Thoughts of an Author in Training
Everybody was jogging yesterday. Driving in my red Focus, I tried to avoid all of them, all of those people who were running to catch nothing, by taking highly trafficked areas. Logically people wouldn’t run in highly trafficked areas, but in Colorado people seem to run everywhere.
When one pair of striding legs was in my rearview, there soon appeared a new set of tight spandex legs under fluorescent colored shorts. There were people jogging alone, females in packs rhythmically bouncing, subtlety trying to beat one another. Teams of young school children, stretching the streets of back roads pacing feet from one another, families, dogs, and even women hurrying in step with each other, not really running, but moving how I would assume seventy-year-old women would run. Colorado was running and I was driving, eating, and abusing the comfort of my seated vehicle.
Should I have been jogging?
At a stoplight I observed an older man with a toned body running with his companion, a black lab whose tongue weighed down from his mouth. The man’s unconscious facial expressions revealed a weird sense of self engaged agony and excitement as the light turned green. Keeping his head low, exhaling in frustration as he depended on his legs to keep heading forward while his mind contemplated why the hell he was willing to engage in such physical pain. At least that’s what I imagine a logical person would’ve thought.
I jog on the rare occasion. I jog when the weather is nice, there’s light pedestrian traffic, and when I’ve downloaded a new episode of This American Life. I can vaguely admit that the rush of fresh exhaustion is worth the burning calves and sweaty hair. I endure running because I feed off the thought of knowing that if I needed to run I could, that if I needed to get around without a car I could. Most humanly, the thrill of getting from an A to B destination by foot is an achievement all of its own. It makes me feel superior to technology.
I can not say people run for the same reasons. I got the impression that all of them yesterday could run for miles on end without breaking a sweat. Running alongside the rush of cars, early in the morning, I can’t help but see them as gloating. It’s not intentional. I can’t be jealous that these individuals have the time to jog and I don’t. I can’t be jealous that their endurance greatly exceeds mine. But for some reason only the most beautiful joggers run along my route to work. The normal looking people must be jogging elsewhere. But for the sake of average people in Colorado, I give thanks to the weather.
Today, it snowed. Thick beautiful flakes that piled along the roads and layered the sidewalks. The sky was absorbed in gray clouds, concealing the sun for another day. The cars were quiet making only rare crunches of snow along the road as I walked. Bundled I felt the warmth of my breath, but I heard nothing. Nature was quiet as the trees were dressed in white.
As the weather yesterday was suitable for the exercise enthusiast to jog from one end of town to the other, today I’ve seen no one. The moistened breath of the average jogger was kept cozy, inside by the heater. Today, I didn’t have to stare at any jogging pants, bobbing ponytails, or panting faces. The snow somehow made a secret packed with the jogging world and relieved me of any jealousy that they were outside and I wasn’t. Today I got to enjoy the simple beauty of snow piles, and pine trees strung with lights left from the Holidays. I was able to sit back and smell the chilies on the trees.