Last week, I went on one of the weirdest runs of my life.
Before I tell you more, it would make me feel better for you to know be helpful for you to know that I used to run all the time. I was captain of my last place all-star high school cross country team, and I did plenty of long-distance running during college. When I was in shape, it was something I enjoyed.
But then I moved to Savannah, where the consumption of fried things and the ability to legally drink in public are the only two reasons for the city’s massive tourist population. Thus, as I approach my one-year anniversary of living in Georgia, I am now no more fit to run for fun than the average sumo wrestler. Sadly, this metaphor doesn’t actually qualify me to be a sumo wrestler, which is probably way more awesome than running.
At the moment, the only way for me to not hate exercise is to listen to pump-up music on my phone while I run; however, I’m afraid to run with my phone. Dropping, breaking, or losing things is always a major paranoia of mine–I’ve done all three to many phones in a veritable cornucopia of ways that are almost funny. Almost.
So on the eve of a soon-to-be-strange run, I had a wonderful idea. I conceived of and birthed a beautiful brainchild, right in my apartment. I engineered a break-through innovation of Jeffersonian scale and brilliance. I made the world’s first Runaritto.
Step 1: Get a bunch of socks. Step 2: Put your phone inside of the first sock, pressing “play” before the screen disappears beneath sock. Step 3: Repeat until you feel comfortable with the amount of sock padding that you have provided your phone. Step 4: Remove all of these socks, because you forgot to plug in your headphones. Repeat steps 1-3.
Fairly pleased with myself, I decided to take the Runaritto for a spin. After completing Step 4 (see above), I replaced the 7 or 8 socks, pressed play at the top of my “recently added” playlist, and jogged out the door. My most recent iTunes purchase was “Stronger,” by Kelly Clarkson, for which no-one is allowed to judge me.
I wasn’t gone for 30 seconds before I noticed that the sky was growing pretty dark. Undeterred, I spun around and strode back to my apartment to the beat of the song, wrapping my Runarrito in a plastic shopping bag when I got there. WILL I EVER RUN OUT OF GOOD IDEAS?
About 3 minutes after plastic-bagging my phone-sock-ball and departing from my apartment, the song ended–only to begin once again. ”Could my phone’s mp3 player be set to repeat?” I wondered, continuing to run along the sidewalk. I decided not to check for now–perhaps the song got listed twice in the playlist. Either way, it would take close to 5 minutes to disassemble my Runarrito, and I needed to keep running. And it’s not like I minded a second listening…
This turned out to be my first bad idea of the day. Right as Kelly C. forcefully sang that you know in the end the day you left was just my beginning, the sky opened up, rendering any song-changing useless for the rest of the run. And sure enough, as the song ended for the second time, it began yet again. I wasn’t even 1/4 of the way done with my route.
Maybe I should’ve turned back. But I didn’t–what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right Kelly? Maybe I should’ve stopped at the stand-alone liquor store that marks the half-way point of my run and stepped inside to fix my Runarrito. Before I could enter the parking lot, my pride lept in front of the establishment’s doors, barring the entrance. Why? Well, my earbud volume was maxed out, so my song choice would be no secret to the store’s patrons; more importantly, making this adjustment meant accepting my invention’s failure. This phone wrapped in socks and a wet plastic bag was not a failure.
So I pushed through, attempting to make a game out of memorizing the lyrics as I persevered through the rain and my out-of-shape-induced exhaustion. Looking back on things, I still have a hard time finding words for my state of mind in the last half of the run–I was extremely annoyed by the song’s repetition, and singing along to distract myself nonetheless. Maybe it was more than that: in a terribly cheesy way, many of the lines partially fit my absurd situation, even though I was annoyed…
I won’t try to over-think it, but I listened to “Stronger” 15 times on that run. Hey, what doesn’t kill you makes a fighter. Swift steps even lighter…
You know the bed feels warmer…sleeping here alone…
If you have read posts from my blog in the past, thanks for coming back! I took a long hiatus while job-searching and doing other things, but I’m back for good now. Stop by when you get the chance, and tell me what you think if you have anything to say about the music I write about, or my writing itself. Check back this weekend to see the “Playlists” menu–it’ll finally be fully operational, like the Death Star. I tried to find a video link to that quote, but all I could find was this stoned guy playing with an Admiral Akbar keychain.
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