Things That I Adore About Some Of The Women I Know
I love the way C. walks down the street, oblivious, reading a book. I love the way it feels to bask in her warm, soothing glow — how she makes me feel calm and good, like a cup of Chamomile Tea. I love her wonderfully modulated voice, and her quiet intelligence. I love how she always calmly proceeds at her own pace. I love her fabulous eclecticism, and the way she constantly seems to be exploring, discovering, learning, and growing. I love the way that she can decide to bike across the entire freaking state of Iowa, and will then actually do it. I love the way my cats were all immediately infatuated with her on first sight. I love her beautiful earrings. I love all of her freckles. I think that lots of gingery freckles are exceedingly marvelous.
I love how C.H. is like a sister to me, and how she perfectly understands some of the peculiar refinements of communication and cultural habit that we occasionally feel locked into by virtue of having first-generation Asian parents. I love her elegance. I love the fact that I can tell her when I’ve gone and done the most bone-curdingly, humiliating, mortifying thing and that she’ll tell me something kooky she’s done, and somehow manage to get me to laugh about it. I love the fact that if I’m neurotically obsessing over something such as wanting to get back in the pool but not wanting to have to change my clothes in the locker room she’ll give me a patient series of pep talks until I get over it. I love it when she careens down the street in her car with one hand on the steering wheel, the other holding down the brim of an enormous floppy straw hat to protect her skin, with an open bag of Cheetos clutched between her thighs. I love the fact that she’ll whisk into a gas station in an Ann Taylor suit talking a mile a minute on her cell phone, which she has to hold up in the air with one hand in order to not lose reception, and buy herself a 4-pack of Lynchburg Lemonades, seemingly unaware of any incongruities. C.H. is a concert pianist and mostly, I love how passionatelly, brilliantly, and sensitively she plays the piano. She plays the piano the way that I always wished I could.
I love E.’s crisp matter-of-factness — the way being around her is clarifying, invigorating, and yet comfortable too, like sleeping in soft, impeccably clean sheets scented with just a whisper of lavendar. I love the fact that she is wicked smart without ever being pedantic, and I love her sense of principles. (And that they’re good principles, too.) I love that when her principles have been offended (i.e., a school song being Colonialist propaganda, which . . . well, it is) that she has a way of drawing herself up rather like a dainty and dignified Siamese cat who can radiate displeasure/annoyance from the very tips of its fur without any visible change of facial expression or body language. I love her aristocratic Syrian nose, and the fact that she’s rather stunningly beautiful and undoubtedly oblivious of that fact. I love the way she is with her students, and I love the way she is with her obviously remarkable children . . . and the way she makes it all look so easy, even though I know it can’t be. I love that she understands the importance of food, and that she feeds me wonderful Arabic dishes, and that when I think of comfort food I sometimes now think of things I’ve eaten at her house. (And although J.E. is not a woman, and therefore technically not within the parameters of this list, it should nonetheless be noted that he is a fabulously good egg.)
I love J.’s infinite capacity for taking in the lost wounded puppies of this world (the Wrongways and other disenfranchised beings — canine-wise, feline-wise, duck-wise, or human-wise) and tending to them with untold patience and tenderness. If I were reincarnated, I think that I would like to come back as one of her dogs, cats, or ducks. I love how she always seems to walk her own, distinct path in life. I love her intelligence and wit, and that she appreciates whimsy. I love the fact that one night at the Video Saloon, when some Poor Soul had passed out and pissed himself, she went up to the bar, commandeered a towel, and matter-of-factly rigged up a diaper of sorts for him. I love all of the hours she doggedly spent rescuing tree frogs out of the swimming pool and hauling them down to the creek that summer she lived in the country. I love the fact that she once drove eight hours, back and forth, to come and fetch me for Thanksgiving. I love that she throws a really mean game of darts. I miss our long, long talks over coffee and cigarettes stretching out all afternoon into the night.
I love how L. loves her friends and family with such a lovely generosity of spirit and unswerving loyalty. I love her hilarious sense of humor, and the way she always seems to know how to whip up a big mess of fun. I love how huggable she is. I love how she started the annual Thanksgiving Bacchanal, or the way she could take over Events Planning for Slackers so that we’d all find ourselves going to Lollapalooza in a van rigged up with a portable fridge stuffed full of beer hooked up to a generator, having a really, really great time. I love the fact that she got married at a drive-through chapel in Las Vegas. I love the fact that she and J.P. (another fabulously good egg) drove all the way to South Dakota on their vacation to come and visit me. I love the way she always says to me, “When are you going to come home for a visit?”
I love the fact that P. sleeps, turtle-like, with the covers over her head . . . the way she announces “Goodnight,” and then pulls up the blankets and disappears. I love her hilarious non-sequiturs (regarding Scandinavians in South Dakota . . . “It’s whatcha are“), and her self-deprecating humor. I love her penchant for lexicography and how her favorite color is orange. I love the fact that she has been known to weep while watching Wimbledon, and how she can spot when someone’s heading toward a lover who’s undoubtedly going to turn out to be a bad egg a mile away, but never says “I told you so” later on. I love that she considers Good-n-Plenties a major food group and that she recognizes the important distinctions and appropriate applications between good beer and swill beer. I love that she knows the right way to pound down a beer when so inclined. I am unspeakably moved by the way in which she mourns her dead cat. I love that she’s smart as a whip, and I love her marvelous poems.
I love S.’s laugh . . . how loud it is, and how you can hear it all the way down the hall, and how absolutely contagious it can be. I love how S. can always make me laugh, even if I’m in one of my got-a-big-stick-up-my-ass moods, and how good it feels to laugh with her. I love how unpretentiously brilliant she is, and how brilliantly unpretentious, as well. I love how she’s an an extroverted introvert, and I love how she can be irreverant and brash, but when it really counts is absolutely, perceptively sensitive. I love how beautifully she can explicate a poem, and the dead-on skill with which she gives a lecture. I love how she and C. are together. She has beautiful hands and very crisply-ironed shirts. I’m a sucker for a woman in a crisply-ironed shirt.
I love the fact that it’s kind of a cliche to adore S.R. because everyone adores her. I love the way she pays attention to people, and the way she makes one want to bask in the warmth of her regard like a goofy, purring cat in a sunspot. I love her exquisite taste, her humor, and her sensitivity. I love the way that she’s outrageously gorgeous — like a young Anne Sexton — yet seems to walk around completely oblivious to this fact. I love the way her former and current students come to me and tell me what an amazing teacher she is. I love her perfect, copacetic understanding of solitude.
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