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.


Work is gut-churning, so much so that I have lost my appetite. I slog my way through a run, beating myself to wring out every step. I sigh my way home, feeling like some days are a pointless grind of work, running, taking out the garbage for the building, jumping the car’s balky battery so I can play opposite-side-parking street hockey.

I open the front door, and someone has shoved papers under it into the vestibule. This is not unusual, today it seems like yet another of the endless streams of business cards, menus, flyers, supermarket circulars I am forever chasing down the sidewalk, picking up off the stoop, clearing from the hallway floors.

I look at the papers to see how to relegate them and the little negative head flow of pity-me dries up. Two pieces of paper, folded together. There is no envelope, but the insignia of the Brooklyn DA’s office. Unpleat their accordion to reveal the missive is from the sex crimes unit. It is a summons to appear, an order to testify, it belongs to someone in my building.

She could be a witness to the crime, she could be a character witness, she could be the victim. Whatever she is, it is none of my business. I am horrified at the invasion of her privacy, that everyone in the building could know. That I know. I ring her doorbell and hand her the papers, mortified, apologetic for the inappropriate knowledge I have, tongue tied by awkwardness.

Last night when I came home, a further summons, the card of the detective, was stuck in the front doors, with her name hand-written on it. I gave it to her, and she gave me cookies she had made, an astonishing act of grace for one so violated.


Blogger remue-menage said...

nothing like the suffering of others to snap your head around

the tragedy, the misery - the havoc that we wreak on eachother

how does one account for it

is there a way to arrive at peace beyond understanding

3:43 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

I wrote this in response to you having your bike mauled. When I saw the DA's emblem, I felt a little trill of excitement. It was promptly squashed by the gravity of the situation, but there was that tiny feeling of "wow, I'm in the big city!"

I try not to be obnoxiously self-absorbed. And I really have a problem with the "I felt bad for myself cause I had one leg until I saw the man with none" kind of thing. My misery is mine, and although I try not to steep myself in it, neither do I want it discounted (oh, not that you are doing this, I just mean in general).

It all flows into the struggle I have with grace every day. Those who have seen me in action have seen me fail, spectacularly, falling on my ass, with my metaphorical skirts over my head, revealing my gray underwear with the humiliating busted elastic.

I have done things out of fear, ignorance, selfishness. For some the canvas for their inchoate pain is large, encompassing the world, or another person. I hope to keep mine as small as possible...I am not sure there is anything else to be done. Anyone with an answer, id be so ahppy to hear it!

4:52 PM  
Blogger cherrydragonut said...

Wow, why the flogging ttractor jolie? It's called being human and sometimes we talk and write without editing without taking time to think about how it will be taken because sometimes we are communicate for ourselves to figure it all out and not for someone else. It's like dancing when you are alone in your apartment and not caring how you look. I don't think you are self absorbed. On the contrary, I think you write about your experiences and give of yourself rather than point fingers at others. I like you Jolie-Laide! I like this blog too even though at times I felt as though I hogged it and am sorry for that. I love you jolie laide. You are a good person, would never intentionally hurt anyone. It's alright to be human and to display our humaness. Everyone can benefit. I think you are a terrific writer and artist. This is the most beautiful blog site that I ever seen, certainly my favorite one to date.

"I am horrified at the invasion of her privacy, that everyone in the building could know." Yes it IS horrible when a a few sentences or chapters in someone's personal story become public and it is positively tragic when that privacy is invaded, interpreted by someone who was trusted or in this case from a government or legal agency who ideally considers public saftey. Does a person who's privacy was disrespected have the right to press charges? Has a reputation been ruined? Will this knowledge jeopardize her home? Wallet? Standing in the community? RElationship with others? Does an acquaintance have the right to inform you that your former lover is involved with someone else? Is it acceptable for a friend to bring your boyfriends former girlfriend to your gig? What about when someone casually tells you that he saw someone someplace with someone not knowing that you have an intimate relationship with that person? I am so glad to be able to blog this kind of stuff because it reminds me that trust is more important than company. Amazing how a legal document can be left in a person's building lobby like that. Sometimes knowing stuff that isn't intended for us can be dangerous. It can harm relationships that haven't even had the chance to get off the ground or it can create such bad feelings that people can't even face you. It can provide a permenent lens or point of reference that is forever associated wioth that person and can taint how that person wants to be understood or viewed. I am sorry you had to find such stigmatizing information but if anyone had to discover it, it might as well been you because it sounds like you have some honor here and wouldn't broadcast it. But it is strange how angry feelings and shame about having had my privacy invaded by people I thought were confidentes can actually lift and disappear. And writing certainly does help me eliminate these feelings, and let them go. Amazing how I can hate one minute and totally not care the next. Indifference is the opposite of love, not hate. And being honest about who I trust and who is worthy of my trust makes more sense than hoping I will not feel bad or that the person will change. I'm done. :) I guess people think they are forming bonds and close ties when they confide someone's secrets in another person but that doesn't work for me. I have turned away from long term acquaintances because after years of tolerating this I relize that they are not for me. Am sighing with relief, glad.

4:57 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

I'm not necessarily flogging myself...but I do feel the need to be honest, or at least try to be, about where my emotions come from. And while I would like to beleive I am giving and careful and empathetic, my behavior reveals taht this is not always the case.

What I write here is often the most beautiful, gentle thing I experience all day. Something that happens when I am most open, or the thing that opens me the most. That can give a lop-sided view of how I really am, which is, entirely human and fallible.

That being said, I am glad I found the paperwork and not anyone else in the building. I don't want anyone else to bear the burden of that knowledge, the fear of not acting appropriately, the discomfort of assumption.

8:18 PM  

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