Secret Pop

Jan 25, 2014

Pas de Deux

I do a lot of thinking when I run. It's a product of listening to playlists that get played again and again. Maybe I wouldn't take notice of a song, but when I listen to it again and again, run after run, it comes to be the push-button activation of a memory. Every time I run, I'm a girl who is both happy to be running and sad to be thinking of so many previous runs when timely hopes and misspent dreams consumed my attentions and wasted my time.

It's hard not to take note of how the actors change. A song I listened to at one point, where it would have been my voice uttering those lyrics, I can listen to years later and wryly recognize that the sentiments belong to someone else this time. What he did to me, I did to you. What I did to you, you do to the next one. I'm both guiltless and guilty, disappointed and disappointing, true and false.

It's not as smooth a reverie anymore. These days, I run with my dog (Maggie), and that means I'm getting jerked to a sudden halt from time to time when she discovers a leaf on which she must wee or a family of deer at which she must peer. And I run these days in a neighborhood where one must be more vigilant about avoiding being run over. You can't just lose yourself the way I did when most of my run was just on one side or the other of Olympic Boulevard.

If I let the time pass without thinking, I flagellate myself over the lazy waste of brain minutes (a measure of both time and power that only exists in my universe). But if I indulge myself in the traditional deep, thoughtful dive into how everything is now compared to yesterday or the day before that or the thousands of days before that, I have to shake my head a bit at how samey it all is. We waste so much time trying to get back things that slipped through our undergrasping fingers while simultaneously wasting so much time trying to never relive the scenes we've already lived over and over again. On some mountaintop, someone can see the ineffective calculations we're employing and can shake his or her head over our inability to pick up on a world of embarrassingly obvious signals. It's hard not to be resentful of this self-important lookie loo, acting as if it's all so plain and easy. As if making your way through a maze is exactly as easy as guiding someone through one when you can see the whole thing from an aerial view.

I keep thinking at some point I'll actually write a book. It would make my mom happy. But my wisdom is too personal. Too specific. Unless everything really is as generic as all the love songs would have us believe. The idea that everything is universal and experienced by everyone is humbling. When you're in it, the idea that anything you're feeling is common is beyond you. But when you look back on it, you can't help but see how ordinary every feeling you've ever had was. And that is more likely to feel like crap than to be of comfort. Depending on how strongly you feel about your own unique value to the weaving of history's great tapestry.

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