Friday, March 21, 2008

“Stylz”… or, How the Cooler Half Lives.

(Posted by John Olson)

This blog is devoted to that certain quality of everythingness which so few of us seem to possess. I certainly don’t. (What’s wrong with tube socks under Teva sandals?) I refer to that ever elusive beast: “Style.”

You see, there is no book for style. It’s like the Tao—it can never be done, it can only be. “Style.” For those of us which lack it… which, let’s face it, are most of us… it’s nothing more than a bitter reminder of how cool we will never be. But for those with it (hence the mid-80’s phrase, “with it”), style is a way of life.

Pornsawan Silapiruti, Ada’s mom, certainly has style. Her house is Feng Shui. She makes trippy polymer-clay bead jewelry, which sells to the chic of the chic on 4 continents. And, as she recently reminded me… she’s just better than me.

You see there is an ancient Chinese/Japanese/Korean/other legend… (they all seem to claim it as their own)… that if you make 1000 origami paper cranes you are granted one wish. Make 1000 cranes, and you can make someone well.

There’s really no reason to describe this legend at any greater length… for some reason, everybody already knows about it. I haven’t figured that one out yet, but believe me. You’d heard it before, hadn’t you?

So it all started when I bumbled around and managed to make one pathetic, lopsided leprous little duck-like “creature.” And I only managed this, mind you, with the constant support (or should I say criticism) of my sister. Well, my sister thought it was noble, so she made one. Then Abby made one. Then they made some more. Then Pornsawan caught on… and she began making them too.

I went back to NY with the intention of making as many cranes as I could. And not that I’m one to boast, but I got pretty good at it. When it came time to return to Indiana and see Ada again (about a week later), I presented Pornsawan with a box filled with about 200 of these things. And I went All Out. I bought professional “artsy” origami paper from the Japanese book store at Bryant Park, and… Look, they were nice.

Pornsawan opened the box, signaling (so I expected) the beginning of a truly heart-warming exchange. She looked inside, removed one crane, pulled on the head and tail to demonstrate that mine can’t fly… looked dead into my eyes and said, “Yours don’t make right.”

Thank you Pornsawan.

That’s how Ada and her mom work. They “duplicate and elaborate” … taking your idea, making it better, but also making it their own. But can you blame them? As I said before, they’re just better at it.

I made 201 cranes… one ugly, 200 cute.
Pornsawan made twice at many, twice as big, twice at cute… some from ornate paper, some from hand-selected photographs… they’re all lifelike, and flap their wings… And of course, she’s organized crane folding operations on both coasts, and in three other countries.

Are you starting to see what I mean?

Okay, what does this have to do with Ada?... Well, to begin with, she looks beautiful. I mean, she’s suffered from an extremely traumatic, near fatal, car crash… and guess what? She looks better than you on the Oscar Runway.
I began to understand this early on in our relationship… If we went shopping (which is another way of saying that she went shopping, and I came along) I would always try to pick out the one item she was going to buy. Eventually, I figured out a very successful method: Always pick the ugliest article of clothing in the entire store. You see, none of us would purchase such hideous rags for our mortal enemies, let alone our loved ones. But she would always prove me wrong, without even trying it on. I would totally forget about the disaster, until she dragged it out of her bottomless closet some evening… And invariably, she would turn heads all night.

Hair is another brilliant example. Girl could Not keep the same hairstyle for more than two months at a time. And she didn’t look through Cosmo either. She’d pick out some, doo that looked like Ellen DeGeneres’ head after being dipped in clover honey and thoroughly licked over by a starving mule. And yet, it always worked? Don’t ask, don’t tell.

So right now, “most” of her hair is buzzed… with the exception of one long tuft on the right side (purple and brown, mind you). And over the buzzed region, she’s got about 300 zigzagged staples, roughly in the shape of a flux capacitor. And don’t forget about the bone flap (aka, chunk of skull), roughly the size of a tea-saucer, missing from her left temple. And as predicted… Well, I won’t give it away, but you might want to pay closer attention to this month’s Vogue.

What’s the message in all this?: Don’t try, you’ll never be cool. (just kidding… mostly).

No, the message is: Changes or not changes. Ada is Never the same. She’s Stylish. I would like to repeat one of my previous comments...

Prompt: “What if she comes back different?”
My response: “Don’t talk too soon, it might be an improvement.”

Ada’s like her mother. She can take anything around her, make it functional and enviably chic. Don’t worry about Ada, she’s fashionista. Worry about the impending blow to your self-esteem when she wakes up.


Macey said...

at least you can make the cranes...
Unlike me. I am oragami challenged.

Anonymous said...

I've made about 50 cranes so far. I'll keep folding.

My thoughts are with Ada. Keep fighting, girl.


Kelly said...

John, I'm glad Ada has you beside her. She sounds like a wonderful person. You captured her so nicely in your blog. Keep the faith that she will return to amaze us all. My prayer are with Ada and all of you.