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.


Where did this begin? It began innocently enough. Or as innocent as it can be, as I am eavesdropping on a couple of naked strangers. I am at the Park Slope YMCA, in the locker room, and these two women look like, well, regular middle-aged women, dimpled in places, slack in places, wobbly in other places. They are exultant, they have just gone running together. I butt in on their conversation, because I tend to, because it is a friendly place, because they are clearly so happy. I ask them how far they ran.
"20 miles! We are training to run the New York Marathon!" says one.
"Holy crap! says I "I can't even imagine that!"
They look at my gear, my sneakers and they can tell I have just finished a run myself. They ask me how far.
"8 miles."
"How long did that take you?"
"An hour."
"Holy crap! That's elite class pace! You could totally do a marathon!"

And I think they are nuts. The difference between 8 miles and 26 miles is the difference between a grain of sand and an entire beach, to me. And as the bookish, knock-kneed professor's daughter, I have certainly never thought of myself as an athlete. But their comment sticks with me, pongs around in my head, and makes me start to consider...

(I know I owe more of this, because *you* have asked. And more there will be. But right now, I have something I have to do. You may recall the sport in which I originally injured my hip. You may know where I went to school. You may even know that my television is the current equivalent of a rotary dial phone. And hell, why be coy about it? I'm gonna go find someplace with a bigass TV and watch me some Michigan fuh'ball.)


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