Last Saturday night we had a bunch of people over for the KU game. One of them was my husband’s best friend’s wife? I like her (shockingly) and so we always chat a lot when they come over, which isn’t often. So I’m not sure how the topic comes up, but we start talking about how I have taken up running. And of course the 5K I have just run also comes up. She looks at me and tells me that I am really brave to do something like that. Seriously? Brave? She thinks I’m brave? Brave is certainly not a word that I would use to describe myself. To me, this is something I wanted to do and knew I would regret if I didn’t. That’s normal, right? I guess maybe not according to her.
It’s just funny cause I get all caught up in my head that what I do is ordinary…that what I do doesn’t really matter…that what I do isn’t any better tahn anyone else. It just takes me by surprise when the things I do seem more extraordinary to someone else.
I wander downstairs this morning and glance out the window at the bottom of my stairs and see that Ed is outside. He is at the end of his driveway (which isn’t unusual as he washes his cars every other day) washing a tire. Now seeing as Ed’s cars never seem to leave the driveway, this seems a little weird to me. Regardless of that, it still seems weird you would be washing a tire. So he has some sort of spray he sprays on it. Then he sets it up on it’s end so he can pull his hose down and spray it off. The really funny thing is the tire starts rolling down the sidewalk and he just follows it spraying it as it rolls. What a funny little man.
Im sitting watching television the other day and one of those commercials comes on for the latest and greatest drug. This one is for the allergy sufferers. Since I have pretty intense seasonal allergies, I stop and listen. So they get to the part with all the side effects (cause you know there are no drugs that don’t have a laundry list of side effects) and this particular drug says that while it will help your allergies, it may cause cataracts or glaucoma. Seriously? This drug may help me stop sneezing and maybe breathe easier but I might not be able to see later? What kind of trade off is that? I’m thinking if the side effects are worse than the symptoms, I’ll pass.
Shortly after moving to our cul-de-sac, I met our neighbor Ed. He is kind of a funny little man who lives by himself along with some cats. Ed kind of keeps to himself but my husband will talk to anyone and one day while out doing yard work he wandered over and introduced himself to Ed. We didn’t really get Ed’s complete story but knew that he was friendly enough to let us borrow tools and a wheelbarrow. We also discovered he had a pond in his backyard…which is something we had in common.
About a year after meeting Ed, he disappeared. His cars were still always in the driveway and his cats were still roaming around…but he was gone.
After a while one of his cats started showing up at our door. He would sit outside our door and cry and cry. He was this white, sad looking little guy and so we took pity on him and started feeding him and leaving water out for him. We called him Ed’s cat. Every now and then he would disappear for days on end and show back up all beaten up and sorry looking. One time he showed up with a bad enough cut on his ear that we actually treated the wound with neosporine for a while. Then after a while, Ed’s cat disappeared too. To this day, I hope Ed’s cat found a better home somewhere.
So after two years of no Ed he finally turns back up. Nothing new and no explanation…just business as usual. Come to find out after visiting with one of his other neighbors one night, Ed had gotten himself one too many DUIs and found himself spending two years in jail.
A couple weeks ago I was sitting at my computer minding my own business, when I hear this weird kind of beeping/screeching noise coming from outside. After a couple minutes I look outside wondering what it is…and across the street at Ed’s place there is smoke pouring out of the house. I thought sweet jesus and yelled down at my husband that we might have a situation on our hands. He goes running across the street just as Ed’s garage doors goes up. Ed kind of wanders out like not much is going on. At this point I’m just watching things from the driveway and determine I don’t need to dial 911 (which I already have dialed and ready to go). Apparently Ed had put some steaks in the oven and forgotten about them. My husband hung out long enough to make sure there was no actual fire and also for Ed to tell him he was thinking about growing some illiegal plants in his back yard.
At this point we just try to keep an eye on the old guy so he doesn’t burn him and his house down.
I spent a lot of time thinking about the war this weekend. It kind of started because I watched a movie called In the Valley of Elah. Not so much a movie about the war but about how screwed up the kids are after coming home from war. Then on my Sunday morning run I passed driveways where the newspapers hadn’t been picked up yet, and the front page headline today was announcing how we have been in Iraq now for 5 years. And it made me sad. I certainly don’t understand all the reasons we need to do what we do in a country like Iraq. And maybe I don’t necessarily think its completely right. But I know that during my lifetime, those in power will always be men who don’t even come close to sharing the same views I do. I also know that most people don’t even think about the war at all any more. I listen to this radio show on my way home from work and the DJ starts his show everyday with the daily casualty count from Iraq and then gives the running total of deaths so far. Why aren’t all the news stations doing that? If those soldiers have to be over there living it every day, I think that its only fair we think about it every single day. I’m beginning to forget what its like to not be at war….and that really scares me.
My Friday morning drive to work.
Who thought it was a good idea to promote their church with the tagline “Become a Contagious Christian?” If it’s contagious, I don’t want it.
If you work in my department, it is dangerous to go on vacation. Taking vacation days leaves your cube vulnerable to the plotting and execution of some hair brained scheme that your fellow co-workers hatch over lunch. This plot was executed over the course of three days. We lost track of the number of trips we made to Hobby Lobby to get more balloons. We would not have successfully filled the cube if someone hadn’t thought to bring in a small shop vac and reverse it to blow air. The smell of rubber took over the entire floor. The balloons were deflated in a matter of minutes.
I was in Best Buy late this afternoon picking up a copy of a movie I’d been wanting and when I got in line I noticed this kid (he was probably 21 or 22) about four people ahead of me. I noticed him because he was standing in line with his iPod earphones in and I always think its funny when I see people out like that completely shutting themselves off from any interaction with anyone. He had this really long, stringy hair and (for you fellow Kevin Smith fans) he kind of reminded me of Jason Mewes’ Jay character (of Jay & Silent Bob). Anyways, I lost track of him as he went through the check out ahead of me. But as I headed out to my car, I ran into him again out front. At this point I see that he had purchased guitar hero and now he was heading home on his bike with the box balanced across the handle bars. I laughed to myself cause I knew this kid had been probably saving for months for this game. I pegged him as maybe working at a pizza joint (not a delivery driver though as he was rockin the bike) and he had probably just gotten off work and was headed home to master the guitar hero…he probably swung by and picked up some PBR and had himself a rockin Sunday night.
I didn’t realize setting my feet to the pavement three months ago was going to become something that defined me. But I guess that’s not a bad thing since some of the things and people that once helped define me don’t anymore. So maybe I was secretly looking for some new definition.
After I figured out exactly how much I loved the running, I decided I should maybe work towards a goal (cause my life stays more structured with goals) and found myself a 5K to run. I was actually really nervous to do this (i’m not sure why as I have taken tons of dance, yoga & writing classes…why would this be any different?) and so I put off registering as long as i possibly could. I knew I just had to go and get the first one over with though or I would be mad at myself.
So at 6:15 this morning I drug myself out of bed to a crisp March morning (it was 12 degrees), dressed myself the best I could (the only actual running gear I own right now are running shoes as till now I didn’t really consider myself a “runner”) and drove myself into Lawrence for my first 5K. It was pretty intimidating because almost everyone else showed up with all sorts of friends and fellow runners. I on the other hand showed up alone not knowing what to expect.
After checking in and receiving my shirt and number that I apparently was supposed to wear, I stood around for about 30 minutes before the run actually started. At some point some old guy wandered by and asked how many layers I had on, but other than that I just stood in the corner and watched people. I determined runners like to eat, most runners wear silver shoes (mine are green), and a lot of people have problems safety pinning their numbers to themselves.
I think the standing around was the worst part, the run wasn’t much different then running every night through my neighborhood. The run itself was out behind a bar in Lawrence called Johnny’s and they ran us up on the levee. We ran down about 1.5 miles and then headed back. Amazingly I didn’t finish last, but there were a lot of pretty fast runners out. One of the guys I talked to before the race said the KU cross country team was out there. Those guys doubled back by me before I had even passed the first mile. There was guy running with his kid in a stroller…he smoked me too.
In the end, I at least accomplished what I set out to do which was run the whole way. I will definitely get faster…especially as the weather gets warmer…sometimes the cold and wind kicks my ass. I guess at this point it’s just on to the next one.