Like Finding a Grain of Broken Rice in a Particularly-Soggy Bowl of Shredded Wheat
That’s an apt word for how I felt during my run on the Superior Hiking Trail last week.
Having my feet off asphalt, dodging rocks and roots, listening to the creek burbling nearby, I very nearly wanted to whip up a quick fire and cremate myself right there and then, just so I could pay the place tribute by scattering my ashes amidst those trees.
The truth is I’m a tragic slogger of a runner; I might have popped my ankle on an unruly slab of the Canadian Shield at any minute; I could’ve been mauled by a crabby badger; yet I couldn’t have been more happlefunky.
As I huffed along, a googly smile on my face, I twigged to something: I’m a very simple soul.
Oh, yes, I is.
With nothing but time on my hands and mud on my shoes, I started cataloguing the tenets that result in my simplicity. Clearly, I think trails are crunk. But I’ve got other values, too, Luther. Like four of them. Pretty much, I think–
1) Stuff should be fun
2) I should stop and holler about stuff when it’s fun
3) Profiteroles should run for president, and then I would have something to vote for
4) People should say what they’re thinking and let the hell go of all that blah-blah-blah namby-pamby fake nodding and smiling. If there is any discrepancy between what people are thinking and what they are saying, their bodies should explode into rainbow-colored confetti and fall gently to the earth.
My values brainstorming continued throughout my 70 minute run, taking a breather only when I crouched down in a stand of browning ferns to empty my bladder…and then for the two minutes after that, as I struggled to retrieve my wayward Ipod–it suddenly fancying itself a speculum and me in for a pap smear–from the general region of my cooch. After the bathroom break and intimate struggle with technology (“Look! A very talented part of my nether regions pressed ‘Play’!”), I hopped back on the trail and revved it up again, adding, revising, tallying, working very hard to keep my values list tight, lest I overreach my calculated and complex hope of simplicity.
As the podcast I was listening to during my mental shenanigans ended, the playlist shifted to music, and I tell you, Moses, that if listening to The Cure on a fine fall afternoon while flitting through low-hanging branches doesn’t convince you that Friday you’re in love, then you need some cotton candy and a hug from your mama because you’re lolling in some serious doldrums.
The Cure morphed into Morrissey, and, perhaps trying to outrun the existential morosity, I sped up, racing the last twenty minutes back to the car, tacking on a final triumphant 100 meters at the end.
Out of habit, I stopped the timer on my watch and started digging into my shorts’ ultra-secret key pocket.
Or as I now call it, my ultra-secret lame-ass lose-your-key pocket.
Yup, mostly likely during my ungainly cha-cha with the Ipod after that powder room break amongst the ferns, roughly 35 minutes back, the key had tinkled to the ground, alongside my Mr. Peebodies.
Fer feck’s sake.
It was dusk; Groomeo was awaiting my return so he could have his go at running and peeing in the woods; and I suddenly had miles to go at a slow, slow creep. What to do?
Re-clipping the Ipod, restarting the watch, and turning my face downhill, I was off, a veritable Steve Prefontaine sans cheesy mustache (my mustache is much more delicate and feminine). Twenty-five minutes later, I encountered the whole family at our neighborhood playground, where Groom greeted me with a hearty, “So help me, if the kids ask one more time ‘When will Mommy be here?’, I’m going to duct tape their skulls together.”
After my brief-but-inspiring narration of the key-loss saga, Groom took off on his run, which he finished at the still-locked Toyota Camry near the trailhead. Nice job, that: having a ride home.
The next day, with daylight and refreshed spirits and cooches on our side, the entire family would join in on Key Hunt 2008 (not to be confused with Key Hunt 2006…and, man, wasn’t that a David Blaine fiasco!)
–a hunt which, in the dense foliage of the Northwoods, would be a challenging search akin to finding even a lick of foresight in one George W’s blindered brain.
By the end of that day, thus, I was back to my usual morally-nebulous self, finding that I’d failed to live up to even the simplest of my values:
1) I’d had some fun, but it had ended rather crud
2) I’d made some noise while I was having fun (who can’t sing along with “Please, please, please, let me/get what I want/this time”?), but then I shut up when the crud hit
3) Profiteroles were still not president
4) The only frank thing I had to say was, “When the Mara Salva Trucha gang offered me those ride-ganking and hot-wiring lessons back in ’97, I damn well should’ve taken them up on the offer, even if it would have relegated me to a year of payback as their international drug mule.”
(this story to be continued anon in “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want: This Key”)