Time Flies

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I ran in a local 5 miler yesterday.  This was the 43rd running of the race making it the granddaddy of ’em all  in the county.  You can do the math if you’re interested in knowing exactly when it all began.

It was during the early days of the running boom what ever that means.  Me?  I’ve been running since I was in the 4th grade.  We don’t need to do that math.

I used to kill this race.  Now it kills me.  But to the title.

First, the course…Start/Finish is on North Queen Street.  Go right on West Lemon for one block, go right on North Duke all the way to Chesapeake Street, go right, then left to enter the County park. or as the locals refer to it, County Park.  Once you become a local you don’t need to modify landmarks or places with the word the.  Everyone knows what you mean.

Run through County Park and go left back onto Duke Street. Instead of proceeding all the way to Lemon you chop off a block and go left on to West Walnut to Queen and then you see the Start/Finish line a couple of blocks ahead.

A side note here, our town dates to pre-revolutionary times so streets have royalty sounding names like Duke, King, Prince and Queen further subdivided by whether they run east/west/ north or south.

You have your North Queen, South Queen, East King and West King among many others.  We also in this interesting mix have a Lime Street and a Lemon Street.  You can actually stand on the corner of Lemon and Lime.

Further the street signs have been abbreviated thusly like N. Queen, W. King and of course S. Lime which reads S Lime Street.  That’s all I got in the roadway department.

Back to the 5 miler.  I’ve reached the back marker phase of my running career.  I know it, you know it and so what anymore.

I started either dead last or next to dead last.  Pro tip – If you wait for the starting corral to fill up the porta john lines disappear since all your fellow runners rush to the middle of the street for a good place on the starting grid.   This ain’t F-1 or NASCAR.  It don’t matter.

The horn goes off and I walk the 100 or so yards to the start line before I start my watch.  The front markers are sprinting their behinds off and I’m running a good  clip for me anyway up Queen to Lemon and on to Duke.  Here comes the title reference.

As I’m approaching what I know is the one mile marker and clock I look to right where it oughta be and it’s not there!  Did the organizers not have a budget for course clocks?

I file that away and continue up Duke where off to my left I see a guy walking and carrying what seems to the clock that was supposed to be at mile one.  I guess he figured since he had to pull double clock duty he yanked the clock off the tripod and trundled up to where the 4 mile mark is coming back.

Keen eyed readers will note that above I mentioned the course cuts one block off the return so one mile and four miles are not in the exact same place.  Hence, the one mile clock serves both one and four miles.

As I’m running and I see the clock being hand carried upside down I make out 10:44 as the seconds keep ticking away.  Suddenly I have this ” Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds” moment.

I am running faster than the clock is physically moving.  Soon I’m even with it and just as quickly I’m passed it leaving time in my wake.  Picture that Dali painting of the melting clock.  Saucony meets surrealism.  I am not running faster than the speed of sound  or light.  I am outrunning time itself.

I continue up Duke, go right on Chesapeake, go left into the winding roadway of the park cutting all the tangents I can find and realizing that tangent running is probably not taught in school anymore but that’s one class I passed.

I run back up Duke and eventually I find the one/four mile clock right where it’s supposed to be.  I’m also toast at this point but I’m passing some people and some people are passing me.

I have found in a marathon when you are bringing up the rear you make a lot of friends who are just as slow as you are.  Everyone talks, jokes, laughs and encourages each other.

Sadly, now everyone except me and maybe two other people are not wearing ear buds. Everyone else is and they can’t hear anything.  Conversation is not longer a part of group runs.  One guy had a speaker in his backpack and was his own little running/walking jukebox.  Maybe he couldn’t find his buds.  I forget what song he was playing.

I go left on Walnut, left on Queen, it’s my version of Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston.

I cross the finish line and grab a water.  There is a fenced in beer garden set up and normally your entry would be guaranteed by virtue of your: 1- wearing running gear,      2- sweating like a racehorse, 3- panting like a cheetah and 4 – your race bib.

But if you don’t have your Real ID or something similar you are turned away.  Fine.  Just fine.

I grab a bag of chips and leave.

Time is on my side anyway.

 

 

Untitled As of Now…

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In my modest neighborhood which was built in the 1930’s there is a distinct lack of straight lines in the street layout, the driveways and even the houses. No one cared about pushing the walls of the house to the extreme limit of the property line so a few more houses could be squeezed in. It was like it was summertime all the time and the living and homebuilding were easy.

So to this day some almost 100 years later there still is a dirt and gravel alley that runs a couple of blocks behind my house across another street all the way to another street. The yards are big and small, oddly shaped, undersized and oversized with no apparent rhyme nor reason. It works for me.

A number of houses have added wooden sheds their properties because once your garage is filled with crap the next logical step is to build or buy a shed so you can continue your crap accessing ways. The sheds are pretty old too. Most are made from wood and not some space age time and weather defying material. Wood ages nicely and since many of these sheds are perched on cinder blocks or bricks or 4 x4’s there is a handy crawl/living space for critters who stand no more than 6 inches tall or so.

One such shed houses a groundhog and a calico cat who I think I feed on a regular basis. I put food out, I see the cat and then the food is gone so I’m assuming it’s my largesse that keeps the cat in cat business.

So, yes, the cat and maybe another one share the shed’s ground floor in garden apartment style with a groundhog. They seem to get along. And why not? Why shouldn’t they?

There are no “We believe” lawn signs in front of the shed. No “Vote for Me because I’m crazier than the other guy ” signs either.

The cat and the groundhog and assorted visitors have the rest of the spring, all summer and most of the fall to pack on weight, grow winter coats and insulate the joint.

They are very nice neighbors.

Alerts, We Got Alerts !!!

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During a chat with a friend who relies on his cellphone to govern and remember most of his daily comings and goings he mentioned to me that when he has an appointment upcoming he always posts an alert on his phone to remind him not to forget to be where he is supposed to be at the correct time and place.

I shyly admit that I wear a watch for keeping time and that alerts for me go into my Month at A Glance calendar.

He sets alerts a week out, two days out, the day of and I suppose up to the hour he is due somewhere.

I write my alerts in erasable marker on the whiteboard which hangs magnetically on the fridge. The magnets holding power is iffy so I have to buttress the calendar with extra magnets from things like clips from chip bags and roofing contractors. The added magnets seem to have solved the problem of having the calendar crash to the floor.

Alerts, we got ’em. Just depends on where you put them I suppose.

Let’s Get Serious About Commercials

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I recently bought a used, no previously enjoyed automobile and the car being somewhat up to date in the technology department came with a serious radio package which included a satellite radio subscription.

The said service continues to tell me during my extended free trial that it is commercial free but and I say but isn’t the fact they are touting the lack of commercials in itself a commercial?

Chalk this one up to George Carlin.

Visits

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I’m not talking about baseball managers visiting the mound to discuss strategy with their hurlers or going to Aunt Jean and Uncle Walt’s house for a Sunday dinner. When I was a kid we used to visit relatives all of the time for Sunday get togethers but that was probably when extended families lives within a reasonable drive of each other and now everyone’s kids live everywhere except their hometowns where you still live.

The kind of visits I’m talking about involve people, at least not in the sense that they are here and and you see and talk to them. These visits are rare and the best way for me to describe one of these visits is to lay it out in details and let you be the judge of whether I’ve gone round the bend or not.

A couple of days ago, here in the early days of not quite spring in these here parts the weather was cooperating with a warmish day, lots of sun and a decided lack of a wind, kind like your painted ship on your painted ocean deal.

I had a window open and while not thinking about anything in particular I felt a cool breeze sweep by me while I was standing inside the house. I looked out from the window for any evidence from swaying branches or leaves being kicked up but there were no telltale signs or other evidence of wind.

And so since there was nothing outside I wondered where that breeze had come from and I have to add that this is not the first time I have experienced a phenomenon like this one.

The breeze is s spirit visiting me and I am totally comfortable with making that assertion. A dear friend who passed away years ago recently came up in a conversation and I’m sure it was her spirit that paid me a visit. I hadn’t thought about this person in years but there are mostly fond memories associated with her and great sadness associated with her passing.

When my uncle passed away years ago in the middle of the night, you always get the call immediately after it happens no matter the time, I happened to look out the window to see star in the night sky I had never noticed before.

This breezy kind of visits has happened to me at least twice before. One time was in the dead of winter and out of nowhere a warm breeze swirls around me and I was inside a building, actually a hay barn climbing over bales. Where had this warm windlet been hiding and who was it?

Honestly now, how many times have you left a funeral service or a visitation and notice a bluer sky or a butterfly or a robin or any number of extra spiritual kind of things which convinces you that person who has passed is not gone just around in a different form?

Another time was a cool breeze that I could almost see come through the window on a sweltering summer night.

It’s kind of reassuring to me that somehow, somewhere we live on in another form after we leave this one behind.

Let me know if I’ve lost my marbles on this one. I’ll tally up the results and report back to you later.

Around the Water Cooler

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I don’t know, do people still gather around the water cooler in the office anymore? Are there still water coolers? Are there still offices?

The title is intentionally misleading as I was trying to describe today’s goings on at my bird feeder where ostensibly the locals would gather and chat about thing similar to people at a water cooler.

It turns out that what I saw today in the years today amongst my feathered friends could more aptly be described as a graphic explanation of ” The Pecking Order.”

Smaller birds like chickadees and sparrows seem to co-exist nicely with mourning doves and squirrels. No pushing or line cutting to be seen.

Grackles show up and every one scatters. A lone Blue Jay appears and the place becomes deserted.

A Hawk arrives and the place is a ghost town.

Maybe the same thing happens at the water cooler. Underlings gather en masse for strength and protection but are frightened away by managers and everyone splits when the top dog or bird in the food chain arrives.

Life and bird feeders are just a series of water coolers I suppose.

A Fixer Upper

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There is a bird’s nest under the eave of my front porch. At one time it was a neat, well kept home for sparrows but for some reason it was abandoned and since no one took care of it for a couple of years it fell into disrepair.

Lately though I have seen a number of prospective buyers fly by, stop in, take a look around and head off again although I think it’s a good sign that we’re getting visitors this time year.

Maybe a sparrow or two will take a liking to the neighborhood and begin to rehab the nest for their home in hopes of raising their springtime family which ought to coming along one of these days.

The nest is not listed on Zillow or your local real estate agent’s webpage so it must be word of beak that has put this nest on the to do list of potential homes for the local feathered population. I sure hope so.

Maybe it’s a sign spring.

Left Over Latte

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Not much going on here but as I am collector of figures of speech and turns of a phrase this one fits right in.

I don’t drink lattes so I don’t know if people do as a rule drink left over ones that is. But I heard that phrase and I thought with the Two L words bookending an O word that it was catchy phrase to keep in my pocket.

I think Lennon and McCartney used to collect strings of words which they eventually made into songs which eventually became gold records which eventually everyone was whistling or humming which eventually became part of our daily lexicons which includes leprechauns and Lucky Charms with no endorsement indicated.

That was a reach but words for me are like pieces of clouds or a shaft of sunlight that sometimes come together in strange and wonderful ways to make me smile or chuckle or file away for whenever i write a hit that goes right to Number One and I’m on American Bandstand.

Words is my Business.

The Long Days of Winter

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We’ve made through January and February is almost in the books and that begs the question of whether March will come like a Lion or a Wildebeest? Old John Belushi joke there. It still works.

Years ago when I worked on the Isle of Manhattan as in New York I would commute via train and so in December days I would hike on over to Grand Central Station about 4 pm when there was still a bit of sun in the sky and head over to Metro North, get on my train, pick a seat and wait for the ride home to begin.

By the time the train emerged from the station and that long tunnel somewhere in upper Manhattan the sun was gone and the sky was dark. All in the space of about 10 or 15 minutes. It was disorienting to say the least.

Now the days are longer in the sunlight category and that lucky old sun rides higher in the sky on our way to June 21st when it’s about as high as it’s gonna get.

But and here’s my point: The days are longer and only slightly warmer. When it got dark by 4:40 and it was cold I could hunker down in my Seasonal Affected Disorder mindset and pretty much pack it in for the night. However, now that we have more sunlight I find myself in a contradicted state meaning since it’s cold it should also be dark too but it’s not.

It’s like when you get up in the morning and its grey and cloudy and raining and you set yourself up for that kind of day and when the sun appears you have to revise your mental outlook and game plan. I can’t pivot like that well anymore.

Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

Who said that? And he was right.

I’m Not Watching OR The NOlympics

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Nope, not hardly at all on any of of the platforms available to me. We used to call them TV stations or channels but now they are platforms. A platform is where you wait for a train. Thank you.

Honestly, as someone who admires athletes and who ran competitively in HS and college I understand competing and competition.

If the summer olympics were currently on the box I’d be glued to the screen but all I seem to see are people dressed in ski togs, that are skin tight wearing helmets and/or sunglasses. No faces. It’s like watching swimming. Sorry to offend swimmers but again, no faces during the race and only blather from the expert commentators, slo mo replays and graphics up the wazoo showing who is where in relation to world records, olympic records, pool records, meet records and on and on.

I suppose there is also a small sense of anti host country sentiment at work here too.

And really, Putin fell asleep when the Ukraine team marched into the stadium?

Every thing is too prepackaged and too slick and a little disingenuous when almost every event presents in a certain order…An American athlete, a Chinese or Soviet athlete, maybe a Canadian or two and wouldn’t you know it the competition as we approach the top or bottom of the hour seems to miraculously wind up with a tense showdown between the eventual medalists. Cut to watch party in Sheboygan and videos of child prodigy at three years old on skis, snowboard, skates etc…

ll of that and fake snow surrounded by a banner every two feet that reads Beijing 2022.

Where is that remote?

I Ran All The Way Home OR A Study In Contrasts

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I was out walking the newest member of the family yesterday who happens to be a one year old pooch but this is not a post about dogs, cats rabbits or other pets. The time of day I was out, well, the two of us were out is significant because it was somewhere in the time frame of when schools dismiss for the day and the local streets are crisscrossed by school buses bring their weary charges back home.

Let’s say it was sometime after 3pm or so. Me and Fido are minding our business and I spy from about a block away a young girl on the run, obviously form the nearby elementary school and she’s running with her jacket open and flapping, backpack bouncing with every step and she’s running in the same manner that kids have when they care not one whit about form or economy of style.

She’s oblivious to her surroundings and seems to have only one intent and that is to get herself home as fast as she can. She is all arms and legs and enthusiasm. Remember those days?

Now to the contrast portion of the show.

The school busses are dropping their passengers on various street corners around the neighborhood and most of the deplaning or debussing travelers are distinguished by two immediate and distressing characteristics.

One – They all have backpacks which are far to heavy for their growing skeletal systems so they are weighed down giving them the appearance of a slouch fighting gravity and Two to add to their poor posture they mostly seem to be locked into a permanent downward glance focussed on their phones.

No runners in sight as they disembark from the yellow hell ship back home to continue their downward gazes into who knows what app or game or devil created mind waster.

I guess kids ain’t what they used to be but then nothing is anymore I suppose.

In other news I had a Doc appointment this morning. We chatted about my current malady and I saidI’m doing my utmost to relax by walking, running, playing music, etc. I asked the MD what he did to relax and in his unguarded moment he said – ” I don’t.” ” Relax that is. Work here all day and read medical journals at night.” He seemed taken by what he had just admitted to someone he only knew by name, birthdate, blood type and medications.

I told him I would’ve him guitar lessons for free. Stay tuned.