Hey! Look at That Old Lady Wearing Stilettos in the Snow!

by Talia Billig
Originally Published: 

Today the weather gods gave the East Coast the “gift” of an absolutely disgusting day. Meteorologists harangued us into an appropriate sense of fear last night, but many of us still woke up unprepared for this mess. The streets are a hellscape of deceptive puddles. Everyone is bumping into each other and having umbrella wars. Buses, equally infuriated, are spraying any person they can with slush in displays of aggression and machismo. We are all sleet-covered angry winter monsters.

Personally, I felt I prepped myself fairly well for this morning in New York City. I stuffed my giantess feet into the warmest, most insulated waterproof boots I could find. I layered up, shoved a hat over my hair, and bitched to my boyfriend for approximately 27.5 minutes before leaving in a huff. When I finally got to Sixth Avenue I felt adequately shielded by my angst and attitude. (Bring it, New York!)

And then there you were, crossing Sixth Avenue like a magnificent urban gazelle. In unbelievably thin stilettos that couldn’t have been any less than 4 inches high. Sure, you were having your fair share of difficulty crossing the street. But you handled it with a joyous smile and unbelievable agility. In your all-black perfection outfit, you looked like it was your job to walk across Sixth Avenue today. Your prowess and grace in these adverse weather conditions strongly pointed to the fact that I may be handling my entire life wrong.

On top of it all, you were considerably further on in years than I am. Your silver hair was displayed proudly, exactly the way I dream of wearing mine as I age. It flowed behind you with each step.

You looked like an advertisement for aging gracefully in New York. I imagined your photo with a catchy tagline: “Don’t let New York get you down!” or “Still stylish, still Manhattan!”

I, on the other hand, many years your junior, looked like an advertisement for failure. Sponsored by REI and misery.

I can’t even wear stilettos on the sunniest of days. I just can’t hack it. I’m met with two options: (1) topple to the ground like a terrified giraffe or (2) return home with feet mauled by blisters and bruises. So as you can imagine, I’m having a difficult time adequately expressing the awe I experienced while watching you. I wish I had stopped you to ask you if you teach lessons on being the epitome of cool. I could use a few.

I didn’t though, for fear of throwing even the slightest hitch into your glorious-looking sleety day. But I knew as soon as I got to my computer I’d have to salute you in writing. I hope that wherever you are, you see this (though I imagine you’re WAY too cool for the Internet). Your smile, as you traversed inches of brown disgusting sleet, was the only bright thing I’ve seen today. Walk on, my unidentified friend. May your day continue just the way it seemed to begin. I salute you from the bottom of my freezing, blackened winter heart.

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