So I'm out the door at 6 this morning, door key laced to my left sneaker (I alternate, so one foot doesn't feel loved less than the other), hit "shuffle" on my ipod, and off I went.
It was muggy already. Clear and beautiful after last night's torrential rain and beautiful thunderstorms, but muggy.
Down the road I went, walking at a good pace, enjoying the slight breeze that drifted by every now and then.
About a half mile into it, it started.
They started fogging up.
Just around the edges at first. Not too bad. But still.
I ignored it and kept going, down around the turn near the donut place and then up around the other side of the pond.
I finally couldn't stand the haze, so I took my glasses off and wiped them on my shirt in a feeble attempt to dry them.
Kept going. Faster pace. Trying to use the beat of each song to either take longer faster strides or much faster shorter ones. A sort of game with myself.
All the while, in the back of my mind, I was thinking – I should run. I really should. Just a little. Go ahead. Just a bit.
I don't know why I'm such a chicken about it.
Well, no, that's wrong, I do know why.
It's because I have a hyperactive imagination and I anticipate all sorts of horrible things that will happen when I run.
I will trip on a bit of sidewalk and crash land on my face.
I will catch the toe of one foot on my opposite ankle and crash land on my face. I don't know why I would do this – I'm not pigeon-toed, and I've never done anything like it before, but you know how things are in your head, in the world of Everything Will Go Wrong.
I won't be able to lift my feet off the ground and will trip and crash land on my face.
Those are a few.
Not to mention my extremely warped body image.
And my childhood of Bill Cosby on tv and the records my parents had.
"Hey, Hey, HEY!"
I used to watch the cartoon, but later, when my sister and I discovered the recordings of Mr. Cosby's early stand-up, I liked that even better. My sister and I have whole sides of records memorized.
And when I contemplate running, some of these lines drift through my head.
"Come on out…..FAT ALBERT! Fat Albert was the baddest Buck Buck breaker in the land. And he loved to hear us call his name. Fat Alber weighed Two. Thousand. Pounds."
"…the ground trembling…buildings losing pieces of brick…"
That's more of it.
And then, to accompany all the wacky thoughts, there's just the physical stuff.
Mainly, the oddness of running for no other reason than to run.
Running around with my kids is different.
If I was running to, oh, catch a bus or something, that would be different.
When I run to chase a kid or catch a ball or something, there's an objective. A goal. You know? An end to the means.
But just running?
It doesn't feel natural. I feel…boingy. Like instead of running in a horizontal line, I'm springing up and down, like a casual gazelle, just out for a morning bounce. And I'm being a casual gazelle, boinging up and down, amid a herd of racehorses, all of whom cast sideways looks at me and shake their heads before snorting derisively and galloping away.
Only…I'm not really a gazelle. More like…oh, I don't know. Hippo comes to mind, of course. But no, not really.
Oh, I don't know.
Anyway, there's that. The odd boingyness of me running.
So I fastwalk my way up a hill and enjoy the pain in my calves. I even run a tiny bit, dodging low-hanging leaves. It feels like I'm jogging through a car wash, wet brushes and rags swiping at me as I duck and sway, trying to avoid them.
The road levels off, and I continue on, fast paced, glasses off because they are useless, and clear blurry is better than foggy.
Turn the corner, and down the last long leg of the 3 mile route. (After this, there's a short bit of another street, and then a turn onto my street. In case you're wondering.)
And I'm going along, glad that I put my sneakers on and went out this morning, and I see, off in the distance, two figures walking on the other side of the street, coming toward me. I wipe my glasses off, just so that when we are within that eye contact/no eye contact/eye contact space, where you are sorting out how friendly or inwardly focused you should be and weather to say hi, or morning, or just nod as you officially lock eyes for a split second as you pass, I will be able to see them clearly and make real eye contact and not stare weirdly at their foreheads or something.
Oh, I need louder music. I think too much.
Anyway, I get most of the haze smeared off the glasses, and when I put them on, I realize it's not two people. It's a man walking two dogs. We get to the eye contact point, I smile and say hi, he smiles and says good morning, and then we are past each other. The dogs are beautiful – one golden retriever and one yellow lab. The yellow lab tries to cross the street to say hello.
And right after that amiable little moment, I say "what the hell" to myself, and at the next telephone pole, I take off my useless foggy glasses, and I start to run.
I am a casual gazelle, boinging along.
Only…gazelles don't THUD when their hooves touch down.
So my image begins (rapidly) to crumble and I am no longer a boinging casual gazelle, but a stiff, gunboat-shod Frankenstein.
With a big, flabby ass.
Yes, I had to add that in. Because it was there, that unpleasant aspect of my posterior anatomy…flapping in the air space behind me as I went THUD THUD THUDDING along squinting to see a bit more clearly, foggy useless glasses in my right hand.
And then the right ear bud thing from my eyepod popped out. Or slipped out from all the sweat. Or was bounced out by the THUD THUD THUDDING.
And so I am THUD THUD THUDDING along in my Casual-Gazelle-turned-Frankenstein Monster hobbling gait, horrid gluteal flab pounding along on the downbeat behind me, my upper body hunched over to the right because I was trying to keep my left ear bud IN, and I couldn't put the dangling right one back in because I was holding the glasses in that hand, and everyone knows you need to keep your hands moving forward/backward when you're running or you'll fall over, and I was holding my ipod in my left hand, and my left hand was, for some reason, up in the air near the left side of my head, maybe in a feeble attempt to use the force to keep the damn ear bud from popping/slipping/THUDDING out because then the whole cord for the ear pieces would fall to the ground and I'd probably get my legs tangled in the cord and trip and crash land on my face.
But that last part didn't happen.
The left ear thing didn't fall out.
And I slowed back down to a walk, put the right ear thing back in, and finished the route.