3/10: hey there delilah

If you don’t recognize this face, maybe you’ll recognize this song.

Years ago in Chicago, Tom Higgenson met Delilah DiCrescenzo at a party and promptly fell in love with her, despite the fact that she had a boyfriend. He told her he’d write a song to win her over and then he did—well, he wrote the song, at least.

He and his band, The Plain White Ts (RANDOM TANGENT: band names like this annoy me for some reason, it’s just so…schticky? Like, I bet one or all of the members of this band own a keyboard necktie that they wear ironically), spent years performing and building a fan base and “Hey There Delilah” became a crowd favorite. Eventually, the song was nominated for a Grammy.

And Delilah?

She kept dating the boyfriend she had when she first met Tom (they’re still dating now) and let the song gain popularity, living her life anonymously and training to compete in the Olympics. Oh yeah, she’s an elite athlete and her event is probably one of the most grueling and ridiculous events in track and field. This is what she does for 3000 meters:

You know who else steeplechases?

HORSES. Big, brawny horses.

Delilah didn’t make the Olympic team in 2008 but she’s still training and will probably try to qualify again next year. Training for her means traveling around the world and doing STEEPLECHASES.

STEEPLECHASES!

Sorry, this event just has me in awe of human beings. People can just do that? Regularly?!

Delilah competed in the Ivy League for Columbia University in New York and had done pretty well but was not enough of a standout to land sponsorships post-college. So, she ran off and on for a couple of months, then moved back home to Chicago where she figured she was pretty much done with running. Then she got a phone call from the Kenyan runner Isaya Okiwaya. He wanted to coach her and like anyone worth admiring she said yes to the new opportunity.

Having a coach allowed her to have financial support for lodging and traveling for races (not to mention biweekly massages—we should all be so lucky to have someone pay for that) but she wasn’t actually getting paid to run. During this time she was not only training, traveling and running, but working full-time at a marketing and advertising firm. This girl understands the side hustle.

After one year and one third place finish in the steeplechase at the 2006 Outdoor Nationals, Delilah decided to commit to her running full-time, crossed her fingers and moved out of the city. That year she trained full-time and worked as an assistant track and cross-country coach at Bryn Mawr. It paid off when she won the 6K title at the USA Track and Field National Club Cross Country Championship.

In 2009, she became a member of the US Track & Field team, where she was able to travel to Amman, Jordan and compete for the United States at the World Cross Country Championships. In 2010, she was inducted into Columbia University’s Athletics Hall of Fame, where she is now studying to get her master’s in Sports Management. She also works as a part-time assistant for the cross-country and track & field team there. Remember what I said about the side hustle? She does not quit!

Delilah is one of only two American athletes sponsored by PUMA, which is such a sweet fact when you consider how close she came to giving it all up after college. As for the song? She says she doesn’t get asked about it much now, a fact that she’s fine with. It was fun and flattering, she says, but she’d like her running to dominate the conversation now, please and thank you.

I think it will. Easily.

If you’re intrigued by Delilah, PUMA is hosting a video series tracking her training in a short web series. I don’t think any video is longer than three-and-a-half minutes and new episodes are uploaded every Monday.

and there you go

In May of last year Jody Rosen wrote a review of LCD Soundsystem’s “This is Happening,” commending James Murphy for “making his midlife crisis danceable.”

It’s true: the first time you hear “I Can Change” you will want to turn your speakers all the way to Spinal Tap eleven and pretend your living room is a dive bar in Brooklyn. Even at eleven, the music will not seem loud enough to accompany the steps of your exuberant dancing, seemingly matching Murphy’s tone.

The second time you listen to it, the music will seem quiet for a different reason. It will recede into the background and James Murphy’s voice will begin to sound lonely and desperate. You will hear the repeated chorus of “never change” and “I can change” and it will become uncomfortable.

If you are far enough away from the situation he sings about, the lines will just be uncomfortable because you don’t understand him. If you do understand him, you will want him to SHUT. THE. —-. UP.

But, also, keep singing?

Because it’s all so right and beautiful and if you change, then you change and if you don’t, you don’t need to yet.

At this point, you will have to move on to “Dance Yrself Clean” and do as instructed. It’s a process.

I need louder speakers.

And landslides.

And avalanches.

And floods that submerge the entire world then recede and reveal everything as cleaner and more beautiful than before. Aside from a few touch-ups, I wrote all of the above on February 25th for my creative nonfiction class. I was getting used to a slight change in lifestyle and saying goodbye to an old, sort-of neighbor who wouldn’t actually be leaving for months.

I’m weird with goodbyes. That is something that will never change.

And it’s weird and seems like almost too much to say that “Dance Yrself Clean” helped, but I really think it did. And now James Murphy is leaving music to do other things, focus on other aspects of his life that deserve to be developed and now I don’t need eight minute dance songs that make me whip my hair back and forth but I don’t want to say goodbye.

I don’t want to say goodbye to a band that is so able to link themselves to my memories. Like sneaking out for blueberry pancakes in the middle of the night and seeing sunrises from deserted parking lots with All My Friends.

And New York, I Love You and swearing I could hear the ending from my campsite. And even if I didn’t hear it then, getting that from Madison Square Garden at four in the afternoon from my living room while thinking about choosing sleep over delirious fans and synth beats in the early morning at Bonnaroo and knowing that no matter how many words I cram into this sentence I could never tell you how much that all means or what it all means or what it means to cry over a song or to pause it all before the big breakdown and write it all out because it might just be the goodbye or the change or something else that I haven’t quite figured out.

I wish I had more time to say thank you, but I’ll turn the music up and let it go.

I wouldn’t trade one stupid decision for another five years of life

It’s happening.

pink fridays

I don’t really have a favorite color, which makes me a sociopath.

I’m not sure of the validity of the second half of that statement, but whenever I tell people that I don’t have a favorite color–and don’t really think about it–they look at me as if I’m a witch who has recorded freaky PSAs.

I am not a witch. I’m just like you!

I prefer clothes in navy blue, grey, black and white. My footwear ranges in colors: I hop around from lime green to red to beige to flower print to black.

My favorite nail polish color is a tie between light green, dark green, pink, orange and sometimes red. You have to be in an inspired mood to wear red.

I like my pink scarf.
I like my red scarf.
I’m not that fond of my blue and black checked scarf, but that has more to do with how trendy it is than it’s color.

My computer case is orange. My purse is white.

My purses are black, white, purple and yellow.

I guess I prefer the rainbow.

Or maybe it is insanity.

This week was a pink week: pink nails, eyeliner and even a pink shirt for Friday.

Wait, I emphasized the wrong thing, I meant to write: PINK EYELINER!!!

I blame Zooey Deschanel.

She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo.