Her Tormented Cry

I went to bed at 10:05 Monday night, but was wakened a little after 11 to a woman protesting and moaning.  At first it started out as complaining, heavily seasoned with swearing.  “Get the f—away from me.  F—you.”

Two thoughts entered my mind; there was a mentally confused person roaming around our complex, or somebody was instigating a conflict.  Either way, I considered intervening.  I was prepared to either steer her away from our quiet apartment complex or act on her behalf.

I let thirty seconds pass, just to make sure this was not the drunken ramblings of a party-goer on her way to bed.  The swearing and anger continued, so I walked out my door, climbed up the stairs, and followed the noise.

11949848291603956253paramedic_cross_01.svg.medIn the parking lot I found the source of the complaints.  A body was laying, unwillingly, on a gurney.  Surrounding her were at least seven EMTs and officers.  I thought I heard the clicking of handcuffs as they restrained her.

Seeing that my presence was not needed, I made my way back down the stairs.  But I could not bring myself to go back inside.  The woman was still crying out for help.  I crouched down and sat outside my door.  If she was going to yell this loudly, the least I could do was provide a captive audience.

“Leave me alone.  F—you.  That hurts!  Will you take that off my leg!  That f—ing hurts!  F—you!  This is why I don’t ask for help.  You’re hurting me!  Stop!  Get that off my leg!  F—you!  I need my phone.  Mom!  I’m sorry.  That really really hurts.  Will you please take it off?  F—you.  You like hurting people!  Leave me alone!”

I had never heard a person go through that kind of agony before.  I kept praying for peace.  I kept hoping that she would find relief at some point.  She clearly did not want the kind of help that the medics and police were offering.

Between the ranting, the attendees asking if she had any needles on her, I have to assume that drug use was involved.

I am around people that are drunk, people that are homeless, and people that are mentally disabled on a regular basis.  This was something more.  This was a full-on melt-down.  It was something like one would see on ER.  With the notable exception being that this was happening right in my parking lot.

We do not live the rough life of the gritty city.  We have roofs over our heads.  We have raccoons, beavers, and herons in our backyards. Free parking, fire hydrants, bus stops, local parks; with our situation, what do we have to suffer?

I wondered about the mom.  The mom who was not in the parking lot.  The mom who did not bring out her cell phone.  The mom who probably called the police on her own daughter.  The mom who was tired of fighting with her child.

She had to know that the neighbors heard.  She had to wonder if she will get the reputation as “that resident”.  Does her daughter really hate her?  How is she going to pay for all this?  Does she feel responsible for the situation her daughter is in?

mother-fun-baby-happy-56620I do not envy that mother one bit.  My heart goes out to her.

Where was the group of people gathered in a circle praying for the troubled girl?  (We see it in the movies, so where are they?)  If there is any cause to ask for God’s help, surely this is it.  So why were there no neighbors checking in?  Or, like me, were they huddled in their doorway, trying not to make things worse.  (I cannot imagine that the EMTs’ job is made any easier by busy-bodies crowding around.)

If I did not think EMTs and police officers were heroic before…  They took it. All the cursing.  The yelling.  The rage that seemed to ceaselessly pour out of this woman.  I did not hear any of them whisper soothing phrases of comfort.  I doubt the woman would have heard it if they did.  I would guess that the workers have to desensitize themselves in these instances; numb themselves to the patient’s pain.  As a counselor friend of mine once told me, “You can’t take on the other person’s baggage.  You can offer an ear, but you can’t live it yourself.”  Or, as a Superman comic told me, “Their pain isn’t actually yours. That’s why you’re in a position to help.”

I heard the back doors of the ambulance close.  The woman never stopped protesting.  Her voice never stopped, it only dimmed until the car drove away.

I told myself that it was “over”.  That the incident had passed.  Back to your routines, people.  However I could not let myself return to my life just yet.  I went upstairs, and walked towards the four policemen that were still in the parking lot by their squad cars.

As I approached, they looked up, acknowledging my presence.  Here comes a concerned neighbor, wondering what’s up.  Sandals, shorts, t-shirt covered in… what is that, cat hair?

There were plenty of questions I wanted to ask them.

“What, drugs?”  “Dude, what the sam hill?”  “What apartment was she from?”  “Am I supposed to be concerned or…?”  “Did you guys make an arrest or were you just here to keep the peace?”  “I did hear handcuffs, right?  Was that the EMTs or you?”

Instead, I asked the only thing that felt appropriate.  The only phrase that I knew needed an answer, even if they could not respond.

“I know it’s none of my business, but is she going to be okay?”

“Oh yeah”, one of them replied nonchalantly.  “She’s on her way to the hospital.”

It still throws me that a guy, probably younger than me, is already unstartled by this sort of activity.  As though this scene has played out before him dozens of times and he is already used to it.

He was not alone.  While this scene was playing out, my upstairs neighbor was having sex with his girlfriend.  Because, you know, you can attend to the madness outside or you can enjoy your favorite Monday night routine.  Besides, if a woman is going to writhe about, moan, and use the “f” word, he might as well be the cause of it (and get his mattress squeaking too).

cat-13476279941LsThat theory about cats sensing your emotional needs?  A load of crap.  I came back to my cat lying on her spot on the couch.  I tried to hug her, tried to take some sort of comfort from my feline acquaintance.  She would have none of it.  She wanted to go back to sleep.  Or be fed.  Then go back to sleep.  No need for sentimentality.

Days later and the woman’s cries are still in my ears.  That night offered no break from the instant replay in my mind.  The rest of the world kept moving.  The upstairs neighbor took his shower.  The plumbing works at it is supposed to.  My cat is back on her couch, sleeping like she is supposed to.  The last bus of the night drove by, just as scheduled.  And the neon clock in my bedroom keeps scrolling through the minutes, passing time as it designed to.

Hopefully the woman’s life can get back to normal soon.  Not her kind of normal, but the kind of normal that the rest of us fight for day after day.  A life where there is hope and purpose and healthy relationships.

Wriggling and screaming, calling out for help and not feeling heard, thinking that people are torturing her and taking her where she does not want to go; essentially stripping her of her freedom.  To me that sounds like the very definition of damned.

I typed this at two o’clock in the morning.  My bus was set to go three hours later.  I was supposed to go back to sleep and let it all slip into yesterday.  I should not absorb on her pain.  Let life resume its course.

Life has never made less sense to me.

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If Jesus Wrote Corporate Memos

Corporate speak is silly.  God has a sense of humor.  So what say we combine the two?

(You shouldn’t have to click on all the links.  But if you would like to check my work/ reference the scriptures, they have been provided for you.)

————————————–

From: Jesus

To: My Followers

Re: Upcoming Structural and Procedural Changes within our Organization

Dear Disciples,

As I sit here, pondering over the challenges that face me, and us, in the days ahead, I feel assured that the Gethsemane Recreational Retreat was a wise idea.  I feel that we are where we are supposed to be.  There is a restful environment about this place.

I am actually a bit concerned that this environment is too restful.  I just went to check on those “standing guard” and found them asleep at their post.  I only left them moments ago, yet I fear that I will find them relaxing when I go and check on them again.  (Reminder:  “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back“)  However, there are more pressing matters to deal with.

First off, let us go through some refreshers.  I feel that, though these practices were implemented long ago, a reminder or two should be offered.  This will allow us to synchronize our priorities and our protocols as we move into the next phase.

—All our welcome.  Any who wish to take part in our activities are encouraged and invited to do so.  They may be foreigners, tax collectors, live in burial caves, lepers, or simply those that are known for living sinful lives.

490px-JesuswithChildren–Childcare is provided.  There was apparently some confusion in this area.  Let me state that children are welcome.  They may approach your supervisor and engage him in conversation.  I understand that you fully embrace your roles as protectors and take that position seriously.  However chasing off children should not be a default response.  We adhere to an open-door policy.

—We do not engage in violence.  We do not cut off body parts.  All agreed to a moral clause when we enrolled.  Should you, as an example, feel the need to cut off someone’s ear?  Expect to be rebuked in showing initiative on such matters.

—No showboatingHumbleness is a trait which will always be pivotal to our organization’s key values.  We should embrace it and focus our collective efforts on servitude, not promotions.

—As was explained during your orientation, we are unable to provide a 401(k), stocks, or anything approaching a sizable financial windfall.  You should have understood that you agreed to work with a very non-profit group.  However, I do believe that you have all been compensated well for you time and efforts, and foresee that any further hardships will be outweighed by the benefits package which has been detailed on numerous occasions.

—In particular, I would like to point out that our retirement plan is the best ever offered.  The perks there are too numerous to detail in this memo.  Rest assured, your needs are seen to (which is true now and in future years).  Also, please remember that a bonus in the form of twelve baskets of fish and bread were offered as a bonus not all that long ago.

The_Denial_of_St._Peter_-_Gerard_Seghers_-_Google_Cultural_Institute

The Denial of St. Peter

—Bringing animals/ pets to work is not encouraged.  I love all God’s creations.  However, it has been brought to my attention that one of you suffers emotionally in the proximity of roosters.  With respect to our coworkers’ mental states, we should not exacerbate such conditions.  Also, as has been shown, should a donkey or other mode of transportation be required, one will be provided by the higher-ups.  There is no need to bring your animals to work and seek reimbursement or compensation for mileage.

—I am not entirely opposed to consuming wine while on duty.  You folks are constantly on call, working overtime, or volunteering for special projects in your off-time.  So yes, celebration is allowed.  (Moderation is encouraged and please exercise your best judgment at all times.)

I would like to restate my love and affection for all of you.  We are in hopeful times.  There is much cause for you to rejoice.  And of course, love your God and your neighbors.

We know that industrial espionage can occur, even in the best work environments.  When we do come across such matters, it is best to follow-through on our procedures of forgiveness.

resurrection_of_jesus_4I have constantly been updating you about our progress and the upcoming changes.  Further steps are being taken as we speak.  I trust that you will realign your actions to perpetuate positive outcomes in the following quarter.  Honestly, I have laid out these changes on countless occasions to you guys.  I really need you to increase your willingness to take over some of the roles I have assumed.  This work needs all of you giving your best.  Just because you do not move up a tier, does not mean you are not important to me.  Change is coming.  Step up.

That being said, if anyone has wisdom as to the next few days?  Any sort of divine inspiration?  A gentle breeze?  Fiery bush?  Seriously, any insight from God would be welcome.  I am trying to come to peace with the next big presentation that I have to make.  I am aware that the crowd I am addressing may be hostile.  I fully anticipate harsh criticisms and blowback from the statements I will make.  I am prepared, as the head of this group, to take the brunt of their criticisms.  However, should you have any suggestions on how to differently achieve our end goal; I am quite willing to embrace a different strategy.  Anybody?  Guys?  Come see me if you have a proposal ready.  (Even in rough form.)

Know that you are an integral asset in our organization.  Our continued growth, development, and advancement rest on your enthusiasm and dedication.  If you can coalesce, we will achieve success.  I will always be with you, but I promise, not matter how much I have tried to prepare you; big changes (and surprises) are in store.

Things will be a little chaotic for me the next few business days.  I will be quite busy.  (I may even set an “Out of Office” status.)  However, rest assured that we will continue these conversations in a few days.  I look forward to seeing most of you then.

With love,

Jesus

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The Enemy Lurks at Our Door

The Enemy Lurks at Our Door

My neighbors are nothing but trouble.  Oh sure, the fellow who lives on the opposite side of the staircase seems nice enough.  We know each other’s names.  We say “Hi” when we happen to be coming or going at the same time.  However, he is a borderline pyromaniac.  How else can one describe his insatiable love for setting off the smoke detector?

In many living arrangements, a smoke detector would not be a cause of great concern.  Like sirens whooshing down a busy street, one accepts it as part of city living.  Yet In our complex, all the smoke detectors are hooked up to one big alarm system.  So, in an attempt to keep us all from catching fire, if one smoke detector goes off for too long, the entire building’s alarm activates.  We all evacuate, all grumble, and all look at each other, wondering who messed up as we wait for the fire department.

You could claim that he merely has more than his fair share of cooking “incidents”.  I do not know if he is trying to barbecue or stir fry or what.  But at least six times his smoke detector has gone off, he props his front door open, and a billow of smoke comes out.  He has to see it coming, right?  Surely his cooking sensibilities must kick in at some point?

You may claim that he has different dietary tastes than I and is willing to suffer for his culinary arts.  He may want to share the experience of fine dining with me, but since he only made enough food for one, he offers up the smell of smoke for me to savor in the comfort of my own apartment.  I maintain:  Pyro.  A pyro who slams his door every flippin’ time he comes or goes.  Harumph.

Then there is the upstairs neighbor.  Dear word.  The cellular phone that has its alarm set for 3:15 a.m.  (No please, hit the snooze so I hear it again in twenty minutes.  Sounds delightful.)  Recently the sound of violin practice has kicked in.  (You’re a grown man.  Play better!  At least attempt something more complicated.)  I can tell you exactly what nights his female acquaintance comes in, what times they have felt most amorous, and who is having the most enjoyment at certain times.  (There is no way that bed’s warrantee covers some of those activities.)

That is apartment life.  It comes with not having to replace washing machines, roofs, or water heaters.  Good and bad.  However, at no point in my lease negotiation did I see anything about neighbors stomping on your ceiling.

It sounds like he is sprinting.  RunrunrunTHUMP.  THUMP THUMP.  RunrunTHUMPRunrun.  I did the “bang on the ceiling” bit once to subtly suggest that he knock it off.  However I like to think that we can tolerate each other’s obnoxious times.  Perhaps my 5 a.m. movie watching annoys them?  How am I to know unless they complain?

So I sucked it up.  It could be the guy is trying to stay in shape.  (I have seen him once.  His shirt was very snug against his healthy physique. See above about fun with female acquaintance.)  As near as I could tell, he was sprinting, hefting a weight, throwing it down, and sprinting back.  I argue that this sort of activity could take place in a gym.  Or he could prove his manliness by setting down the weight softly and slowly.  Regardless, I tried to go to my happy place.  If I did not mind, then it did not matter.

That technique was not working.  Every time the RunrunrunTHUMP took place I could feel myself getting more irritated.  I do not like to initiate confrontation.  But come now.  Enough is enough.

I went upstairs.  I knocked on the door.  (Not, “Brute Squad” loud.  “Audible”.)  There was no response.  No sounds were made from people scurrying towards me.  I was deciding whether to let it go or knock again when I heard something.  A small, eager little voice called out from the next room, “You can’t get me.”

Well, crap.  There’s a kid.

When the gal comes over she sometimes has her kid in tow.  That explains that simplistic violin playing.  (I hope.)  That explains why I sometimes hear three sets of toilet flushing within an hour.  (I was wondering about that guy’s diet.)  And it explains the running back and forth.  In an attempt to be an active father-figure, he is entertaining the small child.

Now I cannot complain anymore.  (About the kid that is; that bedroom is a whole other situation.)  Kids are supposed to be young and energetic.  They are supposed to chase and be chased.  And they are supposed to be lousy at playing instruments that they are forced to practice with by artistic-minded parents so they can sound less-lousy in the future.  Now that I understand the situation, my annoyance has decreased greatly.

I have found this to be true of many interactions with my life.  I have often heard it said that, “A person is smart; people are stupid.”  Rather harsh, unsympathetic, but it is often how we see people.  I had some media telling me that people from other regions were out to steal my job.  Then I met a perfectly nice woman from that group and she could not be a more pleasant, charming sweetheart.

Folks that have no homes do not have the greatest reputation.  They can be seen as a drain on resources, lazy, dangerous, or a nuisance.  Yet everyone in my store has a soft spot for a certain individual who has no formal residence.  His demeanor, his quiet nature, and his respectful tone have made him someone that we all look out for.

The list goes on and on.  People of different skin color.  Folks that have been in sororities or fraternities.  Geeks.  Jocks.  This or that political party.  Trekkies vs. Star Wars.  We form opinions based on the groups or categories that these people belong to.  We could even perceive that they belong to a certain group without it actually being true.

As I am reminded, it is easier to care about a person once we know a little bit more about them.  Humanize the person, if you will.  When we were told to “Love thy neighbor”, I was the target audience on that one.  Know the person; then their quirks are a little less vexing.

We can probably work it out.  However, if the wannabe Wok-Wonder burns our whole place to the ground?  Then I might actually have to say something to him about our little situation.

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It Came from Under the Pavement…

Normally I walk through downtown Seattle and ignore the crazy things.  One gets to work faster if they ignore all the diversions.

However, somethings simply cannot be overlooked.

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Why is there a smokestack in the middle of the street?  As in, the middle of a three-lane road?

Having no answers, I choose to make them up.  So…

My Notions of Why There is a Smokestack

  • The Seattle Underground, tired of being ignored for a century, is making inroads (get it?) into the surface world.  It started off as sewer grates.  Then came those elevators that rose up out of the sidewalk.  Now; metallic smokestacks.  Soon: The City.  One day… the world.
  • The Morlocks.  You know… The Time MachineH.G. Wells.  Yeah, them.
  • Steampunk just took it to a whole other level.  (Ba-dump.)
  • The newest trend in building:  Start at the roof and work your way from there… upside down!  The chimney is installed, next comes the roof!  And, just to be different, they build it, not on a traditional plot, but in the middle of the road.  Non-conformity; because who wants houses that blend in?
  • The Underground Railroad is back.  But somebody took a wrong turn and got the train stuck. (P.S. Read Brad Meltzer’s new book.  Seriously.  It has pictures.)
  • Millennials.  No reason or logic.  However, it seems to be the current trend to blame Millennials.  (Or, whatever political party spoke last.)  So yeah, Millennials.  (Shrug)  I dunno.
  • We are finally going back to a pneumatic tube delivery system.  Hooray!
  • A truck was driving around with a series of large pipes and one of them fell off.  It plummeted with such velocity that it embedded itself in the pavement.  Smoke resulted.
  • New nuclear missile silos are getting smaller and more public.  Also, really obvious to the casual observer.
  • The city’s newest garbage cans are only for its tallest residents.
  • Park your pogo stick here.  (Disembarking is the hard part.)

Thoughts?  Ideas?  Answers?

And yes, if you have some sort of civil engineering background, you can leave the real answer as to what is happening.  (If you must…)

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Trying Out: 2017 Index

Trying Out: The Wrap-Up

I survived.

_DSC3719 (800x670)I told myself I would try to do something new or challenging every week. Some were a bit much. Some were rather mundane. But I did one each week. (I did take a week off. However, I put in a fifty-third week to cover my bases.)

There were several reasons why I started this experiment.

-I did not want to sit at home each and every day. I like being home. I like sitting around with a cat and reading. Yet there is more to life than being comfortable on my couch. I wanted to push myself to get out in that great big world. (Well, not too much. I am still passport-less.)

-I wanted to have more to talk about. “What did you do last night?” “How was your weekend?” The go-to replies were: “I went to church and then went home.” “I had a long day at work so I went home and collapsed.” Those answers were still valid most days. However, I was allowed to pepper in a few different replies. “I drove down to see a friend in Oregon.” “I went to a museum.” “Some guy pushed me out of a plane, but we walked away as friends.” Variety, spice of life; you know how it is.

-I wanted to meet new people. My friends have been busy. No blame, no raging at the heavens; folks have kids and get new jobs and schedules get crammed. I figured that if I was out in the world, I might run into new interesting people out there. Truthfully, I never really met anyone. Most of that is because I like to stick to myself. Why interact with people when you can focus on the exhibit in front of you? Also, I did most of my activities when there were few people around. (Less traffic and fewer crowds are all well and good, but, no surprise, it means less people to engage.)

Then there are the reasons that presented themselves after I had finished my adventures.

mylrtmp1-I surprised myself. I like to think I know myself pretty darn well. I am usually inside my brain enough that I know how I will react. Still, I learned a thing or two. Self-discovery is hardly the worst side effect of getting out there. I am still capable of running without too much pain. I have very little freak-out capacity, even as I am falling at terminal velocity. And losing my cat did not completely and utterly wreck me. (Though it certainly made a sizable dent; I still miss her.)

-I got to reconnect with friends. Some things are better with buddies. That drive to Oregon would have been more pleasant with company. I found that out after taking two trips with a certain friend and being surprised at how quickly the time seemed to pass with them chatting away. Going to a park where you are required to pair off could be an opportunity to meet folks, except when everyone else comes as couples. Having a family member along made it much easier. I do not need someone to help me redecorate a wall. Now there are times when having another person in a museum is annoying because they cannot shut up. In the end, it is nice to be able to have the option of saying, “Hey, I was going to do this thing. Care to join me?”

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-I surprised some people. I like getting a reaction. I am a stable individual. Folks usually know what to expect from me. Thus it is rewarding and gratifying to have those that have known me for decades raise their eyebrows. “You did what yesterday?!” –my sister. “I can’t believe you did that.” –my mom. “I can’t believe you did that” –my boss (she said this repeatedly about one trip. She still says it). I like knowing that I can still leave people guessing.

That about wraps it up. I will not stop trying new things. If they are interesting, I will write them up like their brethren. However, I no longer feel the need to find something to do each and every week. (I have pretty much exhausted the museums and parks in my neighborhood. There are some left, but not that many.) Plus, I would like to catch up on all the reading that has been piling up. I am not retiring, simply slowing down a little.

Just in case you missed any of the shenanigans, here is the complete list:

Thanks for tagging along.

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Trying Out: New (Year’s Eve) Park (Week 53)

Trying Out: Wayne Golf Course Bothell’s Brand-New Park (Week Fifty-Three)

IMG_0206 (768x1024)

Snow to end your year with.

I had never walked through a golf course.  Oh sure, I had taken the one week course in high school P.E. which consisted entirely of trying to hit a ball across a field, ideally in a straight line.  But golfing?  Completing nine, let alone eighteen holes?  Nope.  I had watched Happy Gilmore on a few occasions and thought that would be more fun.

I used to walk past a golf course on a regular basis.  I say “used to”, not because I stopped walking past it, but because the space ceased to be a golf course.  They put up an “applying for a permit” sign.  The golf carts started to disappear.  I assumed that, as always happens, the big beautiful space would be paved over and turned into a hundred new houses.  All of them would be shaped the same, all would be overly industrial-looking, and all would be out of the local population’s price range.

That almost happened.  It did not.  In mid-December I walked past this sign.

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A new park!  Not a housing development, but open land!  Thank God.

So, for my New Year’s Eve activity, I took a stroll through the new park.  (New year approaching, new purpose for the land; it seemed appropriate enough.  Out with the old and in with the new.)

Even with my long legs, it took me an hour to walk through it all.  The park is adjacent to a major walking/biking trail.  It is located on both sides of a river.  And within walking distance are two more, much smaller, local parks.

I kept thinking of all the potential the park had.  The hard work had already been done.  Thanks to the golf carts, paths already ran through the entirety of the space.  There is a walkway that goes underneath a local street.  Trees are plentiful.  The grass is a little squishy and muddy, but it works fine for now.  All they really had to do was add a few garbage cans and some signs.  Plus, it comes with the requisite, “What does that shed exist for?” building that all parks need!

IMG_0209 (1024x768)The city can do whatever they want with this park.  They could put in barbecue shelters.  They could add basketball courts.  Or honestly, they could leave it as is.  Acres and acres; room enough for all.  Although if the morning I visited was any indication, this park will go to the dogs.  I was the only person there without a canine companion.

In short, I got to walk all the holes without the nuisance of carrying a heavy bag or keeping score.  The city got a new public space.  And the year ended with trees and fields getting priority over three-car garages and cookie-cutter residences.  Huzzah!

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Trying Out: Half-Marathon (Week 52)

Trying Out: One More Long Run (Week Fifty-Two)

As I have stated before, my history of running wore my knees out.  I logged eight or so miles once a week and ten times a year I would go for a hilly half-marathon.  Fifteen years of running puts a lot of strain on the body.

 

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Plus, the view’s nice too.

Like The Rookie, like Rocky; I wanted one last shot at the title.  I still had a lot of energy ready to dispel.  But my legs could not take it.  Right?

 

I am pretty stubborn when it comes to saying good bye.  I like to have closure.  I went online, found some knee braces, and winced a lot.  I tried acupuncture.  I massaged my knees.

Meanwhile, my former running partner spent the year running every single day.  Gah.  And she was running marathons.  Her husband was accepted to the Boston Marathon.  Come on!

One week I jogged three miles.  Then five miles.  As long as my knee braces cooperated, it was manageable.  The acupuncture really did help, but I could not afford the cost for long.  However it reset my body just enough.

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And you can see the sights while you’re outdoors.

I logged six miles.  That got my confidence up.  I told myself that I would have my good-bye to jogging.  I wanted my last thirteen mile trek.

So around November I forced myself to keep going.  I made a habit of running six miles again.  And it hurt.  I had a new appreciation for women whose bodies had been changed after giving birth.  I knew what I had been capable off, but my body had changed a bit.  Why could I not do what had once come so easily?

Then, two weeks ago, I logged nine and a half miles.  That was when I knew it was doable.  A few days later I went for an eleven mile walk to keep my legs happy.  Then that weekend, I clock twelve miles.  A few days after that, I logged twelve and still felt pretty decent.

Most folks were content to sleep in on Christmas Eve.  It was thirty-three degrees outside and we are weather wimps.  Of all the people at Greenlake, I was the only one in short-sleeves.  (I did see one gal’s forearms, but she had a jacket tied around her waist.  So I maintain my claim.)  Long sleeves and jackets vex me when running.  All I had to do was run fast enough and I would warm right up.  That theory had always worked before.

The first six miles, I kept my fingers curled up inside the palm of their gloves.  I kept IMG_0180_(800x421)[1]squeezing in time with my feet.  That is the nice part about running all those years.  The body remembers.  I had already trained myself to adopt certain paces, breathe a certain way, and shift through those as needed.  I did not have to focus on how to adjust my gait; it took care of itself.  Muscle memory: it really does work.

IMG_0168_(543x800)[1]All of the pesky elements stayed home for the holidays.  My knee brace’s Velcro held.  It did not rain.  I did not have to pee.  All those annoying little quirks were absent.   I was free to let my mind empty itself and enjoy the outdoors.  And that is the whole point of running for me.

My legs got a little sore, but hills will do that.  My arms turned a little red from the cold, but that is why you wear gloves in winter.  My knees had a few things to say, but they did not yell.   Sure enough, I was able to complete my own little half-marathon.  Since I had avoided hills (not a kneecap’s friend), I accomplished it in record time.  Go figure.

I was rather pleased.  God had let me have one last go at it.  I got my “good-bye”.  But we all know I probably will not stop with that.  My plan is to log more half marathons.  Probably not ten a year like I used to; though once a year seems doable.  Apparently I still have some spring left in my step.

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