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.
Without thinking about what day or time it was, I head out to run. It is a gorgeous morning, the first after months of rain, sleet and snow, and so I am kind of surprised to not see anyone out…anywhere. After about a mile, I suddenly realize it is Sunday morning…and I live in God country.
As I run down my newly extended route that is kicking my ass, I start to think about how different these god fearing people think I am. How I’m not as good or not as worthy. But while they spend their Sunday morning praying to their gods in their man made houses of worship, I spend the morning outside worshipping what I believe was created by something other than us. As they sit in their pews and ask for forgiveness from above, I’m outside trying to find forgiveness within myself. While they are inside listening to what they think matters, I’m outside experiencing what I think matters. They see the beauty in the words that are spoken and in the promises of what lies ahead. I see the beauty in the visions of nature and the promises of here and now. They pray, I hope.
So don’t you dare tell me I don’t believe in anything.