August 4, 2018

from couch to marathon

Yesterday, I ran a marathon.

No, I didn't.  I don't run.  Unless I'm being chased by a wild animal or a well-meaning fundamentalist Christian going door to door.  But these instances are mercifully rare.

I don't even jog.  I walk.  But this was a driving marathon, and I can drive all day long.  Which is good, because that is exactly what I did.

I started the day with a haircut at Great Clips.  I checked in online, which made my wait time only forty minutes instead of two hours.  Usually I get right in, but I learned that Friday mornings is when the more gentrified residents of my small town get their hair cut, blued, or styled.  It reminded me of Grandma, who would visit the Beauty Parlor downtown every Saturday morning and sit under one of those dryer machines for an hour while reading an outdated copy of Reader's Digest, the same one she'd read dozens of times.  I think Grandma knew her stylist, Phyllis, better than she knew her own children.  She always tipped her a crisp one-dollar bill.

The lobby of Great Clips was full of white-haired men and women.  When my turn came, I sat at the stylist's station and noted the envelope of crisp one-dollar bills, given in a spirit of genuine gratitude that was frozen in time thirty years ago, while she snipped and locks of my brown hair fell on top of the wisps of white hair on the floor.

I mailed a package of clothes I'd sold on eBay at the post office.

I dropped off three boxes of clothes and household miscellany at the Goodwill truck sitting alone in an otherwise unused parking lot.

I took some computer batteries to the environmental recycling center, which was all kinds of noble because normally I find it within me to not give a shit and to toss them into the trash, which is one hundred percent what you are not supposed to do because it causes landfill cancer and poisons our ground water and makes our young children glow in the dark.  No one has stopped to consider how useful having our kids glow in the dark could be, but I'm expected to conform to social standards.

I gassed up the van.  The screen at the Speedway played videos and blaring music even when I was unscrewing my gas cap and inserting my debit card and telling it I didn't want a receipt.  And one of the speakers inside it was broken, so the sound was all shitty-stereo crackly while I stood pumping gas and sang not-really-all-that-quietly to myself to block out the noise.

I went to my appointment with the ex-monk, and we agreed that all was going well in what felt like a pointless session that we could have easily held over the phone.  I have to admit that it was good to celebrate the lithium's efficacy with him.  I don't feel bad about forgetting to mark my mood chart for two weeks and then filling it in all at once, because I more or less know the right place to put the dots.  There are fluctuations but they are mild and far-between.  I add those in to reduce suspicion and make it look like I totally do this on a daily basis like I'm supposed to do.

I deposited a van load of broken-down cardboard at yet another recycling center, since the battery place didn't accept anything except batteries and old computer monitors and television sets.  I secretly want to work there so I can find out if they open the stuff up and risk their lives cracking open cathode ray tubes and dealing with poisonous chemical leaks.  I like to believe there are explosions inside that building and that they have exciting jobs living on the edge.  I would not want to work at the center that involves sitting in a tiny stall of a building watching people put cardboard in large bins.  I would implode from an acute case of existential crisis by the end of the first week.

I picked up my son's friend, who will be spending the weekend at our house, helping my son trash his room.  Now with double the indifference to chaos!

I picked up my kid back at home.

I drove to the grocery store so they could pick out seven hundred thousand calories in snackage and beverages.  (They will claim today that there is absolutely nothing to eat in the house.)  While they ran loose in the store with a cart, standing in the cracker aisle calling it racist instead of doing what they were supposed to be doing, I set about trying to find some of those miniature serve-at-a-party quiches at the grocery store.  P.J. needs them for a work function on Monday.  I looked through all of the frozen food three times and was about to ask an associate for assistance; then I remembered that less than a month ago, I was looking for a carton of Pour-A-Quiche in the same store, and I did ask for help that night, and two people came to help me look for quiche in any form, but no one could find any.  They looked in the back.  They made some phone calls, but no quiche was to be had.

So I stood there last night, bereft of quiche, and it dawned on me that I was crazier than I had realized because a) obviously they didn't have what I was looking for, and b) I came within an inch of asking them again, which would have given me the reputation of That Quiche Lady and I would never be able to set foot in there again, because odds are I'd be buying eggs and cheese and scallions and bacon bits, for reasons totally independent of all that is quiche, like a savory galette that happened to look like quiche, but they wouldn't understand and they would exchange knowing glances, which I would pretend to ignore, but we all would know.

Then I crossed the finish line all sweaty with a number on my chest and got to drive home and stay there.  My eyelids were drooping.

Oh, wait.  Then I had to run out and pick up the pizza and wings for the kids.

Do people run a cool-down after a marathon?  Because I wouldn't know.

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