Monday, March 25, 2013

a jogging story

Nighttime Jenny is a little too optimistic about morning workouts. I always set my alarm for a completely unreasonable time--- and then Morning Jenny wakes up and laughs out loud. Get over yourself, I'm not getting up.

There used to be a time, about seven months ago, when I would wake up every morning at 5:00am to make it to the cycling class at my gym. Long gone are the days, let me tell you. My only rule now is that I must be out of bed at 7:00am and doing something-- out for a jog/hasty walk, cleaning the house, making breakfast, workout videos... anything other than lying in bed or sitting on the couch watching the Today show.

This morning I dragged myself out of bed, laced up my shoes and strapped on my old lady wrist weights and headed out the door. 

The running path outside our place is just one more reason I love living where I do. People walking dogs, college students on their bikes, old couples holding hands... I feel rewarded every time I head out the door in the morning. The gym really can't compete with this stuff.

ran by this little beauty.

This morning was particularly interesting. As usual, I can be very paranoid about my safety when I'm out by myself and no one knows where I am. The running path I take runs from Burbank to North Hollywood and can start to get a bit shady if I get too far. I was just slowing down from a jog when I saw him. Tall, scraggly, dressed in heavy sweats that were stained from body sweat and dirt. He dragged two large market carts behind him loaded with his belongings. He was big and he was strong. As he turned the sharp corner we made eye contact. I was very alone at the time and my heart was pounding. I decided to fight my judgment and fear and kept my pace towards him along the path. Look forward, keep going, calm down Jenny, nothing's going to happen. As we passed I looked into his face and gave an earnest smile. Maybe it was the only smile he'd get today. He just stared back. I looked away. Great. My awkwardness knows no bounds.  I ran along further until my usual turning place.  Annnnd now I have to go back. I could see his carts perched along the corner of the diverging paths. 

As I cautiously approached the area I saw him holding a blunt object. A short dark wooden bat.

My hair stood up on the back of my neck. 

He was going to clobber me. He was going to clobber me and I'm an idiot.

I froze. 

Then he reached down and picked up two more of the short, dark wooden bats. He looked me in the eyes as a smile spread across his face.

Good morning! he said. 
G-g-good m-morning. I replied.

Then he proceeded to toss them into the air, one at a time. He caught them. They went back up. Smiling all the while.

He was juggling.

He came out here, to this little nook of grass alongside the bike path, with all of his belongings in tow, to practice his juggling. And he was excellent.

I was in shock. A very happy, relieved shock. 

I watched for him for a few seconds, trying to process everything. I smiled, wished him a good day, and headed back along the path. I could have skipped all the way home.

There's no better start to the day than a dose of sunshine and exercise and faith in humanity, right? 

I hope you all have a surprisingly inspirational Monday!



(Oh... and I would like to wish my dearest roommate Ashley a very happy birthday! Thank you for being the very best! I don't know what I'd do without you.) 

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