Friday, June 24, 2011

Two ways of doing things

I went for a run in Central Park today. When I came out, I passed a very old man on Fifth Avenue, who was probably in his 90s, walking alone, with a cane, dressed in a suit and tie and an elegant straw fedora. His face had long since fallen, and his eyes were a bit glazed. He didn't immediately respond when I called out, "You look dapper today." When I repeated what I'd said, the words finally penetrated his consciousness, and he looked up and gave me a tip of his hat.

Farther on I passed a woman who, from a distance, looked like a beautiful model, but, as she came closer, began to look monstrous, her face a plastic travesty of Botox backfill. With her fashionable shades, her long tresses, and her puffy lips, she looked like the ever-so-slightly bloated corpse of a very beautiful drag queen. I'd guess she was about 70. She was walking at a telling, measured gait, in those dangerous high platform shoes that even young women wear at their peril.