Monday, April 27, 2009

In it to win it!

Our marathon training group ran five miles on Saturday. Well most of them did. I had finally found my orthotics—which, unlike a logical runner, I had stored for the winter among the mittens and boots we never wear—and I’d forgotten that my first orthotics-supported run of the season typically results in debilitating shin splints. So by our four-mile turnaround on Saturday I was limping like a Republican campaign to "save" marriage and I—being smarter than a "family values" Republican–cut my losses and headed back to our starting point … while our más macho runners continued to the five-mile turnaround and still lapped me on our way back. ¿Quién es más maricón?

But! I ran again this morning at 6:00 with my orthotics, and I had zero shin pain. I even remembered to wear my freakishly expensive running watch, which I’d been forgetting to wear since I started my summer running more than two weeks ago. Unfortunately, I’ve apparently also forgotten how shut it off, so until I dig out the manual it’s gonna keep thinking I’m running in place—kinda like a Republican!—which is totally gonna ruin my first official training pace of the season.

But that's not even what this post is about! No! It's about our neighbors! See, we live next door to what appears to be an assisted living facility for elderly people of a common ancestral heritage. I am just guessing this to be fact because there are no signs or logos declaring that the building is anything but a condominium, but all the old people I see coming and going through its doors are of the same ethnic flavor and most of them have canes or walkers or wheelchairs. And all the young people I see are wearing hospital scrubs or driving wheelchair-accessible vans. So I'm gonna go out on a limb and say my hunch is right.

Before I run every morning, I take a good five minutes to stretch in front of my building. I do this for two reasons: 1) You should always stretch before you run, especially at 6:00 am and 2) If you do it in front of your building instead of in your living room, you give yourself a few minutes to decide if you've under- or over-dressed for the weather before you take off running in it. Plus you can smile at your totally hunky downstairs neighbor in the off chance he, too, is leaving the house in shorty-short shorts at 6:00 am.

Whew. Is it hot in here? Where was I? Oh, yes! Gay marriages are legal in Iowa as of today! So all the straight marriages are collapsing! Look! Rush Limbaugh has already lost three of his sacred marriages! The Republicans were right! If only we had listened! The humanity! The hubris! The "Christian" hatemongering goatfuckery!

In these last few moments before society completely implodes on its Satan-marrying, puppy-kicking self, let me continue my story: As I stretch each morning, all those young people with their wheelchair-accessible vans pull up next door to usher our neighbors to what I assume are supervised adult activity centers. But the writing on the vans is in a language I don't understand so for all I know they're taking my neighbors to lap-dance classes. Or Ellis Island. Or—since it's 6:00—maybe they're taking them home in a wheelchair-accessible drive of shame.

The vans hold about six people. And last summer when I was out stretching I sometimes noticed that there was one elderly woman who clearly thought she deserved the shotgun seat on the van. But, not being an English speaker, she didn't know all she had to do was yell "shotgun" to get it. Instead, she actually elbowed her way—well, to the extent her walker would allow—past her fellow van riders to get from the front door of her building to the front door of the van. In the five minutes it took me to stretch out my hamstrings. I witnessed this about once a week and I always thought hey! free blog post idea! but by the time I'd run my miles and gotten home and showered I'd forgotten all about it.

Until this morning!

The woman had clearly kept up her 6:00 elbow game all winter, and she was combat-ready and in it to win it this morning as I emerged from our front door to unlock my hamstrings in the early-morning sun. The van pulled up just as I took off running, though, so I didn't get to see if she brought home the gold.

But I assume I have all summer to find out. At least until the world ends in a vile, repellent heap of man-on-man, woman-on-woman, straight-marriage-destroying unholy unions.

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