A few years ago, I used to be really into running. I used to be the type who’d balk when a friend would inform a gathered circle of drinking acquaintances that I was “a runner.”
I’d reply, “I’m not; it’s just something I do.”
I’d flutter my hands at the wrists and kick my heel backwards and then say, “I shouldn’t even be able to run! I’m like a little bumble bee!”
Taken as false modesty, the motivation for my playful defensiveness was fairly simple: I wasn’t that good at running.
I mean, yeah, sure, I grew up playing sports, but I was somewhere between an Einstein and a Dunning-Kruger with all my running around on grassy fields or parquet courts. With my stocky, muscular build, I definitely would never consider myself “a natural runner.” Nor believed I’d ever become a runner.
My personal opinion was that no one should ever run more than 10 miles unless they’re running from something. With claws. Or the police. Or their own dark past. If someone wasn’t satisfied with my defensiveness, they’d ask me “How’d you get into that?” The answer to that was also simple: I had nothing better to do.
No job. No money. All the time in the world inside my apartment in an old, decrepit pier-and-beam four-plex in Montrose, the eclectic “Gayborhood” of historic Houston. Imagine having all the time in the world to do whatever you wanted, but there’s nowhere to go and no one to hang out with because you have no money to do anything with and everyone you know is working at their job. But, it turns out that being bored when you’re poor is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Even when you’re a “creative type” like me.
You can keep yourself occupied for the first few weeks. Those are a novelty. An early stage of grief, one might say. You’re still touristing in the uncertainty of solitude, but you don’t live there yet. I mean, there’re only so many times you can only go to a city park and sit on a bench by yourself staring at a body of water, the trees, or the birds, before realizing you’re staring at a muddy bayou and not at Emerson’s pond.
My older brother Mason was really what kept me going. After I drunkenly soliloquized to his daughter about the Battle of the Bulge, he asked if I’d like to try out morning runs together or coffee. Like…