What’s blonde and blue and achieving all over-?
It’s us! Kelaine Conochan, Editor-in-chief for The Prompt Mag—ultrarunner by morning, marketing director by day, gym class vigilante by night—and Jillian “I also do things” Conochan. Here to answer some of your burning questions about what it’s like to be sisters with each other.
Jillian: You and I are practically twins, in the same way that “all [insert racial generalization] people look alike.” Which is to say, all [insert racial generalization] people look alike if you are an alien landing his space ship for the very first time and seeing a mass of individuals with two arms, two legs, a head, and a torso. For clarity, let’s say it landed next to a March for Our Lives rally. Soon, the alien would observe, gee, NOT every person here has two legs. This guy is in a wheelchair. This miniature one is strapped to another one. They do all have heads, but no two are the same.
If this alien spent an extended period of time with you and me, his journal would say that we both have looong hair and quadriceps that alert every future acquaintance that we played soccer.
But then, he would note, your soccer avocation lasted longer than mine (I defected when it conflicted with softball).
And yes, they both take humor seriously and there are some common threads between them (for example, physical comedy), but one is definitely more absurdist than the other.
And then the differences unfold. The small one (that’s you) is a very good dancer and a stickler for lyrics. [He wouldn’t know this, but that’s Mom’s influence.] The other one… uh, less so. But that’s OK! She is a very good t-shirt folder. Borderline psycho about it?? *The alien backs away noiselessly until he’s out of the frame*
Kelaine: Wait wait wait. Which one of us do you think has a more absurdist sense of humor? Because I’d say it’s me, but I’m guessing by your bravada that you think it’s you. And why is your alien a HE? These misogynist microaggressions are everywhere! Anyway, those are two more fights for another day.
I think we’re similar in that we’re both very comfortable being everyone’s weirdest friend. And we have the same speaking voice, except mine has better endurance and doesn’t get hoarse after a night in a loud place.
We both have roughly 40 hobbies and tend to “burn the candle at both ends,” which is such a Mom-ism. And she was right, but to be fair, we pull it off with a reckless swagger that comes in like a tropical storm and leaves entire towns with (a) downed power lines or (b) a day off on an unexpectedly warm Saturday. TAKE ME AS I AM.
As differences go, you are more sympathetic than I am. You’re also WAY more generous and thoughtful and better at fulfilling obligations that I’d just blow off without even blinking. In friendship, I think you have higher standards and expectations, and don’t mind vocally holding people accountable for being their worst selves. I both admire and fear your candor and willingness to burn it all to the ground. RIP idiots.
You also don’t seem to carry as big a chip on your shoulder. I’m cockier and more aggressive. And I’m much more likely to be called a lesbian—whether affectionately, in confusion, or as an insult.
J: I think the biggest difference between us is that you are extremely goal-oriented and I am decidedly NOT. I think that’s something that throws people off about me, because I do achieve things, but never with a plan to do so, necessarily. It stresses me out to think that far in the distance. I would rather amble along and be surprised when I get somewhere noteworthy. You seem to thrive when there is structure and a finite bell to ring at the end.
K: I never once considered that, but you are totally right. You just blew my mind and I may not be able to continue this interview. JUST KIDDING. I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS, SIS. A-heeeere we go!
J: Dad. Definitely Dad.
Which is a joke because he’s by no means stylish, but also technically true because I’ve pilfered his ancient t-shirts since they’re now authentically threadbare in the way Urban Outfitters WISHES theirs were.
A serious answer: I think Mom had an innate style to her, but grew up in an era with greater practicality than we did so she could only afford to—by its literal and figurative definitions—get away with so much. She encouraged my interest in beauty and creativity and made it accessible to me with everything from “crafternoons” to TJ Maxx jaunts to subscriptions to fashion magazines. That was the origin. Then, like an addict, I gorged on it.
J: This is almost certainly a cliché, but fashion really is a form of self-expression. There are days where I’ll be 10 minutes away from home and realize I’m not wearing the earrings that, goddammit, would have really completed this outfit, and I will feel a sense of regret for the rest of the day. Now that I’m typing it, I realize how ungodly melodramatic that sounds, but for me, it’s the truth. I prefer making statements visually before verbally.
J: Maybe you got detained in the republic of Pragmatism? Where, for some reason, their flag is a Keith Haring, but fluorescent original?
J: Well, you were a 20 years early adopter of the athleisure trend, so that’s a good start. I’d recommend you just keep working and living in conditions that allow you to express yourself through fitness gear, because you like it and it suits you.
Speaking of suits, that’s something you can pass on.
The universal piece of advice that everybody who’s anybody offers (but nobody ever really takes) is to find a good tailor. Did you know that up until about WWII, off-the-rack clothing nearly always had to be custom fitted? Mass production and its cousin, consumerism, got us away from it. I predict a comeback.
J: Like the words “guru” and “maven,” at one time it may have had meaning, but has been wholly ruined by corporate dickholes trying to look down-ass. I think I said it once in 2003 and I still regret it.
Now it’s your turn.
K: All hail Mr. Summonte, the gym teacher of C. Richard Applegate School, who put on one helluva field day. For real, I looked forward to field day ALL YEAR LONG. Field day was my Shangri-La. It was the culmination of everything I ever wanted, and the fulfillment of a spiritual journey.
Whether it was winning the “Sprint Relay” during field day or getting the fastest time in the mile during the Physical Fitness Test, I always loved being fast. I know some people are not competitive—they can just enjoy an experience for what it is—but I’m not one of them. I’m mostly not an asshole about it, but I love to win. That’s always my goal (which brings us back full-circle to your goal-oriented point, which is now so obvious that I’m embarrassed).
Maybe running was the first thing I was really good at? Maybe I just got lots of positive reinforcement about it at some formative time in my youth? I’m not sure, honestly. But when people say they hate or dread running, I cannot relate at all. I’ve never had that feeling in my entire life.
It’s primal. I’m just an outdoor kid. I don’t know.
K: If I’m not training for an event, I’m pretty casual about running. I just wake up, do something you’re extremely uncomfortable talking about (rhymes with moop), and put in 6 miles on a pace that feels easy to my legs. I’ll do that five or six times a week. Then I lift once or twice a week, and play a bunch of rec sports in the evenings. I do that stuff because I love it, but also because it prevents injury. Also because I have a fear of aging and getting fat and being a boring loser in my house on a beautiful day.
But even when I’m training, I just go with what feels right. Currently, I’m doing two or three days a week of long mileage (15 miles or more) and then longer maintenance runs (8 to 10 miles) to build my overall running economy. But I never want to get to a point where I’m monitoring my pace and mileage and calories in/out like some kind of automated robot drone. That takes away all the joy and that primal feeling that I love.
Always outside. Always in the morning. Always a lone wolf. Always eat a big breakfast after I’m done.
K: I listen to a lot of podcasts because I’m an overeducated hipster. Josh would want me to tell you that I’m a *ToTaL pSyChO* because I listen to them at 2x speed.
But otherwise, here are some categories/examples, in order of importance:
Also, I’m a sucker for mashups.
K: If you’re planning to stalk and murder me, you can find me on the C&O Canal for the creatively named C&O Canal 100 Miler, at the end of this month. Just thought of another burning question.
J: I was a freshman in high school when Sandra Bullock broke out in Speed, and people told me there was some similarity between us. I don’t know what the movie would be about, but I could see her nailing the audition.
The actress who would play you would have to give a performance that’s somewhere between Punky Brewster and Clarissa Explains It All, but neither Soleil Moon Frye nor Melissa Joan Hart is right. Is Christine Taylor still acting? We adored her in Hey, Dude. And she’s perennially blonde. I can see Sandra and Christine doing a movie that has zero expectations and ends up being delightful. Oh, or Kristen Bell!
K: These are all excellent choices. But I’m looking for some new talent because I think this film budget went primarily to its writers. So, for you, I’d cast someone fresh-faced and just starting out. Someone who really just DNGAF. Someone who’s going to wear whatever, sing whatever, and just do whatever whenever wherever.
For the role of “Jillian,” I choose this sweet daAaAaAddy:
And for me, I want someone confident and enthusiastic. Someone who can’t stop, won’t stop. Someone unafraid to stomp around barefoot on her bathroom sink:
Know any contract lawyers?
peaches [K] OR nectarines [J]
silver [K] OR gold [J]
city [K] OR suburbs [J]
Donald Glover [J] [K] OR Childish Gambino
Strawberry Shortcake [J] OR Rainbow Brite [K]
brunch: breakfast OR lunch [J] [K]
Jimmy: Kimmel [K] OR Fallon [J]
80s [K] OR 90s [J]
The Office [J] OR Parks and Rec [K]
Biggie OR Tupac [K] Kanye [J write-in]
J: I feel sorry for anyone who challenges us to play Taboo. Vail sisters, get at us.
K: I don’t feel sorry for anyone. Like I said, you’re waaaay more sympathetic than I am.