“Ahead is the fog that is the future,
and there is only straight and down.
There is another sign, and then another.
The road has no name.
This is the commonest name in the world for a road.”
— J. Robert Lennon, “Let Me Think”
The photo on the left is me in 1980. I raced every weekend. It cost maybe five bucks.
The photo on the right is me today. I haven’t raced in so long that I take the claim check number for the car and pin it to my shorts before my daily stroll. It cost maybe 800 bucks.
I’ve been bothered a lot lately about the road I’m on. It doesn’t look like I’ll ever get back to running again. Which is sort of terrifying.
I had the plan mapped out where I would upon my retirement become a Gentleman Ultraunner, traveling around the country to run obscure little races to my heart’s content. Until somewhere along the way, my heart became totally discontent and short-circuited the plan. These days, I stroll with a claim check number, a totally enjoyable outing but not part of The Plan. What does one do when one is not able to do what one does?
Mo went in Thursday for surgery to repair a tendon in her thumb (caused by the bike in the photo below trying to look innocent behind her.) It’s her first surgery ever, and the first time I’ve ever sat in a waiting room with the teeniest terror of what happens if something goes wrong. I’ve always been the patient up until now. It’s a million times harder, as I’m sure she knows, to be the person waiting.
The baby kat continues to hang on, but The BK Show only has a few episodes left and she won’t be making it to an 18th season. I sit in the living room and watch them on a sunny afternoon, grateful to share this time.
Which makes me realize what an idiot I am.
Running doesn’t matter at all. What’s important is sharing your life with that person who showed up one day with a bike and a smile and a thumb that would need to get surgically repaired 25 years later. In that time, we’ve had countless adventures, occasional heartbreak, and so many laughs that there are third-world countries running a deficit because of our overuse. Sorry, Chad. I’m the luckiest guy on the planet.
What road are we on? I don’t think it has a name. But I’m pretty sure it zigs and zags to happily ever after. If I find a race bib or two along the way, that’s fine. Or not. Because I found my best two-legged and four-legged friends along the road, and wherever it leads, I know we’ll go there together. Everything else is just stuff.
Epilogue: I signed up for a race today. Did I mention I’m an idiot?