Wednesday, September 23, 2015

An Early Morning Run Gone Wrong

In a rare fit of inspiration, I woke before dawn one recent morning and went for a run.

It was still dark, the sky full of stars, the air was crisp and crickets were still chirping, before the birds got in on the act. It was perfect and almost enough to distract me from the fact that I don't enjoy jogging.

For me, this is about as accurate as it is funny. Runner's
 nausea? Yes. Runner's phlegm? Sure. Runner's stench?
Check. Runner's high? Nope. Not once. 
So, to divert my attention from the unpleasantness of the task at hand, I focused on how happy I'd be that I'd done this.

For the remainder the day, no matter what happened, I could tap this little pool of equity and say I'd done at least one productive thing for myself.

In exchange for losing a little sleep, I was buying myself a one-day reprieve from the usual self loathing I administer as punishment for my lack of activity.

It was early too, so I'd be arriving back at home while Mrs. Blackwell and the boy were still sleeping.

And, while they sawed logs, I could prepare a nutritious breakfast, get the boy's clothes laid out and have the family ready to hit the ground running — and I'd have it all done before 6:30 in the morning, long before I had to be at work.

These incentives fueled me as I rolled from my oh-so-comfy bed. They prodded me to my stick contact lenses into my sleepy eyes. The made me put on my running shoes and they helped me lift one foot in front of the other.

When I got home and walked up my driveway, I thought: "Well, that stinks but it was worth it."

But, as I entered the pitch darkness of my home, my little boy was there to greet me and remind me that it wasn't worth it.

His first impression was a cute one. Standing at the top of the stairs, holding his blanket, he whispered, "There's daddy."

It was then that I noticed he wasn't wearing any underwear and that, ladies and gentlemen, marked the beginning of the downhill slide.

He walked down the stairs and quickly curled up on the floor next to our couch.

He's under there somewhere. Waiting to pounce in a hail of
tears and groin-seeking kicks.
I followed him. He didn't look comfortable so, I attempted to lift him onto the couch. He responded by starting to cry — loudly — and to flail — vigorously.

He was upset so I sought to mitigate and ameliorate.

"What's wrong buddy? Do you want breakfast?"

"Noooooo. I doooon wan bwekfusst anymoh!" he cried back.

"Ok. You want something to drink? Orange juice? Apple juice?"

"Noooooo. I doooon wan any juuuice."

He was apoplectic and, above all, very loud. He was going to wake his mother who hasn't enjoyed a full night's sleep since sometime in June.

I'll pause here to say that he's done this before and it's not for any good reason and there's really nothing we can do except wait it out and not justify or encourage it in any way.

So, with my attempts to placate him falling flat, I withdrew. I did nothing and kept my fingers crossed that he'd quiet down.

In short order he went back upstairs but instead of going to his room he found his mother, who was indeed awake. She invited him to crawl into bed with her, he did, and for a time he settled down.

Sensing that this might be a temporary state, I made haste and began getting ready for the day. I was right, his calm was temporary; I got out of the shower just in time to see my cell phone go sailing across the bedroom.

The boy, no doubt in a fit of frustration at being unable to hack my lock screen, tossed the phone. Thankfully, it landed on a pillow.

Pretty sure the boy thinks Mr. Starr is being ironic.
Mrs. Blackwell was now in the midst of her morning routine and because getting up and jogging is about as far from routine as I get, I was lost, stuck between a combustible three-year-old and vague recollections of what I should be doing to get ready for my day.

The abundant free time that I'd imagined would be at my disposal had evaporated.

I left the boy alone again and he quieted down, again. I approached him to see if he wanted breakfast again and he blew a gasket again. This was the pattern established by 6:45 a.m. It was loud. It was frustrating and, outside of the six minutes he took to eat breakfast, it continued right up until I strapped him into his car seat to go to preschool.

It was then — magically – that he decided all was well. He grew quiet.

He asked to hear "Track 24" on his favorite CD, a compilation of Motown classics.

And what exactly is "Track 24" you might ask?

It's called "War" and by God that's exactly what it felt like I'd gone through.

And to answer that question "WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR???" well, I'm still figuring that out, though I can say with certainty now that one could replace "war" with the word "jogging" and it would be equally true.

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