Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Hazelblackberry: crescent or gibbous?

Dear Nick

Here's a little-noticed and underrated skill: women running fast in incredibly high heels.

You don't hear too much about it these days, but it was big in the 70s and early 80s when stilettos were not so much all the rage as all the norm. And perhaps women were shorter then. Looking back, as one must, I see that many of my friends' mothers were quite diminutive laydees.

I was contemplating this skill because I was thinking about my old primary-school chum Moony. I haven't seen Moony in years. The last time I heard from her, in 1993, she was drawing cartoons - for animation - in New Zealand. I used to love going to Moony's house. The Moonies were quite socially superior in our little township - they had carpet in the kitchen and bathroom. I remember Moony dramatically swinging the door open to reveal the flash floor coverings and me standing there greedily sniffing that lovely new carpet smell. I believe they may even have had a cocktail party to celebrate the event. Tres stylish. Ern might have attended out of obligation. Maybe that was the night he stepped on the Moonies' dog's tail. Or it might have been another night. If it wasn't for the Moonies throwing parties, everyone would have died of boredom waiting for something good to come on Channel 2. (And oh the excitement, the fervour, when we finally got GWN. The Moonies probably threw a party to celebrate THAT.)

Moony's mum (Mrs Moony, would you believe) was, in my eyes, the most glamorous thing I had ever seen. Even on the hottest, most humid days she never broke a sweat. But she always had a sheen on her face that I've come to associate with women who only wash their faces with cream, or creme, cleanser. You know, the vaguely greasy stuff that you rub all over your face and then remove with a tissue to leave you with that fresh, just stepped out of the hog-fat rendering plant feeling. Women who use that stuff and never have even a single, juicy pimple to show for it generally have a high glamour quotient. Consider our mutual friend, Amazing Grace. AG is constantly slathering herself in a variety of unguents. Rather than sliding greasily from pillar to post, she always looks perky & dewy...with a touch of glamour.

But here's the thing about Moony's mum - she wore stilettos of such ferocious incline that the poor woman was just about permanently en pointe. And she ran in them. Everywhere. Mrs Moony was always in a rush, and always running late. I may not have mentioned that her glamour was not haughty and cool, but was dishevelled and warm and all the more alluring for it. Being constantly behind time necessitated a lot of running. She ran from bank to milk bar to post office across the shiny red concrete at the local shops where she had a clothes store. Most impressively, though, she ran all over the uneven, tarred footpaths of our tiny town. Footpaths which melted under the summer sun and in which we kids would leave deep potholes after digging out the soft blue metal.

Her foot always landed solidly and evenly. There was never the slightest waver in ankle or step. The canniest, surest-footed mountain goat would have sat back on its haunches in awe.

There were many nice things about Mrs Moony. I used to love spending time at their place. But the nicest thing about her was that she always ran home too.

Until next time, Nick. Yes indeed.


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