i hope that someone gets
my message in a bottle
— the prophet gordon sumner
“watch out for the traffic,” he tells me.
at first i’m not sure why. but then i realize he just wants to talk, and that’s a way to start a conversation. i’m an introvert. i’m a bit slow to pick up on the subtleties of life.
i’ve just finished a 3-mile fartlek run and i’m trying to find the will to live. gotta be around here somewhere. he’s an old guy, maybe mid-70s. at first i’m not sure if he’s a homeless guy or not. bottle of water, plastic bag from the store. hawaiian shirt, circa 1960 ut longhorn baseball, khaki shorts, old tennis shoes.
i explain i live here and i’m done. he says he lives in the senior complex nearby and he’s coming back from his daily walk. he just went up to …………………………. and it escapes him. it’s a school. ah, ray high school, i offer. i run there a lot. that’s it! he brightens up as the blank is filled in. he walks past the school and back every day. that’s a long way, i say. i just keep on keeping on, he says, and thrusts a celebratory fist skyward. it strikes me. this is his blog.
we write these dumb little blogs to connect with the world. to share stories, to show off our runs, to seek sympathy in defeat. but a generation ago, there was no such thing. you actually had to TALK to people to share what you had accomplished.
i consider telling him about today’s run. the grinding bursts and short recoveries. the sprint up the Hill of Death. the desperate push to get the legs to pump hard enough to get the hr up to 160. suffer, recover, suffer, recover, die, live, die, wonder what the big deal was. but who really cares? better to celebrate a great walk in a hawaiian shirt. keep on keeping on. i’m keeping that one.