Monday, May 12, 2008

Born to Hobble


Well, I made it. I offer as proof this video documentation (which is also proof of how little I value cleaning the lens of a video camera).

I've just returned from a hobbling trip to the medicine cabinet at the back of the house, where I popped three ibuprofen in anticipation of the soreness in my legs worsening as the night goes on. It'll be fine, I'm sure. But damn! I feel really old right now. Old and angry at Sir Mix-a-Lot, whose joint-smiting rhythms haunt me in my moment of victory.

As for the walk, I'd say it's a pretty good one for the city. It begins with concrete sidewalks in my St. Paul neighborhood. Then comes what I believe is called a "casual path" in hiking circles, where the sidewalk oddly ends and I am forced to walk in a dirt trench carved in the grass by generations of bikers and pedestrians whose voices still echo in the rustle of the wind through the leaves of the low-hanging trees: "What the hell? Where the fuck is the sidewalk?" Then comes the bridge, and over it a bike and pedestrian path all along the Mississippi, until I veer inland for about six blocks of a storied Minneapolis hippie neighborhood, where I work.

I have to be at work at 7:00 a.m., so I reasoned that I should leave at 6:00. Really, there wasn't a lot of reason involved, just my fuck-that attitude about leaving in the 5:00 a.m. hour. I managed to get out the door by 6:03, and I was sort of panicked that I would be late, so I walked really, really quickly all the way there, and I made it at exactly 7:00.

When I do anything requiring even the mildest physical exertion, my face turns roughly the color of a cartoon face that has become overheated due to, say, falling into a vat of boiling water or pounding one's cartoon hand with a hammer. So my first stop at work was the ladies' room, where I splashed some cold water on my face to no avail. I took my seat and attempted to enter my alphanumeric, case-sensitive log-in password with the sausage fingers I get after walking a few miles. I was on my third try when a coworker arrived and said good morning. He regarded my lobster face. "Did you get a bunch of sun this weekend?"

I managed to gasp a reply. "No...I work...really fast." And then he asked the question my knees were screaming: "What's wrong with your car?"

I learned today that when you are dreading a physically taxing commute home, the workday just flies by. Come 3:30, I slung my backpack over my shoulder, told the receptionist that she should look for me in the street if I don't show up tomorrow, and made for the river.

But as soon as I opened the outside door, I breathed springtime in deep, and I was happy to be alive and walking home. I was enjoying the sun and the perfect breeze and, yes, the playful shouts of children in Matthews Park. I know! It was like something out of a movie.

"'Sup?" Came a voice from the barber shop across the street. A man was sitting on a bench underneath the barber pole. I glanced around me and found no one else he could have been reasonably addressing. "Hi!" I shouted back with a wave.

"You coming from chorus?"

Huh? I was utterly unable to account for what would make him think I could sing. "What?" I shouted.

"You coming from class?"

Still confused, I hitched up my backpack and realized that it was what he was referring to.

"Oh, no! Work." I said with a jerk of my thumb to the west. Was this guy trying to gauge if I was legal?

"What you gonna do the rest of the day?"

I fumbled a little. I didn't know what I was going to do for the rest of the day, and for some reason, I felt I owed this guy an explanation that didn't involve any more hints about where I lived or worked. Stupidly, I looked to his example. "Probably just sit outside."

Damn it! Why did I say that? That's not anywhere near what I had planned on doing, but I felt pressured, and I couldn't very well have said, "Go home and lie on the couch until I regain feeling in my left leg.

"Well, you decide you want to sit out here, you just come on back anytime."

My spirits bolstered by shouted propositions from a shady guy on a bench in Minneapolis, I made it to the river in no time. I shed my sweatshirt and got my iPod out of my backpack. "Coming from class," I said to myself. "That's sweet."

There was only one thing I wanted to listen to, and it was all because I couldn't sleep last night. Probably against my best fiscal interest, I decided to get cable at my new place. When I couldn't sleep last night, of course, I turned to my friend cable. There are about 150 movies you can watch On Demand for free, ranging from Immortal Beloved to Demonlover to Blue Velvet. And while I enjoy a good movie as much as the next girl (I've got The African Queen on right now), last night I only had eyes for Eddie and the Cruisers II.

Which brings me to a little experiment you can try if you like. So Arcade Fire is brilliant. I loved Funeral and bought Neon Bible sight unseen. But listen to Keep the Car Running and tell me it isn't reminiscent of Eddie and the Cruisers' signature song, On the Dark Side. And, of course, Eddie's fake band is mimicking Bruce Springsteen and his E Street comrades, who give us the real deal: She's the One. Follow the links to see for yourself, dude. Bruce Springsteen is a freaking genius, and Born to Run carried me home today. Thanks, Bruce.


Tejas said...

How far is your work exactly? Also, I must have missed it but did you sell your car? or you just don't use it for work anymore.

mom said...

Hey, where's my post? I put something VERY clever up here yesterday and now it's gone.

mom said...

Ok, there's something fishy going on post to the previous entry is not there either. Are you deleting them? Hmmmpf, some of my best stuff.....

Jaybird said...

Work is three miles exactly. I didn't sell my car yet, but a girl can dream.

Mom-- what have you been smoking? You're a little paranoid.

mom said...

WHO said I was paranoid! C'mon, who was it? It was that ladder-climbing, suck-up at work, wasn't it?!

k said...

Without those reinforced car doors protecting you, you're really exposed to the gritty reality of life, man, and no longer immune from interaction with any sketchy humans who come across your path. But this is what you have to suffer in order to collect award-winning material for your blob.