Monday, 26 September 2011

Taper Madness: Part Deux (Sleepless in Chicago)

It's odd this year all the way around.

Last year at this time I was both nervous and excited that the marathon was weeks away. I had trained and I was ready in many more ways than I am this year - but I was scared, almost petrified. "Could I do it?" I'd ask myself, over and over. Would I get through it? I was nervous and quaky and experienced a sort of restless titillation. I would lie on the sofa, twitching like an electrical wire - trying to watch TV, trying to sleep - doing neither. And I waited. And I waited. But my stomach never once settled nor did I fully rest till the damn race was done. I had every right to be worried. A marathon is hard, very hard. But it didn't kill me. If anything what I remember most about last year was being surprised when it was over. Like, "this is it?!" I experienced more of a letdown than I anticipated. It was as if I had gotten accustom to feeling hyper-excited and when that feeling finally faded, I was bereft.

This year? I wouldn't call it dread but it's something more akin to mad resolution. Like a bad western, gritty, painful - more chancy. One - I'm unconditioned. The calf muscle pull early in the season really blew my training schedule. I was angry I was injured and that anger somehow changed how I felt about running. I was angry I couldn't run and then angry that I had created such a public expectation level by recruiting a team. Suddenly it wasn't about running a race but this team that I had helped create. And then there was Louthor to contend with. Louthor, my Best Buddy/Team Spokesperson - could not stop calling me. Again, and again, and again - till I dread now hearing my cell phone. It's not fun to be stalked by your Best Buddy. For one thing, there is a perceivable sort of male sexuality in Louthor. He's intellectually/developmentally disabled but he's still male. I didn’t really get this till I took him to see the running group and had a few of our other Dragon Runners show up so he could meet them: and he couldn’t stop ogling the female runners. It wasn’t gross so much as awkward because I realized that Louthor was horny. “Ewwww, Louthor --- hey? Really?” It just didn’t compute. But I was pretty dazed to see it and comprehend that fact. I feel no threat it just makes me shake my head. “Oh, God.”

I did not sign up to contend with that but why would I doubt it existed. “Duh.” Good times these….

However, Lothor’s incessant calling was the kicker. In a summer when I’ve been tethered to more responsibilities, work, and worry – these calls have pushed me to the brink. I can’t wait to get this fucking marathon over with it and I hope I can run screaming into the night and change my freaking cell phone STAT because Louthor has been a fucking handful (and I don’t have the patient love of Jesus). I need a flipping break from this fucker or I’m going to pop him. That’s what I mean when I say – BRINK. I laugh to myself because in my head I call this game, “Pop the Gimp.” Which is why I don’t deserve to do charity work and am going to hell. But yes, I have thought these ghastly things and said them to myself and then laughed like a mad woman. Because at one time I thought that this was the right thing to do. I thought it was cool. I was going to run this fucking marathon and do it for charity and be so fucking noble. But volunteering is a hell of a lot harder than training for a marathon. Doing this kind of charity, requires a good heart. Any evil son of a bitch can run for god’s sake. Any idiot can sign up to run for charity too. But to mean it – really commit to it. That’s work on a soul level. And I’m not hitting my mark. I’m a bad seed trying to pretend I’m good. That’s why this race is so hard. I stopped wanting to do it a few months back, frankly.  When people started dying unexpectedly in July, I sort of lost heart.  July was like a fog of grief, peppered with countless calls from my Best Buddy.  "Breisa - when are you coming over?" 

Anyway, Louthor is the worst mirror for me (or the best) because he’s so blatantly needy and manipulative. He's sort of like a chubby little Chihuahua that wants to hump your leg and then without missing a beat wants you take him out to dinner, buy him a corduroy suit and plan his birthday party. Worse, he’s just possessive and demanding and above all LONELY. And the guilt he evokes in spite of all that repels is just tremendous. What a fucking riot this summer has been trying to find time for Louthor in the midst of everything else: 2 jobs, physical therapy, three deaths, two memorial services --- dealing with this wrecked home life/trying to keep the marriage together – and failing miserably, fund raising ----and always trying to pretend that everything is okay when nothing has been okay forever. Nothing has been okay since I moved into this building two years ago and my life fell apart. Two years ago when I realized I had made a mistake. A mistake I’ve been running from the whole time. Hhhmmmm, here we go witches – metaphor/reality. It always plays out this way. The race is like the end of my marriage. Or it has been. This year Don’s barely concealed contempt is withering. He hates this and he hates me. We both know that the end is near. He looks at me as if he wants to see me fail. Or worse, he shows me openly he couldn’t care, even if he tried.
Last year was different; I was excited. This year – it’s like going to war and hoping you'll drop silently with the first bullet.

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Chicago, Illinois, United States
A post modern crone, living in an urban fairy tale set in Rogers Park. Two parts story telling -- one part practical kitchen/spell magick.