How the cool girls walk.

August 6, 2013 § 5 Comments

We had just pulled into our new driveway when she pedaled up on a bike called “The Pink Lady.”

Debbie, the preteen moving-van-chaser, jumped off the bike, ready to welcome us to West Windsor.

And to set my sister, Claudia, and me straight.

“This is how the cool girls walk,” she said, demonstrating, right there in the driveway.

The hip wiggle was a given—we knew about that. As she walked that wiggle down the driveway, it was the way she held her right hand that intrigued us. Arm bent at the elbow, the hand dangled as if she expected someone to kiss it.

We kind of knew there was something wrong with her right hand. Debbie had been born with cerebral palsy, but she convinced us. To be cool, we had to move like her. We quickly adopted that cool walk, complete with the wilted hand.

Although she could only twirl a baton with her left hand, Debbie made the PHS drill team,. Ours was probably the only drill team ever that had a wide array of left-hand-only routines. Debbie was cool because she said she was cool.

In Claudia’s class was a girl who was extremely pigeon-toed. Unlike Debbie, her peculiarity embarrassed her. But in that class, she really was the cool girl. Everyone wanted to be Sonia. By the end of a semester all the girls in the class were pigeon-toed.

Our deviations from the norm often make us who we are. They make us memorable. Our limitations force us to concentrate on our un-limits.

My mother considered it lucky that she had only one talent, which was writing. She didn’t have to choose or be distracted. All the things she couldn’t do made her a writer.

My limitation is that I’m a daydreamer, a wanderer. I can’t organize spit. I don’t remember a report card that didn’t say I’d do a whole lot better if only I wasn’t so scatter-brained.

But in this rambling that bears no resemblance to the shortest distance between two points, I trip over the unexpected, then pick it up and examine it.

Like my mother, I write. My stories begin with that odd abandoned thing others walk right past because the know where they are going. I gather stories, one small, seemingly random detail at a time.

Our shortcomings are sometimes our greatest gifts.

One more example. My friend Karen is often confined to home by lupus. The difficulty of journeying out has caused her to journey in. To walk through the doors opened by her illness and see vistas that will gob-smack you visit her blog.

Every one of us is odd or limited.

Luckily, the world is big, and if we insist it will make room for lefthand-only baton twirlers like Debbie. And you. And me.

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§ 5 Responses to How the cool girls walk.

  • Genia says:

    You are amazing, Adrian!! The world seems wonderful through your writing. This story was especially inspiring. Thank you for sharing your talents with us.


  • craig reeder says:

    “cool” is something i have always fell so short of, and that I had no chance of achieving……. but I’ve always had a healthy (if not delusional) sense of self-worth and a remarkable absence of any sense of fashion or style, so it has kinda worked out for me. I think………


    • In an unexpected turn of events, being uncool has become cool. Like you I never thought it would. I mean, folks want to be geeks now. That came naturally to me and definitely had me on the outside looking in at my “cool” friends.


    • Craig, you are a unique case. Impossible to embarrass. Eternally hopeful. The rules–with the possible exception of gravity–don’t apply to you. You are so uncool you are a whole new category–which is pretty cool.

      Chris, there is no way to judge the cool-i-tude of a brother. Sorry. It is a whole different thing, but I will concede that you are supremely wonky.



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