The Numbers

Three chickies in a diner.

All three are over forty but look closer to thirty. All three wear their hair long and their nails short. All three are under 5’4″ and range in weight from under 110 to just over 120 pounds. One of them grew up in Philadelphia. One of them grew up in New Jersey. And one of them grew up on Fifth Avenue. None of them has any discernable accent other than “American”. All of them have been raising their children in New York City. All of them are Jewish and affluent, although the affluence of one far exceeds the affluence of the others (think one private plane, two chauffered cars and a 12,000 square foot converted carriage house in the city as her primary residence). Each of the three own wedding and engagement rings containing over three carats worth of diamonds. None of the three is wearing her rings. One slings a Burberry scarf over her leather jacket on the seat next to her. Another places a Prada handbag on the table beside her. The third, the one with the driver making circles around the block as he waits for her, doesn’t carry a handbag or wear outerwear. She clutches her canvas wallet in her unmanicured hand.

Each of the three have a nine-year old child, two being sons and one being a daughter. All three have seven-year old sons as well. Of the three seven-year old sons, two are severely autistic. Of the two who are severely autistic, one attends a special school for autistic children, and one is home schooled. Neither is likely to be mainstreamed any time soon if ever. One of the chickies has run 26.2 miles in the New York City Marathon ever year for the past five years to raise money for autism awareness. One of them donates hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to the same charity. One of them led 15 people in 108 Sun Salutations to benefit the survivors of Hurricane Katrina and donates her time to teach yoga to breast cancer survivors.

Two of the chickies went to law school for three years, and practiced law for more than 10 years apiece. Of the two, neither currently practices law, both having retired from the law within the last four years. Eighteen years ago, these two worked at the same law firm for a period of two months and then did not see each other again until their then two and a half year old children began their three years of preschool.

More than twenty years ago, two of them dated the same man, although not at the same time. One almost married him. One didn’t even come close. The two who dated the same man became reacquainted at the same time that the two who worked at the same law firm became reacquainted, which is to say that all three met or met again, as the case may be, when their now nine-year old children were two and a half years old and entering their first year of preschool.

Of the three chickies in the diner, one of them was diagnosed with breast cancer four and a half years ago. She endured six months of chemo, six weeks of radiation, 15 months of biologically targeted therapy and continues to take one pill per day of a pill that lowers her estrogen levels to zero. She has visited her oncologist twice in that time for worrisome symptoms, neither of which resulted in a diagnosis of anything serious.

Another of the three chickies in the diner was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis close to 10 years ago. She has had at least three relapses of symptoms in that time but currently is doing well.

Two of the chickies have fathers who are living with cancer as a chronic illness. One of those fathers is living with chronic myologenous leukemia as well as heart disease. One is an eight-year survivor of prostate cancer and a two-year survivor of non-small cell lung cancer (the non-smoking kind).

One chickie’s husband is a testicular cancer survivor. That chickie is not one of the chickies with an autistic son.

Three chickies ran into each other on the street this morning, one coming from dropping her seven-year old at the public school where he attends the second grade, one coming from dropping her autistic seven-year old at occupational therapy, and one coming from dropping her autistic seven-year old at his private school for children with pervasive developmental delays.

Three chickies hugged hello and decided to have a cup of coffee in the diner across the street, where the casual observer might make assumptions based on appearances. Those assumptions might well be right. And at the same time, they would be wrong. Unless, of course, they took into account the law of averages.



5 Responses to The Numbers

  1. Anonymous says:

    According to the law of averages, most ‘chickies’ are likely to have multiple cancers and other diseases/crises in their families without the loads of diamonds, $$$ and free time, so I hope you realize that you can still count yourselves plenty lucky.

  2. yoga chickie says:

    Interesting comment, especially in that a friend of mine read it and wrote me an email that went something like this, “Funny post today on your blog. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine in which we decided that we are both where we are supposed to be on our life paths.” I am paraphrasing. Interesting how two people could get such a totally different “gist” out of the same post.

    And interesting that I was neither addressing merely the contrast of money and bad events in the same lives nor the way we end up on the correct paths (I have no idea how that could have been read into what I wrote, but whatever…!). What I was really doing can be summarized in the title of the post: “The Numbers”. I was taking an “inventory” of the facts of the lives of three women of similar demographics in terms of sheer “numbers” (height, weight, net worth, number of kids, number of tragedies), some superficial, some not so superficial.

    My point, if I had a point other than to simply spit out the facts and let the reader make his or her own conclusions, was that shit happens to everyone, and you can’t tell all that much about it just from looking at someone. Kind of a trite concept, I know, but I was trying to express it with a modicum of creativity. Looks like maybe I wasn’t as clear as I would have liked to have been?


  3. Anonymous says:

    Your whole mishpocha looks great! even the Louis the bagle!
    have a happy hanukah and new year

    Texas Yid

  4. Anonymous says:

    well, at least you might be able to tell from looking at someone that if they did have a medical problem, they might actually be able to afford treatment for it…

  5. yoga chickie says:

    That thought makes me very sad and is a good reminder to not take anything for granted.

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