Stalking a Parent and Other Adventures

Sometimes you may happen to be napping off the cold medicine you took the night before, and wake to the realization that it is nearly 5:30 PM and you are SLEEPING THE DAY AWAY, so you rise hurriedly and glance out your window at the road and spot someone very dear to you crossing the street to the sidewalk that leads to the football field.

Some people, you muse to yourself as you pull on your tennis shoes with a huff, are worth getting out of bed for.

You bolt down the stairs and out the door, tracking, at a safe distance, your father’s steps (for the Dear One happens to be your father). He’s a fast walker, despite his slight portliness, but you resist the urge to jog and catch up. You take the time to walk behind, just thinking nice things and being happy you got out of your bed. Finally, you see up ahead that one of your father’s colleagues, out on an evening stroll of his own, has detained him.

How lucky for me, you think, thanking your lucky stars that Dr. Whats-his-face is out perambulating when he is. Still, he doesn’t detain your old man as long as you’d hoped, and before you know it, there’s a widening gap between you and the Aged P. You take a risk at the crosswalk and skirt an impatient driver who’d like to turn, and try to justify yourself for having delayed a stranger.

Enough is enough, and you begin to jog, eyes trained on your quarry, who has no idea that his offspring is behind him getting ready to pounce. Just as you draw within 20 feet of the target, a silver car pulls up and your mom opens the door for your dad to get in. You’ve been foiled by your own mother, driver of the Getaway Car. You walk over, say hey to them both, and pretend you were only out for a jog, and only happened to have been trailing your father for half a mile.

On your way back to campus, you notice how lovely the evening is, remembering how you love this time of year and this time of day. You’ve just learned this morning a new word, crepuscular, meaning (more-or-less) “something that is only active at dawn or dusk.” You like all sorts of times of day, but it occurs to you that maybe your favorites are crepuscular.

The only times of day you question the worth of are the wee hours of the morning. You have something of a Nathanaelic attitude toward them: “Can any good come out of 3 AM?” Probably there are some wonders you have never witnessed which occur only for the night owls of this world.

Two sensations, one unpleasant and the other good, come to your mind at the thought of 4 AM. The unpleasantness is from memories of staying up to finish papers and assignments, when you’ve worked through the night out of desperate necessity and the last 2 1/2 hours have taken twice as long as they should have because your brain is in stupid mode and keeps trying to hibernate every 10 minutes like your computer.

Seeing the sunrise in that mood gives you a nauseous feeling, wherein all hope sinks to the bottom of your stomach as you realize the day has reset and you haven’t rested.

The other sensation is a lovely one, experienced most often when you are rising early for a trip or an adventure. Once, for example, you arose quite early to meet the passenger train carrying your sister home from college. You felt an excitement immediately upon feeling the morning air (the air in the wee hours of the morning is different from any other time), and you got to the train station in the dark, a few moths flying around the hazy streetlight in the “bad part of town.”

When a freight train came, it brought the breeze with it, and the loudness and the largeness of its motion stimulated every part of you into a calm but acute wakefulness. You felt like standing up on tiptoe, and in a moment the train had gone, leaving you suddenly hungry for chocolate milk and donuts, ready to face the coming, long day.

In the present, you begin to have a vague sense of being followed, and as you glance cautiously behind you, you see your dad’s colleague, Dr. Whats-his-face, coming up fast on your right. He’s walk-jogging in the parking lot parallel to you, and it’s evident he means to overtake you before the parking lot ends and he’s forced to get behind you, slowing him down. You grin, and for a minute subtly increase your pace in an attempt to beat him to the point of convergence, but, like your dad, Dr. Whats-his-face is danged fast and has longer legs than you do.

So you slow down and continue gawking at the early spring. Some birds are singing, and a strange image hits you that won’t leave your mind. It’s just that, if all of reality were a cartoon, and somehow God were a more dignified Mickey Mouse showing you what He’d made, you’d be an utterly happy (but just as undignified) Goofy, shaking your silly head and marveling, “Garsh.”


Why I Don’t Workout

Some dualism for your Saturday morning. Thanks for reading, even when it’s something as silly as the following post.



[Alarm rings pleasantly, designed to mimic birdsong]

Jo’s Mind: Hey, it’s morning! Hey, Good Morning, Jo’s Body! Time to get up and get going with our day.

Jo’s Body: Mmmmff.

Mind: Come on, now. Just heave your self over, out of the bed.

Body: Just five more min-

Mind: NO. Every time I give you five minutes, they turn into thirty. Just get up. No questions.

[Jo gets up and looks out the window]

Mind: Man, what a beautiful day. And just think–it’s Saturday! We can do whatever we want.

Body: Yeah!

Mind: Hey, I know what we should do! We should go workout!

Body: What?! What happened to doing what we wanted?

Mind: I’d like to workout, wouldn’t you?

Body: No, are you crazy? We don’t workout. We aren’t that kind of person.

Mind: Ok, but I’d like to be. Let’s go try it, huh? Yeah? Yeah?

Body: uuuuuuuughhh. We tried this last year. Like twice. I ended up hating you for weeks afterward.

Mind: Oh, come on! Maybe it’ll be different this time. Now get dressed fast, ok, before I think too hard about this.

[ROOMMATE passes by]

Roommate: Hey Jo, what’re you up to today?

Jo: (rather proudly) I’m going to go workout today.

Roommate: (attempts to hide skepticism) Oh! Well, I hope you have a good time working out.

Body: See? This is ridiculous.

Mind: It’s for your own sake, ok? Let’s just go.

[Jo gets to the workout room. SOMEONE ELSE is already there lifting weights. MIND and BODY hesitate.]

Mind: Ummmm, I guess we’ll just, you know, go in, even though someone else is in there.

Body: Whatever.

[Jo starts the treadmill; begins walking]

Mind: This seems slow.

Body: Well, I think this feels great.

Mind: Ok, fine. I’m gonna read, then.

[Thirty minutes later, the exercise program slows, stops]

Body: Hey, that was good. Good job, Jo!

Mind: (raises figurative eyebrow) Um, I don’t think that was enough. Let’s try just a little more. Come on, back on the machine.

Body: (drags herself back toward the treadmill) Why do I listen to you?

[KID FROM SPANISH CLASS enters workout room, takes adjacent treadmill]

Mind: (whispering) Hey–hey, look. It’s that kid from Spanish class who always knows the answers and makes us feel inferior by comparison.

Body: (somewhat out of breath) Oh. Okay.

Mind: Hey, I have an idea. We should outlast her on here. That’d show her.

Body: ARE YOU NUTS??? We can’t do that!

[GFSC begins running twice the speed of Jo’s jogging]

Mind: Ok, maybe you’re right. She kinda looks like she’s used to this. Here’s what we do. Keep jogging for at least a mile, ok? That will at least look like we aren’t a wimp.

Body: (breathing harder)…

[Five minutes later]

Body: Need to stop. Let’s stop.

Mind: No! We have to get to a mile. In the meantime we’ll play a game, okay? We’ll play, “Imagine how many people are walking by this room, seeing Jo’s increasingly red face.”

Body: I don’t like that game.

Mind: yeah, neither do I. Okay, how about this. If we can make it to ten minutes at this pace and incline, we can stop.

[Three minutes later]

Mind: 1 Corinthians 9:27! 1 Corinthians 9:27! Let’s go!

Body: (gasping) What the heck. You can’t just rip that out of con-

Mind: Hey. If it’s applicable, we use it.

[Approximately 57 seconds later]

Body: I’m done, okay?

[Jo slows the machine, gets off to stretch]

Mind: Wow, good job. I mean, we kinda stink in comparison to the kid from Spanish class, but hey, aren’t you glad we made the effort?

Body: I hate you.