Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Just Want to be Left Alone

Well, geesh. So much for spring.

One of the advantages of cold, gray, drizzly days is that I get the hike-and-bike trail largely to myself; and one of the disadvantages of the hike-and-bike trail is that it makes an excellent backdrop for local-news lifestyle stories, student movies, and TV commercials. Fine. Great if you happen to be involved in producing such a venture, as you have a beautiful, free resource at your fingertips. Not so great if you're a miserable peon like myself, who can't even go for a brisk lunch hour stroll without occasionally getting filmed - and not at your prettiest either. Who wants to appear on camera sweaty, flushed, and in gym clothes? After the fourth or fifth time this happens, you start to understand exactly where Sean Penn is coming from.

Today a good-sized crew was filming a commercial under the South First bridge, so there was a motorcycle cop stationed in the road to keep people from driving onto the set, and a cute guy deflecting approaching pedestrians.

I cooperated and stepped aside to wait, uncomplainingly,* though I really don't see how these people get off just co-opting the whole trail at will. The jogger twenty seconds behind me was much less tolerant. "How am I supposed to run then? Huh?!" he demanded, not unreasonably I thought, then jogged angrily off towards the street. Fortunately the take really was just as quick as the cute guy said it would be, so I was back on my way within two minutes. The jogger overtook me several seconds later, still looking pissed off. Bet he was straight. I should have run after him.

Nah, I'm just kidding: no offense to any joggers who happen to be reading. I just don't believe habitual runners are entirely normal.**

For me at least, excessive physical activity is the sign of a deeply distressed mind: I can't sit still for long, but have to get up and move, walk about, pace, like a caged animal. Misery makes a great weight-loss aid. (Unless you're a comfort eater.) I'm not talking about a dull, throbbing ache, or a sense of general purposelessness, or angst or mere ennui: no, but I've always found that sharp emotional anguish does wonders for my figure.

But it doesn't last... mercifully, I suppose. Before you even know it, and long before you would have thought it was possible, the world begins to look normal again and you go most of a week simply forgetting to be unhappy. First you have to go through all the Official Stages™ of Grief: Denial, Anger, Sorrow, and finally Acceptance*** - which would be perfectly fine, if you didn't go through them in sequence five or six times during a single day, which tends to give you whiplash. But gosh darnit if life doesn't just go right along and next thing you know you can't remember quite what you were so upset about. I don't know about you, but it makes me feel a bit like Peggy Lee.

Or maybe Sean Penn. I think I'll maybe take a kickboxing class this fall. That way I'll be better equipped to deal with the film crews and photographers on the hike-and-bike.

*Did I mention there was a cute guy?
**srsly. We're talking compared to me, here. You cannot possibly be offended.
***Your mileage may vary

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