Sunday, January 6, 2008

Slip Slidin' Awaaaay....

I've been described by some as stubborn. I once received a lowered performance review score on tenacity, based on being too tenacious. It was a tenth of a point on a 100 point scale, intended by my then-manager to illustrate that sometimes it is good to let gooooo....but I debated his reasoning as illogical. Eventually I won...but only after I admitted over a drink that he had a point. See, I can learn. :)

Not stubborn. Tenacious. Determined. Filled to the brim with midwestern, middle-class stick-to-it-iveness. But not stubborn.

Today I awoke to unexpected snow - three or so inches of fluffy white. I drank coffee and watched it out my windows and let my soul calm. Also, I stretched my muscles a lot, sore from a grueling aerobic/weight workout. Oh, and did my characteristic wince-giggle move every time I stood up. I was moderately sore.

But I'd planned to walk today. It's on my list. The list of priorities. The sun came out, and some of the snow melted, and I ran some it was late afternoon before I laced up my shoes. That's right, punk. Walking shoes, because I don't own snow hikers. Please. This is the first winter in 13 years that we've had enough snow to use a snow shovel. Now, you might be thinking "hey, you could go to campus and walk in the Rec's climate controlled comfort" - and you would be 100% correct. Except that I wanted to breathe outdoor air, clear and clean. I wanted sunlight and cold air on my face.

So off I went. Ipod, cell phone, tissues, lip moisturizer, ear warmers, sweats, fleece vest, long underwear shirt, that amazing nothing-moves workout bra, socks, gloves, scarf. Yeah, I love winter. Thing's cooling off, and the snow that had melted? It was returning to a frozen state. Only not snow, of course. Standing water forms ice, see.

By the first mile, I'd mastered the technique: small steps, stick to snowy areas where possible (ignoring the snow on ankles), watch for idiots in vehicles. But then...the snow disappeared. The next mile was all skate, and it was fun, actually...yeah, fun. The way a county-fair rollercoaster might be fun when you've seen the carny who put it together last night, and he really looked like he wanted to get back at the world for what it owes him? Yeah, like that.

It's getting dark now, and I manage to get past the icy section. Take that, angry carny-guy messing in my karma. It's all good. I'm smiling a lot, rocking out with the Boss on my Ipod, listening to the MTV unplugged album, and a car passes from behind, so I step over further in the parking lane (no sidewalks, Boise has the MOST screwed up system of sidewalks you can imagine). I am skirting a parked car, another car is approaching from the front...and then a horn blasts behind me. It's loud. Really loud, like a percussion on my body. There is a moment that I'm pretty sure I'm going down. My heart is in my mouth suddenly, and I recognize how stupid it is, how stubborn and not tenacious this walk is, how it's maybe possible that I am self-destructively-stubborn/tenacious/determined and the time has come to pay up for my folly - so I freeze, flinch, try to decide whether to flatten myself into the parked car or take a flyer onto the hood...and then nothing. I turn around, and an idiot female person in a truck is parked in front of the house I just passed, honking at someone to come out of the house. Seriously. So uh, a few hand gestures come to mind. I go with the hands raised, palms up, incredulous look -WTF??? She points at the house, laughs, smiles. Across the street the guy I always see running in the summer when I walk in the early morning is in his driveway, clearly trying not to laugh. He is in his sweatshirt and looks ready to watch a football game. Comfortable. Bastard. "You want I should kick her ass, or explain the world to her?" he says, and then I turn to face him and the two of us just grin.

Yeah, so then I realized. No, I'm not self-destructively stubborn/tenacious/determined, and there is no payment due for any so-called folly.

Seriously. But it's possible that next time it's this snowy I'll go to the Rec. See? I told you I can learn.

Yours in the spirit of tenacity. (Truth told, I LIKE stubborn.)
~ patti


ground control said...

Your ex-boss and my boss are brothers.

Anonymous said...

shared this with half my office. thanks!

Anonymous said...

I like stubborn, too. Thanks for posting.