Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Holy Awkward

So, I would normally never post on back-to-back days. It's sort of a principle thing. Blogs are a dime a dozen, and who's really interesting enough to write about their life every single day?

[Aside:] The answer there is no one.

But I feel compelled to let this one rip (future pun totally intended). I'm in the process of training for a marathon. This process is sometimes rewarding and sometimes utter torture. Occasionally I feel like Mercury flying wing footed just above the ground and the pure exhilaration of running fast(ish), over distance, and comfortably is enough to make me smile suddenly and laugh to myself. This was the case yesterday when I found myself slowly but surely clicking through the gears on a seven mile run and finishing strongly with a maniacal grin plastered across my face. But, as the Greeks were so fond of pointing out, when a mortal likens himself to a god, there's sure to be some sort of divine punishment. Ah, hubris.

I set out on my run today feeling full of myself, but I quickly realized the legs weren't there. Whereas yesterday I felt springy and light, today I felt like an elephant with concrete shoes. First my ass tightened up, then my calves, and finally my stomach started to rumble in protest. Two thirds of the way though my planned run, I was out of gas and walking dejectedly back home.

On the trail in front of me an Asian couple was shuffling along enjoying an evening stroll. When I first saw them they were a good hundred yards in front of me and I was confident that there would be no awkward walker-passing-walker exchange. You know what I'm talking about. It's sort of like when you see someone you know in public and have a brief exchange, say your goodbyes, and then both realize you're headed in exactly the same direction. No one likes that. It's awkward. Before I knew it though they were only fifty yards in front of me. Then twenty. Now ten.

They had been passing a mobile phone back and forth and speaking a staccato rhythm of what I believed to be Mandarin Chinese and I was confident that they had not yet noticed I was just behind them. Right as I was about to break into a jog and play the I-just-caught-up-to-you-because-I've-been-running card and coast the final quarter mile back to the house, the woman in the couple hung up the phone, paused for about two beats, and then uncorked the longest, most intensely strained fart I have ever heard in my life.

Oh. My. God.

I was like a burglar in a Loony Toons cartoon. I froze in a tip toe and tried not to breathe...both out of fear of being noticed and of the possible malodorous consequences, my face strained as if I were in the process of dipping myself into a frozen lake

At that very moment, the woman SHOOK HER FREAKIN' LEG to wrest out the final crescendo of gas. All told, we're talking a good five seconds of fart time.

Biting my cheeks and holding my breath, I faked my best I've-been-running-for-a-while-and-just-now-caught-up-to-you-and-no-I-definitely-did-not-hear-you-tear-the-sky-in-half-with-your-ass jog. When I was at the woman's eight o'clock, she noticed me, stepped to the side, and grabbed her husband's arm. As I passed, she said something in Chinese which, although I don't speak, I was able to roughly translate as, "Holy fuck, I just crop dusted the bejesus out of that guy!"

I ran the final quarter mile to sell the farce that I had been running the whole time and finished with another huge smile on my face, but for an altogether different reason. As my sister once told me, with a look of convicted sincerity on her face, "I don't want to live in a world where farts aren't funny."

Amen to that. And also, I'll think twice before cutting a run short again.


Ghani said...

This was great. I don't want to live in a world where farts aren't funny either. Amen.

An American in Aland said...


Rachel said...

Yay for public farts! I really believe they should count as a public service, as long as they aren't malicious, overused, or intentional.

Excellent example: the long, sad slapper that came out of a woman at the back of the room in my Lamaze class when we were all struggling around on the floor trying to imitate good birthing positions. This one was especially heroic, as we all had babies punching our intestines and the threat of cracking out a fart had to be on everyone's mind.