We're still not over Sunday's Times Lives column, in which an UWS double stroller pusher painstakingly explained to us how she got that way. Samantha V. Chang used to be a punk. She had a skunk stripe and a pothead boyfriend. She was in college! Later, she had a Prada purse and snorted cocaine. Later still, she is a "freelance writer." Our favorite kind of freelance writer: the kind with an attorney husband and a "proper Tiffany wedding band." The kind who "prefer[s] Barney's when the credit cards allow." The kind of freelance writer whose only Nexisable writing credit is this selfsame Lives column! This kind of writer often has some important wisdom to impart, and Samantha V. Chang does not disappoint.
Samantha's new life with her infant twins and attorney husband is not perfect, it seems. For one thing, she has become, at 30, very old. "The first renegade grays are sneaking into my natural black hair, which I usually just put in a ponytail while it's still wet from the shower ... I wear sunscreen religiously now that sun spots are in full bloom at 30." Also, perhaps being married is not the bestest? "We coexist on the Upper West Side with all the complexities unconditional commitment brings." Hmm! Samantha seems to be mourning her long lost youth a bit!
Sometimes I see a pretty 19-year-old girl on the street: fresh-faced and wild with a dream, gliding down the street with all eyes upon her, oblivious to the way the world snaps ribbon paths ahead of her in the wind. There are a few things in her presentation that will probably cause her to blush in the years ahead.
I turn to look, like everyone else, and I smile at her: that wary stranger-to-stranger smile. She returns it with apprehension: "Who is this woman with a double stroller, half-smiling at me?" I imagine I seem strange and worlds away but also familiar. We might both be wearing chipped black nail polish; it's one last fashion I find irresistible.
"Break a leg, sweetheart," I say in my mind.
She means it literally.