Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Born to read

Early on in college, I dated a guy whose body odor bore an uncanny resemblance to cat urine. Smells aside, he was a wonderful boy. But I remember suggesting that maybe he shouldn’t ride his bike around so much, as bikes lead to sweat and sweat led to a vivid sense-memory of the corner in my basement where Muffin used to mark her territory. (Do cats mark their territory?)

“Isn’t it so cool though,” He responded thoughtfully, “To think of your body as its own little motor? To think that I’m getting around everywhere powered by my very own energy?”

Oh smelly thing, your passing poetry shook me out of my slumber! And a decade later, tearing up at the last paragraphs of Born to Run by Christopher MacDougall, I felt it again. (The book's title doesn't hurt.)

Why didn’t I read this book for the marathon? Just imagining the Tarahumara, a group of super-human runners indigenous to Mexico’s Copper Canyon, gliding over parched Chihuahua terrain would have gotten my feet moving way faster than writing my name on my shirt. Once puny school boys become ultra-marathon champions. Girls school boys on 150 miles runs with Mountain Dew and Pizza to fuel their tanks.

The booked also marked my first attempt to solicit Facebook friendship from a stranger. Jenn Sheldon, if you’re reading, I probably don’t seem any less lame, do I? I guess a blogpost doesn’t get you much closer to a person than a status update. Oh well, keep pounding that pavement, baby!

P!nk: just like a (happy) pill

I hope you guys know, I mean I hope you REALLY know, P!nk’s not like those other girls. She’s told you so, (see “Hazard to Myself” verse three: “tired of being compared to damn Britney Spears. She’s so pretty, that just ain’t me.”) But if I may, I like to fancy myself a bit of an emotional barometer for pop cultural icons. My reactions to those who parade about the top 100 are rapt and sincere. So for the week at least, P!nk is my “it” girl.
I lay in bed on Sunday evening with the TV on, thinking I was staring down the glowing embers of a weekend. I’d hosted a house party, unclogged my drain, called the super to repair my busted fridge. What else was there for me? I thought, until P!nk’s “Behind the Music” burrowed through the haze of my nappiness.
She rescued Linda Perry from has-been obscurity! She shirked gender norms and proposed to her husband! She can do aerial ballet, and that’s really hard. I once saw a woman fall from her ribbons in the middle of a Cirque Du Soleil show.
Sure, there are plenty of teenage girls whose teachers slip them copies of The Bell Jar, who discover Ani di Franco by tuning in to their town’s college radio station. But the girls who don’t scratch beyond the surface of Mix 107.5 deserve strong female role models too. Sunday night, I watched a woman grapple with the professional goals, romantic turbulence, jealousy, neediness, and the human spirit triumphed! No fame bullshit. No agenda. She didn’t smash one reporter’s car face a single possession charge. She was just a girl tryin’ to make it this world.
Oh P!nk, empowered and vulnerable, career woman and care-giver. This week, in moments of weakness, I shall draw from your strength.