said otherwise. While on one level it frightened me -- as I would hope a State Fair parade would -- on another it was remarkable in its ability to shake me, temporarily, from my neighborhood bar complacency.

7:52 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

oh, Des Moines. That has to be some kind of buried alive. Is there a there, there?

5:26 PM  

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