I forget how stupid hot and humid it gets in New York in the spring and summer. I forget how, being from the dry Canadian prairies, I am woefully ill-equipped for this time of year. Last spring around this time, I was barfing after runs and lying comatose for full afternoons. I've adapted since then, but Saturday's five dedication miles were MOLTEN.
Mile #1: John P. McEneny
John P. is one of the most generous, heart-forward people I have ever met. He is the Artistic Director of Piper Theatre Productions and a middle school drama teacher and the guy who cast me following my one and only NYC audition in the summer of 2010. Piper presented ENDURE's world freaking premiere and helped fund my travel to Sweden to work with the luminously, crazily talented Christine Owman. So, as far as I'm concerned, we all owe that beautiful music to John P.
John, your mile was magical. The song playing on my iPod was dreamy and watery like the ocean. I passed a stoop sale that looked like a street-side rainbow. Kids played with water guns. A woman rode by on a bike wearing a shirt that trailed behind her and looked like butterfly wings. I passed in front of two warrior-like horses coming from Kensington Stables. They were HUGE and majestic. I was wearing pink lenses in my Smiths (literally rose-coloured glasses) which made the trees and grass appear to be an otherworldly shade of green. I felt, John P., like I was inside a Midsummer Night's Dream...or maybe Xanadu?
Song: 'Porcelain' by Moby.
Mile #2: Lynn Hickernell
Lynn is a runner and a former/future actor (as she describes herself) and all I know is we share a mutual friend in Jessica Ammirati (another runner-theatre-chick). The fact that Lynn doesn't know me personally, hasn't seen the show and STILL dropped some bucks just warms my heart to no end!
Lynn's mile occurred as I waded through everybody and their dog (literally) in Prospect Park. There were a zillion bodies. I welcomed it, though, because it made me feel like I was part of something. It also led to a revelation about the community of artist-athletes this show has collected. Time was I felt like a freak in both camps. I was the weirdo artsy type among my sports friends and the weirdo athletic type among my art friends. No longer! I AM NOT ALONE! I am surrounded by people like Lynn who embrace BOTH weirdo parts of themselves! (And I mean that in the best way possible.)
Song: Speaking of revelations, I give you Florence + The Machine. This song needs to be enjoyed at top volume. If you're gonna go deaf, might as well go deaf to Florence Welch.
Mile #3: Emily Faherty
Em wrote this utterly bad ass review of ENDURE in the Huffington Post last year. She is a bona fide ray of light with the best smile in the Western Hemisphere. When I met her she was training for her first marathon and she sewed her ENDURE pearl into her jersey for her race. The pearl image is central to the show and becomes a symbol of both loss and hope, the small things that keep us going even when we think we can't.
Em? I rilly needed a pearl for your mile. The heat smacked me in the face and I might have overdone it a teeeeeny bit when the revelation song was blasting in my earholes because I TANKED.
You know the saying 'never let them see you sweat?' Jones women have no choice. We do not sweat. This is not a dainty aren't-we-so-ladylike thing. This is a heat-cannot-escape-the-nuclear-reactor-that-is-my-body thing. My mother, fierce woman that she is, not only ran her first marathon at the age of 50...she did it carrying a plant sprayer.
Happily, a moment of magic took my mind off the sensation that my head was going to explode. I came upon the starting place of the Prospect Park shows and then, as though I had dropped into the dream world of ENDURE, Christine's beautiful music filled my ears.
Song: The Agreement by Christine Owman, ENDURE's miracle of a composer.
Mile #4: Clare Nolan
I met Clare in 2006. I had started work at an ad agency and we bonded over Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes (or "Pumpkin spooooooooooce!" as Clare prefers to say). That was the year I trained for Ironman Canada, where a good lot of the source material for ENDURE came from and where, on my monster 6-hour bike rides, the nascent idea for the show began to take shape. She was also there when one of the single most embarrassing moments of my life went down. She was nice about it. And she's seen BOTH my solo shows and I love her to bits.
I knew Clare at an interesting time in her life. I bore witness to a heinous breakup and I was one of the first to twig that those long lunches she took with Steve, the other project manager, weren't all business. Clare and Steve are now married and when I think of them I think about how everything's unfolding perfectly. How even the most painful, horrible losses are just stops on the way to gifts beyond your imagination.
But this mile? Still painful and horrible.
Song: The White Stripes, Seven Nation Army. Which has NOTHING to do with Sweet Claresie and everything to do with the pounding in my skull.
Mile #5: Another Jon P....Jon Parker
So I'm passing the entrance for The Great Googa Mooga (what the hell is that?!) and there are fifty kerjillion people including some hipster wearing a 'One Less Car' tshirt by the bike valet and people wearing jean shorts and floppy hats looking at me sideways because they are carrying thermoses of cold pinot grigio and I have an alarmingly red face.
I felt like a bit of a freak, hammering away out there.
As uncommon, you might say, as a Calgarian in Brooklyn.
Which is what Jon Parker is. He is one the rare breed of Brooklynarians. Calgynites. Calgooklyners. Whatever. Our tribe doesn't need a snappy name. We know who we are.
The Calgookynese have the best of BOTH our hometowns. The salt-of-the-earth friendliness of Calgary. The casual cosmopolitan cool of Brooklyn. I'm speaking mostly about Jon right now. He is way cooler than I am. I'm the weird sister of our Calgooklyn family. Jon is the smart, supportive, wildly successful older brother that everyone likes.
In my life, he is a fixture in the People Who Rock cateogry. And if you met Jon Parker, you'd think so, too.
Song: Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, one of my favourite 2006 Year of the Ironman anthem songs. I LOVE YOU CEE-LO!