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.

 

 

Human or Robot?

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I got a robo call the other day. Is robocall one word or two?

The robot voice on the robocall told me to press nine to speak to someone.

I didn’t press any key and the robovoice on the robocall told me I was not human.

I was shocked as I have always thought of myself as being of the human variety but apparently I have been fooling myself and loads of people all these years.

I told the robovoicerobot to go xxx himself.

My favorite robot is Woody Allen in Sleeper.

Staring Out the Window in Sunny Italy

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In my Dad’s last years when I did get to see him we didn’t have much to talk about which was not much different than when I lived at the house as a kid and a teenager and at breaks from college. He was already working at being detached and staring a lot which turned into his mo at and near the end.

He spent two years in Italy, France and Germany between 1943 and 45 as a rifleman in an infantry company. He saw the worst of the worst that people could do each other in the name of whatever name was being used that week. He may have even done the worst of the worst of things people can do to each other. He earned his thousand yard stare.

I can only piece his history together as he never spoke of what he had seen and done. All I have are scraps of information and maybe an anecdote from a relative who are either all gone now or on their way to being gone.

I think and I may be incorrect but when my Mom died my sister found the letters my Dad wrote to here from over there. They were married after he returned. He left as Person A and returned as Person B.

I don’t know where he went when he stared. Maybe he went nowhere or maybe he was right back there in what he liked to call ” Sunny Italy” which as everyone knows Italy was anything but during the war.

He never joined the VFW or the American Legion and to my recollection had packed up his WWll kit and kept it neatly stacked inside. Only there wasn’t anything neat or pretty or pleasant about it.

He had windows to silently stare out of. Maybe the soundtrack played in his head. Maybe it played a lot. Maybe it never went away.

He did come home in one piece I suppose but with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star and the Combat Infantry Badge I wonder how complete he really was.

I seem to recall that he was hospitalized once and as he recuperated at home in bed his midsection and chest were wrapped in bandages and there was some talk I overheard of shrapnel “working it’s way out.” This would have been sometime in the mid 1950’s a good ten years after Sunny Italy.

He never talked and we never talked and none of us ever talked and when I wanted to talk it was too late.

Does This Ever Happen to You?

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I got loads of post it notes and scraps of paper on my desk and in my jacket filled with short phrases, reminders, brilliant insights, examples of depressing realities and the otherwise written remnants of a confused and scattered mind.

I tend to ignore the reminders like pay the phone bill until I know I can write a check in the nick of time knowing payment will arrive just before the due date. Although with the latest Post Office struggles I may have to revise my Johnny come lately strategies. I am pleased though that I can remember to remember to write a note to remind myself of what it is or was I was supposed to remember. I think that’s the little victory in all of this for me. I remembered not to forget.

There is a series of commercials running on tv these days about a guy who is supposed to be a life coach and his mission is to keep people from turning into their parents. I personally see no problem with me turning into my parents. The spots are cute, funny and endearing but for the life of me I have no idea what they are selling. My apologies to the folks in marketing but you scored a big zero with me.

Sometimes I see me as my Dad as I and he, we, I suppose stare out a window at nothing in particular just happy to be standing tall with good posture and able to take long and clean deep breaths. He had trouble at the end of his life with breathing thanks to 50 or 60 years of cigarettes.

Window staring out of gives me the chance to disassociate from all the hell that is currently running amuck in the world. My kid lives in Austin, Texas. No heat, no water, watch the news. Let’s blame windmills.

Apparently three members of the electric oversight board of Texas live, wait for it, out of state as in not in Texas.

Back to the two of us, me and Dad. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be dialed in.

The news might just be a good thing to give up for Lent. Is giving up something for 46 days really supposed to make you a better person? Apparently 40 days is not the correct length for Lent as the Sundays in Lent when one is supposed to attend church don’t count as a day to be depriving yourself of anything and there are six Sundays in Lent meaning forty plus six equals forty six.

Any semblance to Ahab chasing Moby Dick for forty days or the forty days and nights of rain for poor old Noah are purely coincidental and at the same time intentional, I don’t know if Ahab or Noah took Sunday’s off.

Both were at sea so there’s that connection but other than that they seem to have been on their respective owns.

That’s it for this current edition notes and scraps of things to do, not to do, forget, not to forget and eventually write down into a form where other people can read them and make their own decisions as to the state of my and their own sanity.

As Groucho said, ” There ain’t no Sanity Claus.” Maybe it was Chico who said that.

You could look it up.

Guitar Players and Their Picks

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There is an old adage that goes something like this:

If you ask a guitarist for change all he or she will be able to produce from their pocket is a guitar pick or two.

Coming up changeless I usually offer the person behind the counter two guitar picks sheepishly saying, well, I’m a guitar player and I never have any change only picks in my pocket.

Any other normal person will always have a couple of nickels or dimes on their person, at least that’s when we all carried cash in some former another.

Recently I purchased something somewhere ( hows that for being deliberately vague?) and the total price comes to let’s say Five dollars and twenty five cents.

I easily produce the Fiver but a trip to my pocket only produces a two guitar picks of the heavy variety. I always use heavies. Someone once told me to use the heaviest picks you can find and so I do. I like the way they feels and how they sound.

The longer you play the more attention you pay to detail.

I offer the picks knowing she’ll say no thanks and then I’ll have to fork over a paper dollar.

To my surprise she accepts the picks in lieu of a quarter saying she plays guitar too.

One time when the washing machine repairman cleaned out the filters and traps in the washer he found about three dollars in change and a dozen guitar picks.

Seems to be equal in value.

Electric Guitars

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I haven’t played mine in about a year. The band stopped rehearsing and besides there’s no place to play anyway.

Somehow through this dark mess of months stretching now into a year and for who knows how long I have picked it again because why not?

I have been playing and practicing a lot over the last year and I can hear my guitar voice building and starting to develop. I’ve been playing for 50 years so maybe it’s about time.

During the summer when I could sense my ears were getting better I was stopped dead in this thought and it makes sense given all that we’ve endured.

Here goes…

Ok, so I’m getting better, I can hear the improvement. But for who, for what? There’s no place to play anyway. Zoom doesn’t cut it and the cats don’t care.

I’ve been dragging this feeling around for months. It’s a hopeless state of mind which might only be the tip of my iceberg. Maybe these days it’s normal to feel like crap.

But I keep on playing even mindlessly strumming a chord until it connects to a neuron somewhere in my brain with music and soon a sogng appears. I’ve been listening to music since I don’t know when so there’s a lot stored up there.

Maybe mindlessly is an unfair characterization since that chord, those notes found a home somewhere in my head. How can this be?

Usually, when I post something I state an issue or a problem and by the end of the page I’ve worked out some sort of resolution. But not tonight.

This is going to be a continuing effort I think.

The Year 2020

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Hi folks, 2020 here and as most if not all of you are ready to shove me to the curb, into a dumpster and off a cliff I have few words to say.

None of the mess you’re in this year is my fault.

For example…Hurricanes are larger and more destructive. No kidding.

Everyone has known the climate is changing for years but no one really seems to be interested in taking actions that would cost money to begin to fix the problem. And by no one I mean a select group of old white men in Washington DC.

Wildfires, droughts, floods, tornadoes -See above. The changing weather is not news to anyone.

The virus.

You could have worn masks. You could have stayed away from motorcycles rallies in South Dakota and campaign rallies both indoors and outdoors.

You could have stayed home at Thanksgiving but you didn’t.

You could stay home for Christmas but you won’t.

You and I’m speaking to politicians now who called the virus a hoax every day since January and now you want the vaccine to protect you from the hoax.

Nice way to cut into line just because you work in Washington.

Let the old people die first except when they are friends of the president and then they get special antibody treatment.

When was the last time a helicopter whisked you from your front door to a private floor at Walter Reed Hospital with your own cadre of doctors?

Am I angry? You bet. That fool on the hill can’t be gone too soon.

Remember, the virus would magically disappear in April when the weather got warm.

My only hope is that he disappears one minute after 12 noon on January 20th, 2021.

Can Someone Tell Me Why This Is Happening?

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When I first started this blog carving out out my own little section of the internet I would write something on a particular topic like Reading, Running, Writing or Rhythm.

The tags would put the piece into place where someone who was interested in running might read it. Same for reading or writing or rhythm ( music). Then I would get real people reading my stuff, commenting on it and off we’d go. Relationships formed, such as they were, and people, real people commented and wrote back and forth often to much hilarity.

Now, it seems there are algorithms stalking the blogs looking for key words that lead me to being liked or followed by marketing firms or somebody trying to sell somebody something.

Are people really reading my blogs or am I being cherry picked so I can be in someone’s marketing shopping cart?

Kind of the last thing I need right now.