Snapshots from a rainy day:
» I pull on my wool shirt, my fleece jacket, my marmot rain jacket, my neoprene booties, some shoes I don’t mind getting soaked, and head out into the elements. Rain and wind be damned; I’m running. I arrive at the track. It’s closed. I go to Chaparral. It’s open. I step out of the car. It’s freezing. I drive home. A solid 8-miler. All driving.
» I go to the neighborhood grocery store. Mo needs half and half for her coffee. Of all the people I’ve known in my life, Mo is my favorite by far. But don’t screw up the cream for her coffee. As I’m walking out, a guy is standing at the doorway. He has a beautiful dog; he’s standing right next to a large sign that says “NO DOGS ALLOWED.” He asks an employee if he could watch him for just a minute because he desperately needs to get something. The guy says he can’t. I tell him I can do it. He’s very grateful and says the dog won’t be a problem. He has no idea.
My new best friend jumps up on the bench next to the door and gets comfy, an eye toward the aisle his friend is headed down. I sit down next to him and scritch his ears. Instant pals. As we wait, I am barraged by compliments from people walking in who think he’s mine. “Great dog.” “Wow, he’s handsome.” “Look at those eyes!” I acknowledge the compliments, making a mental note that this would be a great babe magnet one day when I eventually screw up Mo’s cream.
A guy walks in, looks over, and is transfixed. “Is that an Australian shepherd?” he asks. I tell him I’m not sure. “Does he have a tail?” he asks. I tell him I don’t know. “How old is he?” Again, I say I don’t know. This guy clearly has a thing for Aussy Sheps (that’s what we dog people call them) and is a bit concerned I know nothing about my own dog. He used to have one, he says. Best dog he ever had. I nod knowingly.
That’s when the owner comes back and my ruse ends. He thanks me and I wander out of the store. Looking over my shoulder, I see the other guy is tailing him out of the store, still asking questions. I decide the talking to strangers dilemma clearly outweighs the babe magnet thing. I go home to my cat, who doesn’t even look up to acknowledge my return.
» My five-day fast lasts exactly 28 hours, when I get a collect call from a macadamia cookie at Subway, asking me to pick it up. It’s so cold and dreary outside that eating seems like a fine diversion. As I’m finishing my meal, a homeless woman comes in. It’s pouring rain outside with a whipping wind. She has her life in eight bags, some decent cloth ones and some precarious plastic grocery bags. The Subway guy looks up. I’m expecting him to view her with disdain, but instead his face lights up. “Hi! The usual?” he asks her. Yes, she says, shaking the water off. He runs through the soups of the day and gets a container that looks suspiciously too large. Sub of the day? he asks. She nods.
As she is going through the veggies, I think about offering to pay for it. But it seems so demeaning, making the assumption someone needs help. I hope the Subway guy gives her a deal. I jnow he gave her respect. I hope she finds a dry, warm place tonight.
» I go to the civic center library. It’s the kind of amazing library you’d expect in an affluent area like ours. Big, comfy leather chairs, lots of nooks and crannies, the perfect place to spend a rainy day when you have no place else to go.
I search through the new books, pulling one off the shelf and sitting down to read the first 10 pages or so. I figure you can tell if you want to read the book by then. If you can’t put it down at this point, it comes home with you. When I look at my phone, I realize I’ve been there for an hour. I settle on a book about a poor artist who gets sucked into the marketing of social media. I think I’ll like it.
And then I decide to take the plunge. Mo, reluctantly loaning me her library card today, mentioned that maybe I’d like to get my own at some point. So that’s what I do.
The guy at the front desk surveys me. I haven’t shaved in a week. I’m wearing my work clothes, that being a Mo T-shirt with Klondike bar chocolate slopped down the front, ancient Gramicci shorts I haven’t washed since I started working at home, and purple high-top sneakers. He’s been watching me from his perch and surely thinks I’m among the homeless clientele. But he’s a really nice guy and helps me even though he seems skeptical that the address on my license is actually my address. He does not offer me soup in an oversized cup. I hope I find a dry, warm place tonight. As I leave, eight firefighters are trying to help a homeless guy who is somewhere between a medical emergency and a fistfight. Library trips are always a reminder.
» I finally break down and go to the apartments’ little fitness center, where I throw down a totally uninspired mile in the purple shoes. ITBS still assures me it’s in no rush to move along. I had hoped the crappy weather might encourage it to move along, but it’s feeling like we’ll be roommates for a while. This is EXACTLY what happens any time you sign up for a race.
» I come home and listen to Dead Hot and think about life. It’s all so random. A couple killed this morning on the road we drive a lot because a guy tried to sneak through a yellow light. People trapped in Payson with nowhere to stay because the 87 closed after the Great Snowstorm of 2019. The smell of Ben-Gay wafting through the room even though my brain knows it has no effect on ITBS. The joy of eating a Klondike bar after 24 hours of nothing. The magic of curling up under a blanket with a good book and a cup of sleepytime tea, the cat showing no signs of giving up the chair or Mo’s coat.
“Maybe there’s a reason for exactly how we are,” the prophet Brent Babb said. “Oh, well, you never can tell.” I gave up trying to find a reason a long, long time ago.
“Maybe there’s no reason,” the prophet Babb said. “Maybe we just are.” The guy was a prophet and nobody knew. I hope he finds a dry, warm place tonight.
And that’s the story of my life. A new chapter begins tomorrow. Another round of blues. More snapshots …