My charismatic doctor who is on his third wife informed me on Friday that I was pre-diabetic and had to make sacrifices- perhaps foregoing my COVID-era evening pairing of Marriage du Frere tea and a chocolate chip cookie that has the circumference of a newborn’s head. Then, this sage man, whom I’ve trusted as my go-to physician for almost two decades, looked at me and said “I remember that little innocent, hot Korean woman you were years ago.” I paused to consider this, saddened by the wistful expression on his face and no doubt the disconnect between that past me in his head and the 47-year-old cookie fiend in his office. Most of all, I thought, crap-in-a-basket, another man caught up with the Asian girl archetype. Ew.

With visions of my birth mother’s imagined demise from diabetes, and thus my own similar fate, days later I’d scheduled two weeks of morning “runs” with friends around the Reservoir- a place I haven’t associated with my physical exertion for more than a decade. Don’t be too impressed. My rendition of “speed walking” has been described as “meditative” or “trailing” by my friend Deb, who, despite being shorter than me, walks furlongs ahead of me, all the time.

Tomorrow morning, the lanes of the Reservoir will host a formidable trio- myself, my glamorous friend Erin who has been earnestly called Uma (as in Thurman) for her blonde, long-limbed looks and overall grace. She has regaled me with stories of her youth working incognito for an NYC private eye. Then there’s Erin’s friend, a Korean woman I have never met, who is a well-known talk show host in Korea. Could she be my third Korean friend and/or the ultimate guide to all things Korean? The upcoming morning run fills me with questions–will we balance my quest for exercise with the quest for Korean knowledge? See us clocking great speeds, despite our masks, while discussing great Korean literature and art? Or will we be a glorified coffee clutch, my sneakers a moot point?

Stay tuned.

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