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Kristen Elde Archive

Kristen Elde

All in the Mind

October 30th, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

Ahh, the dead accuracy, the universality (I’ve gotta think) of Don Mitchell’s October 15 post—“Looking Good!”—about his experience running the 2002 New York City Marathon.

“Thousands of them, yelling at me: looking good! I couldn’t stand it.” … “Makes it worse, see, I’m dying, I’m already dead, and what, I’m noticing nice asses? And I’m thinking, What’s wrong with you, shithead. Con-cen-trate. Don’t die.”

What’s wrong with you—concentrate—don’t die. I feel ya, Don.

Rather, I felt ya.

(more…)


Kristen Elde

Filling In

September 26th, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

April 2007

“This isn’t spackle, it’s caulk,” he says, rolling his eyes as I hand over the plastic cylinder. But my oversight has brought him relief, clear in the quick release of his breath, the immediacy of his smile. It’s an error he might have predicted, which brings with it some comfort, and neither of us knows how long we have before these sorts of things stop registering.

As I meet his eyes, comfort is exceeded by disorientation. I can’t navigate my misstep. I don’t want it to mean anything, but I can’t help worrying that it’s somehow prophetic. I scan his face for explanation (I knew what I needed; what happened?) and think I read doubt. Quick, recover: “God, dumb. I’ll run back.”

Looking down at his hand: “No, it’s fine–toothpaste should work okay.” (more…)


Kristen Elde

Irresistible

September 3rd, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

compulsion
n.
1c./1d. An irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of the motivation. / An act or acts performed in response to such an impulse.

I, a full-tilt Virgo, have been inclined since the tender age of five, back when my chore of choice was folding laundry, keen (hell-bent?) on matching corner to corner, edge to edge, of The Wonderfully Right-Angled Bath Towel, to observe an indulgent amount of order in the course of a day. I’ve never really seen this as an impediment, however, considering the routine straightening of pictures, aligning of chairs, and, yes, still the fastidious towel folding, have never, like, axed friendships or lost me jobs or sent lovers fleeing in abject horror. At most/worst, these and other related behaviors have brought about the conspicuous rearranging of my office desk fixtures at the hand(s) of knowing coworkers. And that’s just kinda funny, you know? (Not that said fixtures aren’t promptly and vigorously returned to their rightful homes. Heh.)

Anyway, yeah: I’m scrupulously neat and I’m okay with it. It evens me out. (more…)


Kristen Elde

Big Sky

August 4th, 2009
by Kristen Elde

MISSOULA, MT-

September 2003

It’s late, 12:30-late, and I’m just now pulling into the parking lot of Hubbard’s Ponderosa Lodge in Missoula. The toll of a thousand straight miles on the road won’t register for a while yet: I’m still carrying a charge.

“Hi. I’d like a room—two nights, one person.”

I’m traveling by myself, my preference from the age of five, a time when my version of a solo vacation was putting Mom and Dad thirty feet at my back, all but forgetting them as I crouched low, sifting through frosted sea glass and limpet shells with glossy, purplish undersides—alone on the beach with a green plastic bucket and an active imagination.

(more…)


Kristen Elde

In Transit

July 8th, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

Knowledge is learning something every day.
Wisdom is letting go of something every day.

—Zen Proverb

Against the dull roar of eight-million-plus, I’ve often felt a shadowy sense of loss as another train whizzes by me, the faces in the windows clear for a few seconds before fading into the future. I find myself thinking about how unlikely it is that I’ll ever see them again, or if I do, how there’s not a chance in hell of recognition.

Enter Craigslist. An unlikely credit, perhaps, but along with equipping me with temporary housing, a kitchen table, and cake decorating classes, the venerable 12-year-old marketplace, has impressed on me the value of transitory relationships.

Take the other day. I was fifty bucks and a lunch-hour meet-up away from landing a pair of Andrew Bird tickets. Should’ve been easy enough, considering the man with the goods worked all of ten blocks from me. But circumstances were not in our favor, and it took several emails, a phone call, a missed opportunity, several texts, and a few more emails before we finally managed the exchange.

(more…)


Kristen Elde

Pee Shy

June 12th, 2009
by Kristen Elde

NEW YORK CITY-

The other day I swung by Quest Diagnostics for some routine diabetes-related testing. First up: the blood draw. Ridiculous, but I near-hyperventilate just thinking about this procedure. I always make it a point to inform the phlebotomist of my irrational fear well before he/she does his/her thing, just in case doing so guarantees me a really great draw courtesy some extra care. This woman, pleasant and chatty, laughed and said, “Oh, you’re too much.” Word.

Anyway, it was fine. Fast, painless. Great story, huh? Stay with me. (more…)