I didn’t even want to be there.
But I had no choice really. Between the gorgeous midsummer evening breeze; the looming guilt that would ensue had I driven past the lake on my way home; and the threat of having to buy a whole new wardrobe…I found myself stretching my hammies against my back bumper, and adjusting my ipod*shuffle.
Even so, I wanted to be home relaxing with a Bud*Lime. Reading thesis stuff. But I took my place amongst my fellow joggers, bikers, bladers, strollers, and dog walkers… pumped up my volume and set out to circle the lake. As I’m walking, I’m looking down at my thighs. I like ‘em thick, rubbing together even, but my slacks don’t necessarily. My arms could use some toning, but they aight. Dare I say I wish I had a rearview mirror so I could check out my ass. I can use all the help I can get back there. It’s the midsection that’s a problem. A combination of emotional eating, binge drinking, a penchant (compulsion) for Sub*way cookies, and a lover with the southern sensibility and distinct intention of “fattening me up,” have done me in. So I jog. The effects of those damn clove cigarettes constrict the shit out of my breathing. But I trudge on as best as I can.
One time around is all I’m in for. That’ll satisfy my nagging laziness. Tomorrow I’ll complete my requisite three lap minimum. And I’ll remember to update my music. No offense to Kelly*Clarkson and Sean Paul, but I’ve pretty much memorized the order of every possible shuffle.
I’m about a half mile in, scooting between a group of walker-grandmas. I emerge in front of them and catch out of the corner of my eye an impending white arm. I ignore it, until I see it again, this time pulling slightly ahead of me. I skip a step ahead then pause to pretend like I’m scratching the fresh mosquito bite on my shin. Sure enough there’s this frumpy white woman hopping alongside me at a slightly amped up pace.
See, this what I be talking about when I be talking about shit.
I’m simply not having it. Not physically, not psychologically, not historically. I don’t know if it’s the 400 years of it all, or some washed up athlete thing I'm feeling, but something ignites my engine. I’m sailing now, weak lungs be damned. And dammit if Frumpkin isn’t keeping up. Has the nerve to almost pass me. I’m coming up on where my truck is parked, and what was just a moment ago a consolation work out, suddenly turns gladiator on my ass.
My juices are flowing, I’m in a rhythm. The bitch won't die. Is she even sweating? Is that grey hair? Holy shit, I'm losing to Jonie from Happy*Days. I'm shaming Flo-Jo and Wilma who came before me. What the hell ever happened to white girls being scared of us?! If we can't win a foot race what's left? (a dance-off, obviously).
It’s not easy. I'm struggling. I’m…challenged. It’s very Jesse*Owens 1936 Berlin Olympics, except the only aryan here is in my mind. I’m determined not to let this white woman pass me under not no circumstances. I focus. I coast.
“This is a good pace,” she says. All I hear is Portis*head blaring from my earphones. I notice her gesture to me, and I hit mute to hear her repeat herself. I agree, hit pause again and keep moving. We go on like this for another mile and a half, until I see my car again. I spurn it like a bad fcuk, and move on. A few minutes later, Frumpelstein gestures to me again.
“That was really good,” she pants, and veers off the path toward her car. I wave good bye and trudge on. I’m spent, but I won’t let her know that. ‘Give her about a minute or two to drive off then double back and quit,’ says my inner-scoundrel. Easy enough.
But I fought off easy a couple miles back.
If only there were frumpy white people running beside me all the time.
Maybe I’d get a lot more done.