the answer, my friend …

They’re comin’ down the street
They’re comin’ right down the middle 
Look how they keep the beat 
Why they’re as blue as the ocean 
Oh, it’s all so nice 
Looks like angels have come down from Paradise 
Jolly Coppers On Parade

— the prophet randy newman


I’m on the track on a Saturday afternoon. It’s windy. I’m crabby. And surprised.

Three guys are on the soccer field next to the track. They are good. I judge soccer by how many balls the player has. Insert joke here. These guys have about 30 balls among the three of them. That’s serious in my book.

They’re going one on one, attempting free kicks while one guards as goalie. The guy in the yellow jersey has let a ball go by. His expletive of choice: “FASCIST!!!”

I have no idea why, or how, or what, but I love it. It’s now my favorite curse word.

I’m here because I slept through this morning’s 5K. The problem with morning 5Ks is that they happen in the morning, and I do not. But it was 27 bucks as a fundraiser for a school that needs the bucks, so all is well. Which brings me to the track.

I tend to find myself at the track when things veer out of control. The track requires nothing. Just a quarter-mile, it says. Just run one lap. No worries. One lap. Then we’ll see.

I run the straights and walk the curves. Run the straights and walk the curves. Run the straights and walk the curves.

These days I’m an old Wolkswagen, barely chugging along. But running the straights and walking the curves? I can do this.

It’s a warm, sunny day after a week of miserable cold, so the run is a delight. Every couple of laps I hear it: “FASCIST!!!” I want to yell, “GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL,” but I’m afraid of guys with that many balls.

Having missed the kid race this morning, I’m relieved that a 6-year-old is on the track with his parents. he’s doing the “run just far enough to jump in front of the old guy and stop” game. Fascist, I mutter under my breath. It’s lost on him. A fast guy is in lane one. He’s been here since before I arrived. He’s good. I’m jealous.

A big guy walking, a high jumper sunning himself. A kid pushing an abandoned shopping cart. Just another Saturday at the track.

I get in 4 miles before the garmeen gives me the low batt. God forbid I should continue to run without my miles measured to the hundredth, so I call it a day. The soccer players are packing up. The wind is whirling. As I throw away my plastic bag in the most environmentally friendly was possible, I am greeted by an impromptu ballet.

I watch for a minute, thinking how much like the bag I am. Drifting in circles. What does it all mean?

I don’t know. All I know is you run the straights, you walk the curves. You hope you wind up where you’re going. Or somewhere. Anywhere.

Maybe it’s not so bad being a fascist …

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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