Secret Pop

Jan 22, 2005

Sunshine on my shoulders

I went for a run today. I don't know my parents' new neighborhood all that well. My friend Rachel used to live around here with her husband, and I remember driving out to meet her one morning and having brekafast at the little coffee shop that is almost right across from my parents' house now. Afterwards, we went to a few thrift stores and to some sort of antique sale at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. I remember buying a green lamp. It is still in my bedroom.

Running along the streets and sidewalks is great for the get-to-know-you game. I now have a fairly complete inventory of the restaurants and shops nearby. I noticed that the Pannikin is very popular and that all taco shops smell the same. And I saw that Lou's Records has a Camper Van Beethoven CD for $13.49. It was gorgeous sunny out when I was getting dressed for my run, but by the time I laced up, stretched, and tried to figure out how to get out the security gate on my parents' property without the clicker, the marine layer had rolled back in, and I had to start out in the relative grey and cold. But by the time I had gone the first half mile or so, the sun seemed to be peeking out, and I was warm and conscious of the risk of more freckles. Something I have come to be reasonably at peace with.

I ran a few miles along the 101 and on the beach, where there were seagulls swarming over patches of kelp and kids toddling alongside their parents. Moms ineptly throwing footballs to their impatient pre-teen sons. Shapes drawn in the sand. Strange castle-like structures made of kelp and pieces of pallets and sticks and wire. Surfers and more surfers. Large rocks that are easy to turn your ankle on so you must step carefully, no matter the pace. Waves rolling in. Sunlight backlighting figures strolling towards me. Some amount of implied romance. My iPod didn't have enough juice, so I ran to the pace of my breathing. And in a way it was better. I was able to hear all the conversations I was running through. Little snippets of things that I could make my own sense of. Stories told out of context. Sort of like being in a Robert Altman film. I ran about a half mile on the beach. The tide was out, and the sand was vast and wet and hard-packed. And I mildly scolded myself for not having come sooner. For not having made a point of getting up early when I'm here and going down to the beach with a notebook or a sketchpad or a novel or a cup of coffee. I'm not a beach person. But I love the ocean. And being near it is a reminder of so many of the places I've lived and things that I've done and shoes that I've ruined by exploring tidepools. Beaches here on weekend days are interesting, too. They are expansive enough that you can be amongst hundreds of people, but you can have your privacy. And people walking past you don't bother you. They're not there for you. And it's nice that way.

I ran back up the hill and had to wait at the intersection for a while before I could cross. When that happens and I'm running, I just jog in place. I've gotten over wondering if I look foolish. I don't think anything of it. But while I was jogging in place, there were some guys in a truck in the left turn lane across from me, and from where I was, it looked as if the driver was moving his hands up and down to the rhythm of my bouncing. I don't know why. I suppose I can come up with a few scenarios. When the light changed and I ran across the street, they turned past me and said, "Bye!" I headed for the park, where children were making use of all the playground equipment (which includes a miniature rock-climbing wall), and parents were looking on with varying levels of interest. There is a sandy path that winds through the place, and I took it for as long as I could. Possibly because of the recent rains, a good stretch of the path was cordoned off, so I just moved to the grass when I had to. A birthday party was going on in one of the large pavilions. The bridge over the tiny man-made creek had a sign indicating that wheelchairs were not allowed. At least I assume that's what it meant. It was the handicap symbol (the guy in the wheelchair) with a circle around it and a line through it. I guess it could also have meant that no handicapped people are allowed to cross that bridge, but that seems too much geared towards my amusement and not at all in the interest of safety or convenience. And then I walked the last bit back to my parents' house. Cool down period, you know. And the cherry on top was the truck that pulled up behind me and idled on the two-lane road so that the driver could make that kiss sound out the window at me. He needed to do that so much, he didn't mind holding up the parade of cars behind him. Nor did he mind leaning across the woman in the passenger seat to get his puckering lips closer to the open window. Maybe it was his sister, and apparently he has some knowledge of outdoor acoustics. Anyway, I'm already not good at receiving compliments. Imagine how much more awkward I am when the compliment is actually sort of rude and inappropriate and when I have no real choice but to continue walking and hoping that it doesn't look like any extra bounce has been added to my step.

I was gone for an hour. Nearly on the nose. My internal clock is really quite impressive.

I took a shower and a bath (my parents have a luxurious abundance of hot water, and I often take advantage of that -- don't tell my mom), and that's that. I have shows to do tonight. Last night's shows went well. I was proud of some things and never terribly disappointed in anything. That's a victory of sorts. At one point, as the world's worst thing to say at a Wendy's protest, I said, "These hamburgers are made of Jesus." But I now wish I had said, "These hamburgers are made of stem cell research." In all things, my brain is always editing. Even improv. Which is cheating.

I don't like to be one of "those" people, but there really is something to be said for the value of vigorous exercise. It's a pain to plan for, and I can't say I really look forward to it or get excited about it or ever experience the mythical endorphin rush. I just know that I feel good when I'm done. Super good. And my face is all glowing and pink and my posture is better and I don't scowl so much when I pass the mirror on my way into the shower. I'm sure there must be some psychological method that could make it seem like less of a chore. But for the time being, the only thing that works is my dissatisfaction with how I look and feel when I'm not doing it. When I'm unhappy or dissatisfied or disquieted in some way, I do something. Not always the same thing. And not always the right thing. But I always do something in the hopes that it might be the thing that makes it all better for a moment. This protocol has led to the creation of a lot of miscellaneous junk over the years. It's like my brain says, If I'm going to be down, I might as well have something to show for it. And that's why I have this monumental fear of ever being content with everything. It's my displeasure with how things are that keeps me working and striving and thinking and reading and running and jumping and learning and hoping and reaching and bathing and grooming meticulously. It's a compromise.

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