Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Men: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Armed with my exciting, never before performed by me speed workout, I strutted myself down to my running hole. Yes, the warming effects have been good to me and my running friends, and have rendered our precious trail runnable once again. We'll worry about our polar friends another day.
As I approach the trail, I see in the distance a man who I had deemed a pervert long ago. So long ago, in fact that I'm not too sure what earned him this lowly title, but the feeling I get when I see him does not lie. Whatever perverse act he performed however long ago will not be forgotten in my impressionable psyche.
Smoothly I veer off to a side entrance to avoid contact with this bulky white-bearded person. I start my run, knowing that I will pass him and his buddy as they talk casually in the parking lot. I keep my focus straight ahead so as not to invite any comments. Of course this fails. Like Poe's black cat, pervy is drawn to my loathing. His face lights up at the sight of me, he leans past his friend to make sure his witty comment will be heard, and yells out, 'You're DAWDling!' with his repulsive curmudgeon geniality. I wasn't sure what he said, and replied in my coolest tone, 'I'm sorry?' He doesn't miss a beat. 'You're DAWDling there, pick it up!' As I pass him I say loudly so he will know in the future that conversing with me is not meant to be a pleasant affair, 'OK, I'll be sure to do that.'
I don't know why I feel so extremely annoyed. I guess because I really despise this man, and his ignorance to my reaction to him makes it seem like he's intentionally goading me. Which is more annoying than unintentional ignorance. I think. Anyway, I realize that I need to lighten up, forget the perv and start focusing on a far greater pain: The three sets of two-mile repeats that I intend to do.
So I do my two mile warm up, and start in with the first interval. The pace isn't too hard, but I've just reached the mile mark, and am already 23 seconds too slow. My watch reads 7:43. Time to pick up the pace. I guess this will hurt after all. As I head towards the mile and a half mark, I hear someone on a bicycle slowing pedalling behind me. Then he shouts out, 'ON your left', a little too loudly and suddenly, and I jump in a startled response. Now I'm annoyed again. First perv attacks me with his corny humor, and now another insensitive clod has increased my heart rate for no good reason. When he catches up to me, he pedals alongside me. Oh great. 'I'm looking for my friend, maybe you've seen him?' Somehow I'm capable of a full sentence. 'Sorry, I'm doing a speed workout.' This has no effect on him. 'He's a big guy.' I realize this man won't leave until I give him his desired information. I remember seeing him now at my turn around point. He actually followed me on my interval run to get information from me! 'Does he have a big white beard?' 'Yeah, that's him!' 'I saw him in the parking lot'. I tried to pick up the pace, thinking my assistance was no longer needed. Silly me. 'Which way did he go?' 'He was in the parking lot doing absolutely nothing.' The guy was satisfied. He turned around and thanked me. 'Oh, you're so welcome,' I managed in my sweetest voice. It's situations like these that make me really appreciate sarcasm. You know, when you're half dead from running a race pace, and random people come up to you to get detailed information about their biking partners.
I was starting to feel very fatigued, and fully planning on blaming any loss in time on these two clowns. I was shocked when I finished this mile in 7:12. The rest of the workout played out like a dream, giving me at the end exactly what I'd set out to do: 3 sets of 2-mile repeats averaging a 7:20 per mile pace.
As I walked up my driveway, I see two unknown men surveying something outside my house. They're from my landlord's business, and they greet me pleasantly with the news that tomorrow I'll be out of water for a few hours. I go inside to my dark apartment, and glance up at the light socket that's been unusable for a few weeks now. The bulb melted into it, and I tried to take most of it out, but then was left with a partially removed bulb. I left the broken bulb and the burnt pieces I'd managed to remove on the mantle nearby. I'm not sure why I was saving all of that, maybe I thought it would help whoever ended up fixing this problem understand how this occurred. It made a curious little pile for my friends to glance at upon their entrance into my home.
I didn't want to call the landlord to fix it because I figured I could do it myself, and also I really hate unexpected visitors. Strange, I know. Living in the country has given me some queer ways. But knowing these guys were right outside my door, I bounded back out and told them my situation, thinking they could take care of it right now. Sure enough, they came in, knew exactly what to do.. I watched them in total fascination, as I'd tried to do the same thing and didn't succeed. I even asked the guy how he was able to do it and I couldn't. He said with a smile, 'Cause you're a girl!' Somehow, coming from him, I felt flattered. I am a girl. How long had it been since I'd thought that about myself? I'm always trying to conquer the world, an attribute that certainly doesn't FEEL girlish. I liked the sounds of that. Then one of the guys did an astonishing thing! He quietly scooped up the little pile of broken pieces I'd left on the mantle! HE WAS CLEANING UP MY MESS! I was so touched by that gesture. After they left, I thought about how these guys just came right in and took care of the matter at hand. Manly men. I liked that! Who knew? Definitely something to consider for future reference.
Finally, I made my way out to the library to do some math work. Don't ask. After an hour, I felt it was time for lunch. I walked to the local pizzeria. I used to go to this place when I worked at the phone company. I love these guys too, with their Italian accents; they always treat me like family. They had this incredible looking freshly made pie with fresh basil and garlic on it. I ordered a slice, and then sat at a table to eat it. That was one of the best pieces of pizza I ever ate. It tasted like a four course gourmet meal in one triangle.
Who are the people in your neighborhood?