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.


I have a car mostly out of inertia. It has been years since the 7-minute commute, flying down Vanderbilt Avenue with the lights timed to 40mph. Since the designated parking spot, the City Parks Department sticker, the walk to my office along the Long Meadow with mist or green or snow. Now I mostly play a game of street hockey, knocking it from one curb to the opposite in accordance with street cleaning regulations. And that is what I am doing this morning, circling my block, looking for a legal spot, when my hiccuping engine idles down and dies. I don't even have the battery power to turn on the hazard lights, ward off the encroaching aggressive B25 bus, the B26 bus and the morning traffic stack. I have an incredibly important meeting at work this morning, it's raining out, and this could be the start of one bruising day.

But. I discover, with great satisfaction, I can push my car down the street all by myself. It's a small car, sure, but I get it rolling from a dead stop, with rain slick pavement, Fulton Street rush hour. How cool is that. Get it manuevered to the curb, stick a note under the windshield, go home to call my mechanic.

But. I don't have his number. And he's not in the phone book. It's a little out of the way place, near my old house. It's an off-the-books, we'll work the system for you, Sanford and Son kind of place, and so I set off on foot. I take a path past my old house, and they have done some masonry work. I look through the lower clear glass of the massive front doors and see a stroller folded neatly in the vestibule. So good.

And at my mechanic's there is a new pit bull! He is all white and all wagging tail and his name is Crisco and his broad happy snout reminds me so much of one particular best dog ever. And so I give him some exuberant love and I head off to the subway and to the rest of my day.


Blogger Dr. S said...

Hooray! start to finish, hooray.

10:24 AM  
Blogger ttractor said...

:) the helplessness of the broken down car in the rain...gah, how horrible, and there is such a huge relief in knowing that I can beat that situation! Of, course, I think I have beat it completely, because I think my car is officially gone beyond the point of not bothering to return.

I do enormously appreciate the sly humor of my mechanic calling his white dog Crisco. I wonder what he calls me! I do have a friend who calls me Blanche, which cracks me up, as I am as much like Blanche DuBois as an armadillo. Wait, I could see how I am like an armadillo...

12:09 PM  

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