“The only thing I don’t doubt is my doubt.”
— spalding gray
It’s one of those days.
I’ve been trudging through a collection of short stories about the lives of Cambodian Americans (“Afterparties” by Anthony Vaesna So.) I’m about halfway through the book when Libby informs me my time has expired. This can mean only one thing: Go for a run.
I pull on my ancient running shoes. As I walk out the door, my knees tell me these shoes have expired. This can mean only one thing: Go to the backup shoes.
I set out in the new shoes, which are named Spalding Gray. Because they’re gray. Duh. Things are going fine until I pass a ’65 Chevy truck (from the days when Chevrolet still made cars) that’s been converted to a beer wagon. This can mean only one thing: Stop for a photo.
The guy is really nice and tells me about the pickup. Which is that it’s a ’65 Chevy truck that he has converted to a beer wagon. You probably had to be there. He offers to pretend he’s pouring a beer for photo purposes. He does NOT offer to let me pretend to drink the beer. This can mean only one thing: Keep going, and possibly let the air out of his tires while he’s pouring beer for less deserving people.
I go for loops around the bird mile, bonding with Spalding Gray. And that is when I have a Moment of Clarity. I once saw Sterling Gray in concert, if you can call a guy standing on a stage yammering a monologue a concert, and I suppose I can, since I recall it being insanely expensive. I don’t remember how much Ma charged me to read bedtime stories, but as a 4-year-old I didn’t have much of an income stream, so I’m guessing it was a reasonable rate.
The eerie part: HE WAS READING “SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA!!!”
One Cambodia disappears; another surfaces. Coincidence?
This can mean only one thing: Cambodia. Beer. Beer. Cambodia. I finish off 8 miles with the help of some duct tape, an espresso GU and and Fiona Apple’s “Frosty the Snowman” on repeat, and get in the car. I know what I must do.
I will get Cambodian beer and spend the evening reading Spalding Gray. One must not trifle with signs.
I pull up at the corner craft beer store and google “Cambodian beer” before entering. It sounds creepy. So I get a diet Coke and come home. I go to Libby and google “Spalding Gray.” They don’t have any of his work.
So I eat the rest of Mo’s cookies and watch football instead. Maybe sometimes it’s OK to trifle with signs. Besides, former Washington Huskies star JoJo McIntosh is a Cambodian American. And coincidentally, we watched the Beatles documentary last night in which the Evil McCartney sings about how JoJo thought he was a woman. How is Paul McCartney dead and Keith Richards is still alive?
■ Never challenge a Cambodian kid to a badminton match.
■ If a guy on the run course has a truck with beer spigots on the side, just wait till he walks around to the other side and then stick your head under the spigot. If caught, act confused and claim you thought it was a race aid station.
■ Don’t let them fool you. “Band on the Run” wasn’t really about running at all.
■ Never doubt the power of Fiona Apple.
■ Or duct tape.
This can mean only one thing: much doubt. It’s one of those days …