My morning run is more of a hajj. I never get where I’m going, I just wind up someplace, often a library, bar or donut shop.
As you know, donuts are a great wet-weather food, perhaps humankind’s greatest achievement.
Quick question: Which came first, the donut or the wheel?
I say donut, because it was far more important to the development of civilization. It gave us hope, the rarest of all precious metals. In times of great sorrow, a donut can still offer joy.
To me, a donut represents the stations of the cross. Which is the route I run most mornings, full of suffering and death. That’s what exercise feel like to me. Suffering. Then death. Then redemption and understanding. Then donuts.
And now Easter nears. Life goes on.
FYI, I’m having toast topped with peanut butter and honey right now. Obviously, I feel like I am winning at life. I give myself five Yelps.
FYI II: I once worked in an office where my co-workers would take half a donut, thereby confirming they were only half alive, as I’d long suspected.
“Live deeply in a shallow world,” someone once suggested.
My co-workers were living shallowly in a shallow world. They were going ‘round and ‘round, exhausting themselves trying to please the boss.
I still see this every day, at the busy intersection where I walk White Fang, drivers zinging through red lights, nearly hitting us. Why? So they can rush to their desks to please the boss.
Hallelujah! Seize the day!
Hope you manage a soulful moment during your busy shifts. For the love of God, please take the whole donut. Live a little.
Meanwhile, spring has sprung, the puddles laced with pollen. The rains linger, the gutters can’t keep up.
As I write this, the sky is gushing rain, and some poor tradesman at the house across the street is flushing the gutters with a garden hose, pleasing the owner to make – what? – a hundred bucks?
I start to take coffee to the worker, but he’s gone, off to rescue others. Or take a hot bath.
Quick, uncomfortable truth: The hardest workers often make the least money.
I’m lucky. The only bosses I have to please anymore are White Fang (our werewolf). And Smartacus (my sidekick). And Suzanne (my mentor/beer pal/burger mama/muse).
I was telling her over the phone about the honey and peanut butter, which is so sublime on a piece of toast. I know that on some deep level, this aroused her.
Suzanne then mentioned the contentedness of listening to the rain at her home in the Palisades…and how much, despite this stormy weather, she still enjoys the rain as she burrows beneath the covers.
Jeeesh, can we just pause here? She’s more writerly than I am. I’m dating Sylvia Plath. A very pretty, sparkly Plath. Certainly not the beaten Plath.
Speaking of life (and death), Smartacus has this schtick he does of me running into old friends at the farmers market. If I haven’t seen the person in a few years, their name might initially elude me.
“Oh hi, how are you?”
As we catch up – on the kids, on the grandkids – I go through my mental Rolodex trying to come up with their first name, which means I am only half-paying attention to what they’re telling me at the moment.
By the time we part, I’ve maybe remembered their name – maybe not – and in any case they wander off wondering if I’ve suffered some blow to the head that prevents me from finding full focus.
(Which I have. But it’s a long story. As a kid, I think I fell off the swingset one too many times. Boiiiiiiing! Bounce! Ouch! For the record, my sisters did nothing to help. Nothing. Just laughed.)
Anyway, that damn Smartacus. He gets me. He really gets me.
“That’s a very writerly observation, “ I tell him about the farmers market encounters.
“Thank you,” he says.
“That’s not a compliment,” I tell him.
He also does this bit about the way people hold their dogs on a leash.
According to Smartacus, the higher an owner holds the leash, the less they understand dogs. If they hold the leash too far up, the dog will circle them, like a tether ball, and wrap them up in a bow.
Soon, everyone is spinning – the owner, the dog. No progress is being made. The “walk” has really just become a standoff. And possibly a medical emergency.
Boiiiiiiing! Bounce! Ouch!
I am grateful beyond words to those who donated to the compassion fund that supports struggling families in our area. Anne Bierling, who runs the parent education program at our church, reports that we’ve raised nearly $14,000. The money goes to outreach programs for homeless families, as well as medical equipment and other important supplies. Thank you.