The very idea of having to navigate human territory is daunting. I just have a feeling this morning if I have to deal with people it will end poorly. It’s a good forty-five minute drive into the human zone and then I have to be able to get in, and get back out again, without one of them trying to kill me. This will not be easy because I am traveling in a pick-up truck which means I have to share the road with many human beings, which of at least one out of every one thousand will actively try to kill me. Be it passing on the wrong side, passing with traffic coming, speeding, drunk driving, or firing a gun at road signs, when you share the road with human beings you take your life into your hands.
Clearly, I have some issues with my own species.
The drive is survived and I sit down to drink coffee and write at a local worldwide coffee selling place. Nearly immediately, a human sits down on a chair across from me while waiting for his coffee. Wait, what? Uh, you’re just going to invite yourself to join me while you wait for your order? Hold on there, Cowboy.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“What?” Cowboy asks.
“What are you doing?” I repeat myself. “Why are you sitting at my table?’
Cowboy is about fifteen by the looks of him. He’s also neglected to remember to shave for about six months or bathe for at least that long. The man looks like a skid row bum who has just only now hit puberty. He’s wearing a cowboy hat and he’s clearly agitated. Maybe the idea they actually have to pour his coffee into a cup before he gets it has him on edge.
“Are you going to the park today?” I ask before he can form an answer to my first question.
“It’s Pride Day at the park today are you going?” and I keep asking questions before he can answer.
“If you don’t have a date…” And Cowboy launches himself at the counter to wait for his order. Time was this tactic would have started a fight but these days it’s just a good way to get rid of someone who doesn’t have any business being there to begin with. I’m not sure which of us has worse issues here; Cowboy because he clearly doesn’t mind invading someone’s personal space, or me for being reactive when someone does. At the same time, being in public requires a certain amount of willingness to be around people, I get that, but not to the point someone can sit across a table from me without me knowing who the hell they are.
I’m writing. Is please to keep distance from me. I need coffee but not company.
There’s an old story reborn that involves a man and his wife who accidently kill the wife’s lover. The man is a guard at a prison where a female serial killer is on Death Row. She’s has some psychic abilities and offers help hide the death and lead the couple to a million bucks of buried cash if they will help her escape.
Would you do it?
There is a realization that exhaustion just might be a good drug of choice later in the day. I wait for the caffeine to take a hold of me and I head to the gym where a treadmill awaits me. I think we shall go 6.7 miles an hour until it hurts, I tell the machine and it obeys. Once upon a time I could do ten miles an hour all day long but that was three decades and thirty pounds ago. Right now I only want to be able to run a 5K in less than half an hour. My short term goal is to run five point five miles in an hour. I can do that today, but not at once. My plan is to take 6.7 into the thirty minute time zone and then sort out the rest of the run as it comes.
The first mile is hard. I cannot find a rhythm anywhere. A few seconds past nine minutes pass and I wonder if I should punt. But the next mile passes without incident and I find myself at the two mile mark in less than eighteen minutes. My breathing becomes more settled and my body finally accepts the run. Three point one miles fall at the twenty-eight minute mark and I realize I have to slow down if I am to survive but I have to make it to thirty minutes. At thirty-six minutes I have to slow down to a walk, but I’m pretty close to four miles at this point. I walk, I run, and finally walk, and average six miles an hour. It feels good to be alive.
Then there is the traffic back.
The Moron of the Day is the person who passes me and then makes a right turn nearly immediately. I have to brake hard to keep from rear ending him, but what makes him truly stupid as well as dangerous is he’s overshot the turn and nearly hits a car coming out of that street. Moreover, that car is a police cruiser which goes all blue lights on him. That’s going to hurt your insurance rates.
Oddly, more than anything else that has happened since I woke up, someone trying to kill me with a car affects me more than, let’s say, watching one of the regular pond birds eat a fish way too big to have been born in my pond, or at least I think it is too big for that. This is the first year in a while we’ve had enough water to call it a pond and there’s a fish wider than my hand living there now? It does occur to me I know next to nothing about how big fish can get in a year, or how long they live, or for that matter, what species of fish it was to begin with. That would help, don’t you think, if I knew that?
I have survived people for another day. It does occur to me that I interacted well with the people I had to and interacted poorly with someone who surprised me. I think I am part Chow, really, but I don’t have the hair for it.