Monday, July 14, 2014

What are Friends For?

This morning a nephew (in-law) and I set off at 7 to run a 20-mile route. My belt held two water bottles, a cellphone, and some home-made trail mix. Weather prognosticators had predicted 90 degrees so I wondered if two bottles were enough and began trying to imagine where we might refill.

As usual, my twenty-years-younger partner set off at a good clip. He figured--even said--we should be back by ten, right? I laughed.

"Who was smarter," asks Virginia, "the Arizona transplant who has learned to survive without water, or the elder ninncompoop who should have followed his oft-repeated advice, 'don't start out too fast?'"

About mile eight, guess who said, "My legs are feeling pretty heavy right now." The other, appearing concerned, said, "Are you okay?" The first one answered, "I'll probably be fine once I work through this."

It didn't happen. Soon after the turn-around (on the out-and-back course), the one with the habit of running along ahead to make sure everything's safe for the other took off at a good clip. His one water bottle wasn't empty.

The other had only a drop and a good excuse to take a break. A CSX employee stood near the Alpine Farm wayside.

"Hi there. May I ask you something? I heard about someone who set a metal canoe down across the tracks. According to the story, it shut down East Coast traffic. Is that true?"

"Yes, maybe not the whole East Coast, but put anything across the track and it'll trigger a signal indicating the track's blocked. Ever since 9-11, Homeland Security's been investing a lot of money in railroad safety. Now the trains could run without engineers, although it makes sense to continue providing a job for someone to keep an eye out for things computers don't notice."

The ensuing conversation covered good effects of job layoffs. A newspaper editor took a hard labor job on the railroad. "I figured he'd fail, coming as he did from a sun-less inside job pushing pencils, but he's a good man, after a while he landed a job editing the union newspaper and writing for the railroad." We hit on raising pigs, making sausage (he leaves out the sage and other spices so the cook can spice it the way he wants), animals breaking through fences, ages (60 and 61), customizing tee shirts, and more.

The runner out front came back, having started to worry about the slowpoke. "OK, I'll get going."

Three or four miles later, I texted a friend, "RU home? I'm running in Alpine and almost out." I barely had the presence of mind to add another text, "of water."

Talk about slow. After an eternity, I pulled up to my friend's shop. He pointed, "Water? There. Take all you want."

As it turned out, his wife was leaving shortly for our place. My plans to walk the rest of the way evaporated, as had I (almost).

Eight hours later, as we finished dinner, a Prius pulled into our driveway. "I think it's David coming to check on you," Karen said.

Right, as usual.

Tell me, how many of your friends would drive 4 miles one-way because they can't reach you by phone and are worried you're not okay?

1 comment:

  1. We're lucky to have great friends. By the way, there's nothing wrong with being a slow-poke. There IS something wrong with not knowing your limits. I'm glad you're slowly learning.