The other day, while the springtime sun burned away the lies of the world, I went for a run.
I did not run atop a treadmill, as is my fashion. Instead, I stepped outside the cozy, fragrant confines of my home and went running down the sidewalks of my neighborhood, like a common vagrant. I set a brisk, confident pace for myself by imagining I was being trailed by animals of unimaginable ferocity. I find that allowing myself to vividly imagine the horror of my body being clawed open for the filthy snouts of these beasts to feed upon ensures that I won’t get lazy and start walking.
My run that afternoon was particularly enjoyable because along the way I happened upon several of my friends. My old adversary Tom Hipps slowed down as he passed by in his car. Shouting from the street at me like a retarded man on vacation, he startled me and caused me to break my stride. I sidled over to say hello, but our halting conversation made clear that the lingering tensions from the breakup of Three String Chord have yet to heal. I will never forget the fury I felt in early 2009 as I sat in impatient silence while Tom and Craig exchanged farts and giggles.
A few minutes later, I came across my friends the Goodwins and their two kids. As they enjoyed their family walk, I lumbered by in my sweat-drenched shirt and grunted unnaturally. The combination of my wrenching physical agony and longstanding inability to make comfortable chit-chat conspired together in one wholly strange and unsatisfying encounter. I’m sure to them it just seemed like some open-mouthed, sweaty degenerate had brushed by while shouting something slurred and indecipherable. Indeed, I imagine this is how I come across most of the time.
Soon enough, I was home to the fatigued arms of my pregnant wife (who is repulsed by my perspiration) and my son (who is generally more interested in the cats). I retired to the basement to recover in cool, dim isolation. The workout had been a success – my assymetrical galumphing managed to simultaneously burn calories and bridges. This is my gift.