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.


A terrible commute home. It takes an hour to go 5 stations. There is smoke that makes me gasp for breath and express train after express train barrels by. I am trying to serenely listen to music, but when I finally do get on a train everyone is surly and I am getting brutalized. There is a sharp elbow jammed into my hip, wherever my hand grips for stability it is crushed, feet are mashed without apology.

So now I am late for picking up my clean clothes, the laundry service is only open until 7. Laundry man has locked the front door, but he is still in there, and I exaggerate a begging, desperate face at him through the glass. He relents and lets me in and I feel badly for inconveniencing him and being not particularly grateful, charming or good-humored about it.

Begin to trudge down the street, cold and irritated, then, step all the way to the curb. The Muslim boys are playing football in front of the mosque before evening prayer. Go long! And they rush past me, sprinting away down the sidewalk, past the shuttered shops, to end with a whoop and the satisfying thump of leather ball landing in outstretched hands. I look up for the next arc of the ball and now I can’t help but smile at their play, at this amazing confluence happening here on this dark winter street, at them fluttering past me like dark birds. Now it is good to go home.


Blogger cherrydragonut said...

I know what you mean. The subway can feel like a pen of crowded animals. Then I am grouchy until the kids in the school yard put a smile back on my face. People, can't live with or without them at sometimes. But why can't we interact while on the train instead of being miserable? Most train rides and busses too are all about "me." My space being violated with headsets that are too loud, perfumes that are too strong, loud conversations, unfolded newspapers, people touching me in the next seats, straining to hold on, stalling when I'm running late. But then I tell myself that it's not me, but we...and well you can figure out the rest. Wonder if Rudolph is on this year. Jingle bells. You know, whenever I blog you, my boss comes by and hands me something or puts something on my desk. It was the same way when I was sobbing and shamelessly pursuing my former beax, who dumped me suddenly and without my consent. Boss was there too. She thinks I am nuts. Amazing that I get anything done at all.

3:16 PM  

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