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October 29, 2007

running out of excuses

as most of you know, much of my Southern California surroundings went up in smoke this week. although i live in an area that was not actually burning, the air was heavy and acrid most of the last few days, and all our windowsills disappeared under a fine layer of ash. the cars are filthy, and i have noticed poor Iku expending much more energy than usual trying to clean himself in vain.
today, strong cool winds swept in and cleaned things up a bit. i have been really restless, and honestly not feeling all that great lately. there has been an advisory to stay indoors when possible because of the soot and ash, which of course produces a great desire in me to be not indoors. yeah, i'm the girl who would never think of touching something until she sees the "DO NOT TOUCH" sign and then is overwhelmed by a burning need to just, uh, sorta, uh, lightly poke it...
so despite my general disdain hatred for jogging, i decided i was going to run to the top of the hill next to our neighbourhood and back, darn it all. at first, when this crazy idea popped into my head, i tried to make all sorts of excuses as to why this was a terrible idea, from pretending that i needed to tend the simmering chicken stock to imagining my kneecap popping out of its proper patella place. but i can't stand being so jumpy in my own skin, and i needed desperately to feel more alive. and if i had to wreck a knee to do so, by golly, i would.
ok fine, i'm just being dramatic. there were no hadashis harmed in the making of this run, and i can honestly say... (gulp!) i enjoyed it. there. i said it. i enjoyed the run. it did make me feel more alive, more vital, just having the sensation of wind flowing over my skin. i smiled at a lot of dog walkers and baby stroller pushers along the way. i saw a lot of kids taking advantage of the last hour of light, playing outside. i saw a lot of stressed-out people commuting home (except the guy driving the Domino's Pizza car. he was super happy. maybe because he always has the smell of warm fresh pizza surrounding him?). i passed a lot of houses with stunningly elaborate Halloween decoration, including one house that looked like an entire shipping container of cotton webbing had barfed on it. i smelled more than one barbeque in progress. and i witnessed another spectacular sunset, most likely courtesy of a half-million charred acres of SoCal land.
watching that sky, i realised there are a finite number of sunsets i will ever get to see, and so it would behoove me to savour each one. this led me to think about the finite number of steps i will ever take, which made me wonder if it was really necessary to run through this particular chunk of them so quickly. i generally move too quickly, and have recently begun trying to be choicefully more present in my little bubble of personal space -- probably why i was better than usual on this run at noticing the details of my 'hood. all the stories of loss and lament this week have revealed as important truths ideas that masquerade during better times as simple platitudes: "don't be possessed by your possessions." "never save something for a special occasion; every day in your life is a special occasion." "that (wo)man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest." maybe even "savour every sunset..."
in any case, as i now am trying to flex my creaking knees after coming home and making a butternut squash risotto, i'm annoyed to admit that there are meditative benefits to an evening run that an hour of kickboxing does not provide. they say your tastes can change as you get older, but seriously, what's next? might i actually start liking snow?

by the way, please excuse the broken archives and comments; due to a recent upgrade in templates, even i cannot comment on my own blog. i have told my very generous hostess that this is not a huge priority to fix, since she has a lot of other things (like making rent, or having lunch with me) that are more important uses of her time. don't worry, it'll all be back up & running sooner than later.

Posted by hadashi at 9:58 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2007

old farts

these days, with this current show i'm on, my work days don't start until late afternoon. this gives me time to do other things like sleep in, volunteer teach adult ESL, get tedious errands done, and generally put off doing anything that involves the computer for even longer. yesterday, i decided to tackle the Tedious Errands thing, and carefully plotted my route so that i could get Four Whole Tedious Errands done in one trip. i was heading home, feeling very pleased with myself about my efficiency, when i pulled up at a red stoplight. being that this is season-indifferent Southern California, it is still quite toasty and so my window was rolled all the way down. my smug little reverie was interrupted as another car with all its windows down, came screeching to a halt next to me.

Woman Driver: [shouting at the top of her lungs] SHUT UP LEROY YOU OLD FART!
Man Passenger: [shouting at the top of his lungs] I WILL NOT! YOU LISTEN YOU OLD WINDBAG!

they were so loud, they sounded like they could be in the backseat of my wee car. i carefully slid my gaze to the left. beside me was a battered old white Corolla with tangles of bright cheap Mardi Gras plastic beads wound around the rearview mirror. the passenger was a Santa Claus look-a-like, but wearing a faded Hawaiian shirt and a red trucker's cap. of course his name would be Leroy. the driver was a small African-American woman with glasses larger than her entire face and with a large bead necklace thing.

Giant Glasses Lady: WHY SHOULD I LISTEN TO YOU LEROY! YOU JUST TALK TO HEAR YOURSELF!
Faux Santa: SO DO YOU! AND YOU'RE THE OLD FART!

i attempted to mind my own business, but with them yelling like that, it was impossible. instead i stealthily adjusted my mirror so i could see them. hey, don't judge! you would've done the same.

GGL: I AM NOT AN OLD FART! YOU ARE!
FS: WHATEVER, OLD FART! YOU'RE THE ONE WHO WANTS TO ARGUE!
GGL: SO DO YOU LEROY! SO! DO! YOU!
and with that, she snapped the radio on to drown out whatever he was going to say.

Fuzzy AM Radio: AND THE LAWD SAY-YED UNTO HIM, DO YEW TRUST ME? NOW WHEN THE LAWD SAY-YEZ DO YEW TRUST ME, WHAT SHOULD OW-WAH RESPONSE BE? ALWAYS YES LAWD YES!
***i blink rapidly in disbelief***

although Southern Baptist preachers often can drown out everything around them, this particular use of Christian talk radio was not effective at all. as they drove away from the light i could still hear them, along with the blaring radio: "PRAISE JAY-SUS YOU OLD FART!!!"

Posted by hadashi at 10:08 PM | Comments (1)