Monday, September 26, 2005

A run, a reading and a rock

Note: All this stuff happened two weeks ago, but work and life and the flu got in the way of timely posting. It was half-written all this time, though, and I’ve finally cleaned it up and I’m posting it now. Which saves me from having to do anything interesting this week. So everybody wins.

The second annual Run Hit Wonder was Tuesday night, which I ran with a handful of work people, a friend from the chorus and about 15,000 other hip ’n’ trendy kids.

And once again, it was a clusterfuck—but just a partial clusterfuck, not a total clusterfuck like last year’s run.

Aside from the sweltering heat (which I blame on the Republicans), the Dri-Fit shirts that were itchy and warm and barely breatheable and exactly what you would NOT look for in a running shirt, and the running path that at times was no more than two people wide (I remind you: 15,000 runners), the bands were fun, the runners were pumped up and the guys were HOT.*

*I’ve decided hot straight guys are way hotter than hot gay guys. Hot gay guys wear their bodies like suits of armor and use them to induce eating disorders in other gay guys. Hot straight guys just live in their bodies. And we’re all a bit richer for it.

I finished the 10K in 57:09, but I always run slower in uncomfortable heat. I also run slower when I’m trapped in a cloud of 15,000 runners all vying for space on a wee tiny path.

Speaking of wee tiny, this year’s race organizers put our bib numbers on our sleeves in mightyfine type—instead of on our chests in hella-huge type the way REAL race organizers do it—so the Joe Photo people who took all our pictures had no way to match up photos with runners so we could order copies online (see clusterfuck, paragraph 2). But I did find one photo of (most of) me sprinting clumsily across the finish line on the Joe Photo web site:
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And remember how I called the other runners hip ’n’ trendy (see hip ’n’ trendy, paragraph 1)? I apparently am not hip ’n’ trendy, because of all the bands playing along the race course, I recognized only one: headliner Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.

As for Chingy, Nina Sky, DJ Z-Trip, The Aquabats, Fountains of Wayne and The Donnas, I had at least heard the names of the last two groups (WARNING! COOL POINTS DANGEROUSLY LOW!), and when the race DJ played that your-momma’s-hot song by the Wayne boys before the race, I realized that was one song I had heard (accidentally) this one time when I was changing show tune CDs in my car. (BEIGE ALERT! BEIGE ALERT! TOTAL COOLNESS MELTDOWN!)

My poor friend Bob has been extremely patient with me and my work schedule these last few months. We used to regularly hit off-beat lectures, exhibits, plays and concerts all across the city, but I’ve had to turn down his last billion or so invitations to do these things because I’ve been so damn busy.

But when my Wednesday night magically cleared up like a zit the day after prom, I was able to join him for a (WARNING! FOO-FOO PSEUDO-INTELLECTUAL POSTURING AHEAD!) free poetry reading that was pretty spectacular.

For an enjoyable, thoroughly reinvigorating hour, Garrison Keillor, host of Minnesota Public Radio’s inimitable A Prairie Home Companion, read from and provided fascinating commentary on Good Poems for Hard Times, an anthology he just published.

And Garrison (I call him Garrison) doesn’t just read a poem. He climbs into it. He wears it like a tailored coat. He conspires in it like a trusted friend. He devours it like a peach, working his way ravenously to the core, leaving nothing unsavored, unselfconsciously letting juice and seeds run down his chin and hands and arms.

And when he’s not reading, he tells stories. Stories about the poets he’s selected. Stories about how poems can periodically fall out of fashion. Stories about the stories behind the poems. And he does it all in such a mellifluous, languid baritone, you just want to climb into his lap and hold on tight so you don’t miss a word.

I ate at Hard Rock Café on Thursday at a good-bye lunch for a colleague I’m really going to miss. I’ve never been to Hard Rock Café, and I have to say it was just as I’d expected: a little on the loud side, with decent-but-overpriced pub grub and a clientele that spoke volumes about how unhip the place has become.

And that’s saying a lot, considering what little clientele there was. The place was about 10% full … and even then we had to wait 20 minutes for a table.

But now I can add it to my list of touristy places I probably don’t need to visit again: Ed Debevic’s, Hooters, Planet Hollywood, etc.

Don’t think I’m getting all food-snobby on you, though; I’m always gonna love my Cajun chicken pasta at Chili’s and my Cheddar Bay biscuits at Red Lobster and my Victoria’s Filet at Outback and especially my barbacoa burrito at Chipotle.

Just because they’re low doesn’t mean they’re still not standards.

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