The photo of the week is of our cat, Jones, sitting on the back of the couch looking either sleepy or pissed. Not sure which. It really can go either way with him.
Recently, I discovered running at the Metrodome in Minneapolis on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Yes, that beleaguered building is at least good for providing exercise to runners too cheap to join a gym. Besides, it’s much better, if you need to run inside, to have a circumference like that of the Dome’s instead of a smaller track.
At the Dome, if one runs along the outer edge, 2 laps around equals roughly 1 mile. At the gym I used to belong to, it was something like 10-12 laps per mile.
Running is supposed to be a somewhat zen activity. The rhythm of the running helps you leave your worries behind. Or maybe it’s that you don’t have time to think when you’re trying to breathe. The Dome’s repetitious scenery helps this along – soon enough you’re lost in the loop of identical beer stands, doorways, DiGiorno pizza stands, etc. You have to stay somewhat alert to note a return to your starting point and tick off another lap.
But, at least for me, running in a group of other runners makes it harder to think, well, nothing. I simply trade my worries for thoughts about the people running with me. I wonder a lot about them as I run. I divide them into categories. When I forgot my iPod the other night I was reduced to eavesdropping on their conversations.
I have uncharitable thoughts. Here are some:
- I wonder if the guy who has the tattoo on the back of his calf of a man lifting a barbell over his head will one day regret it. Sure, that calf is nice and taut right now, making the weightlifter look appropriately muscled. But what if one day this man can no longer run? Or get much exercise? It would be sad to see the deflated weightlifter, a shell of his former self on a deflated calf.
- I don’t like pairs of young women who plan weddings as they run. If this makes me a horrible, old bitch, well… guilty. I don’t want to hear, as they glide effortlessly past me, about how one’s thoughtless aunt said she should have her wedding in her hometown so that more family could attend. I don’t want to hear about party favors and fish vs. chicken vs. beef.
- There are people for whom running is their entire lives. They even have “running crushes.” I heard a woman say, “Well, he was my first running crush.” She was very thin and had ropey calves. Her calves looked like Madonna’s arms.
- I don’t believe in barefoot running unless one is at the beach. I don’t believe in barefoot running at the Dome. I don’t like the way Barefoot Runner Woman’s feet slap the ground, pounding away any arches she once had. The look on her face scares me. She’s in a place where the rest of us can’t follow.
- While I’m running and thinking bad thoughts about Barefoot Runner Woman I start to think about Paula Deen. No, Paula Deen was not running at the Dome. But I found myself wishing that one of her legs would have to be removed due to gangrene from mismanaging her recently-announced diabetes. As I said, these are uncharitable thoughts that float up from nowhere, maybe due to the fact that running in a circle, even a very large circle, can get boring. I’m more than a bit annoyed that the woman who urged people to eat things like hamburgers on doughnuts now reveals she has diabetes and will profit from it due to a deal with Novo Nordisk, a drug manufacturer. Fuck you, Paula Deen.
- There is an older man, with sliver hair, who is always running at the Dome. He runs without his shirt. He looks great for his age, for any age. But I wonder about people who need that kind of attention; who simply cannot run with a shirt on even at the Dome. I wonder how much better a runner I’d have to be, and how much trimmer, before I would dare run in a sports bra and no t-shirt. For no particular reason, I think of Roger Sterling from Mad Men every time he laps me.
- A woman was jogging and talking on her cell phone at the same time. Not even exercise is a reason to “unplug” anymore. I think that’s sad. I don’t want to talk to anyone on the phone while I run. How would they understand me? Why would I care what they have to say? Unless they are calling to tell me I’ve come into a lot of money, I have no reason to talk to them. This woman who was running and talking on the phone… let’s just say she was not fit. She was heavy and she had to put a lot of effort into the entire thing, just to keep going. As I moved past her she gave up the running part, deciding that the conversation was more important.
- A lot of people talk about work as they run and a lot of people have very boring work. And they are worried about very boring things at work. It sort of drives home the point to me that, unless you are a stuntman, I don’t want to hear the details of your work.
Running at the Dome continues until the end of March and then, presumably, we will all be set free on the streets and trails again for another season.
Reading – The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011; some amazing work in this volume and I’m only halfway through. Also, guiltily finished Beauty Disrupted by Carre Otis last night. Skimmed the last 50 pages when she was working on her Buddhism and having kids. The bottom line, at least in my mind, is that getting only a 9th grade education can really put a hamper on your options in life. I mean, hooray for you if you can be a model but that doesn’t mean you’re going to make good decisions. Oh, and Mickey Rourke is an asshole. But we knew that, right?
Watching – The Last Days of Disco (1998). After I got through watching this I was like, “OK, why didn’t anyone ever tell me about this movie?” For a few minutes, I was actually pissed. Then I realized that it was silly. Because no one can be your pop culture mentor. What I mean is, I really loved this film and wondered why it took me over then years to find it.
I’ve now seen all three of Whit Stillman’s movies, having watched Barcelona over the weekend when it was shitty and cold and I didn’t want to leave the house. Once you get into the rhythm of Stillman’s humor and sarcasm, it’s terrific. Of his three films, Last Days of Disco is definitely the best. I said this in an earlier post, but he finally has another movie coming out this year and I am greatly anticipating it.
Anticipating: I never thought I’d say this, but I want to go to Arkansas. The reason? I must see the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Yeah, the one built by the Walmart heiress. I’ve done a lot of reading about this, and seen some stories on TV and I think, yeah, I want to go. The combination of art and nature at that spot would be highly enjoyable. Zen-like, even.