Guccis and Mason Jennings
San Jose, California. Black coffee and toast.
The floral tablecloth is covered in clear plastic. Sal’s family is moving around me.
The toast will be unwelcome cargo in 25 minutes, but my gut is singing songs to me and I have to wait for my iPhone to load up new music.
I’ve cut my hair again. The sun is shining. Across the street, the firemen are cleaning their shiny red trucks. Sprinklers are making green lawns greener and old ladies are bent over flower gardens, preparing to wave at me just as soon as I appear around the corner.
The suburbs are loaded with mediocrity, simplicity and the slow progress of daily lives turning over and over again. They’re waiting for me.
White earbuds into small ears. Music. Sidewalk. Sun.
I’ve forgotten my technical sunglasses, so I wear the massive Gucci’s that we bought in Playa de la Carmen years ago. They slip down on my nose when the sweat comes. The San Jose heat penetrates me.
This is my loop. A 2.2 mile lap that I created one day in 2003 by driving the car around the neighborhood. There were days in that year that I ran this loop 6 times in a row.
I can still run the route on autopilot – completely without thought. I know every ridge in the sidewalk, every uneven bit of surface. Boring? Maybe. Therapeutic? Absolutely.
It’s a trance.
I run without anger or aggression. Without worry. Without anxiety or doubt.
Mason Jennings sings "Moon Sailing on the Water" and I have to force myself not to sing along. My side hurts. The toast is making itself known.
I find a place just on the periphery of the pain and hunker down. I imagine that the discomfort is a teacher so I make myself open to lessons. I am struck by the beauty of my purpose here: to put my feet in front of one another, to keep moving forward.
In every other moment of my life, the input is on rapid fire. Demands from all sides. Opportunities, requirements, responsibilities, choices, impositions, requests, decisions, dilemmas.
Today there is only this toast in my gut and this concrete under my feet – and the simple task of moving my body forward across the surface of the earth.
I need to run. It’s part of me.
When I’m done, I walk a cool down on Knollfield Way and lay down in the grass under a neighbor’s tree to stretch. The toast is gone, satisfied.
My body is glowing and shiny. Hot from the inside out. Saturated with elation and calm.