338.2: Freaked out.
Well, this sucks: I can’t find my emergency inhaler.
Not that I have needed it in a very long time, at least a couple of weeks, if not months. I’m been on Advair, which you take twice a day, since at least the spring, if not the start of summer, and my asthma has improved to the point where I don’t feel the panicky imperative to constantly have my inhaler on me. But I just finished a rather hard run and I kind of want to take an emergency puff. I wish I could find it, but I am not on the verge of collapsing like when the asthma was so much worse when the year started. It would help right now to have my emergency inhaler, but if I just sit, rest, relax and wait it out, I am sure I’ll be fine…
I do not consider myself prone to vanity. It feels good to receive compliments but I certainly never know how to take them, except to blush or make an awkward remark in the style of Chandler Bing from Friends. Yesterday at work, one of the supervisors complimented me on a dress shirt that I’d chosen to pair with my jeans. He said he liked the look of the stripes and the raised collar. I said, “I’m only wearing this because it makes me look skinny.”
Yet when friends and acquaintances who have not seen me in some time see me again, they will likely and inevitably ask how I did it. Have you lost weight? A little. How did you do it? I’m training for a marathon. The last unasked question might be: after you’re done with the marathon, how will you keep it up?
Since running is the only sport that I can play well, it is also an activity that I have enjoyed incorporating into my life as more than just a way to lose weight and stay fit. It is as part of my life as checking out a library book or doing laundry — OK, I don’t want to say that running is an obligation like doing the laundry, but it is also a routine and a fun thing to do like checking out a library book.
A good example of how I have made running a normal component of daily life is this hard run that I just went on — it was actually an unplanned run. This is the weekend of Outside Lands. (I’m not going. I hate crowds and it’s too expensive, and I’m working. I kind of wanna see Birdy, though. Mainly because her name is Birdy.)
Predictably, San Francisco’s beleaguered public transit system is getting additionally battered because of Outside Lands, not to mention the fact that you guys are playing in town for the next few days. This means that today there were a lot of people — lots of them quite young, enough to make me feel so old — wandering around either waiting for the buses or trying to make sense of why they are so badly operated. Anyway, I couldn’t stand waiting around anymore so I just started running from place to place. I had to take a train from work that was going in the direction of my apartment but not really near it, so I got off in the vicinity of home and then ran. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, except for the fact that the only thing on me that’s running-appropriate is my shoes.
(It is not a good habit to wear your running shoes when you’re not actually running, but I wore them to work today expecting that MUNI would make me resort to this. In fact, Linc, I’ve come to accept that I pretty much run everywhere, so it makes sense to wear my running shoes almost every day — I am dreading when I will have to replace them again, as these things are worth the expense but I can only once in a while spare the expense.)
In loose, heavy jeans from the era before marathon training, strapped tightly around my waist with the only belt I have that isn’t almost a size 40, as well as a cotton t-shirt and — brace yourself — a backpack overly stuffed with my Giants track jacket (because it was cold this morning), some books, and a jar of peanut butter (this is an odd habit that I have taken to having in recent weeks), I got off the train, ran to the library and then finally made it home. I had to stop by the library and pick up a reservation that was already a few days old, and it would be canceled if I didn’t get it. The library didn’t have any comment at how I brought the book up to him to check out while I stood there sweating bullets, looking as if I were a young punk dared to rob the library.
My run isn’t even done. Now I am home only to rest a little bit, catch my breath, drink some Gatorade and, yeah, I figured I’d write another never-to-be-sent. I also have to get some groceries. If I feel like it, maybe I’ll even run back home. I have to do this earing my backpack again, but at least now I’ve changed into my running shorts.
I’ve been meaning to mention the infamous Taylor Grey Meyer letter. I’m not sure if these are the sorts of things to which you pay much attention, but I do feel her pain. This isn’t just because that I, too, have endured the job hunt but because I can relate directly.
In 2009, I was so hyped up over my newfound fandom that I thought I, too, could get a job in baseball. We will ignore the fact that my qualifications relating to the sports, marketing or journalism industries are nearly nonexistent and just move forward to the point in the story when I booked a trip to Minneapolis to attend a Twins job fair. Yes, I had of course looked first to see if the Giants were hiring and in the process of seeing no open jobs from your organization, I came across the listing for the Twins job fair. I’d never been to Minneapolis but had always wanted to see the middle of the country, the American midwest. I was new to baseball and considered my discovery of it spiritual, and I was young. So, I flew to Minneapolis, stayed there for a few days, saw the sights, but left the job fair without much promise or any leads for a job even though I’d spent all that money on airfare, a hostel, various pocket expenses and, of course, a registration fee for the job fair itself.
The fee was nowhere near how much the Padres were charging poor Taylor. If I were to look back cynically, I could be mad at the Twins, the people at the job fair and I could kick myself in the ass for wasting all of that money. But that trip was an indelible experience of my life and, more importantly, my new life as a baseball fan. I got to see a beautiful region of the country to which I have never possessed any relation. And if I ever have to move over there, at least I know that I already like the baseball team. (Really, is it any surprise that I lust after Joe Mauer?) I have no regrets about the experience. But I can see how it can be something that sparks a lot of justifiable anger.
I don’t really want to comment on Taylor Grey Meyer’s actions. I don’t want to defend her but neither do I want to eviscerate her (not that I want to do the latter, because I’d be more likely to do the former). I have just been thinking about the whole story for a few days now and many random thoughts have been spinning in my head. First, isn’t it wonderful how the letter is still a powerful tool? The pen is mightier, and all that. (Damn you, Darrell Hammond for hilariously and forever ruining that great aphorism.) While it certainly did ruffle professional feathers, the fact that the letter went viral across a general audience shows that in an electronic age, the written word still counts for something. Next, I have fantasized about fashioning a never-to-be-sent in the same ribald voice. But I have had to think very carefully about whether or not I have anything worthwhile to say.
I am going to make a damned good husband for some guy some day. I could stand to be a little more organized, and lose (even more) weight, but he will always have something to eat for dinner and he will love having me at his side at parties and restaurants. Now, if someone like you, Linc, were to take me as a husband, you wouldn’t find anyone better, man or woman. The husband you take will have to be desirable not just to yourself but to the public eye. While I do lag in the department of beauty, it is my winning personality that will triumph. You don’t endure years of parents fighting with each other and a series of conflict-oriented jobs, and now events coordination, without developing a sense of diplomacy. Perhaps if I had been a better student in high school, I could have gone to an expensive private college and been on Secretary of State Clinton’s staff. But I am content to work full time at a bookstore, which brings me to another admirable standard: I am modest. Working at a bookstore is perhaps the highest ambition I’ve ever had, aside from being published, or spending an entire baseball season doing nothing but actually going to baseball games. I would like to be married to you, but that is more of a recurring dream than an ambition.
Also, I do not like money. I do not like the baggage it brings into people’s lives, and how the baggage collects both literally as debt and expensive storage units, and figuratively, as burdens and shame. As a retail supervisor, one of my primary roles is to count money, and the bills and bundles of money are disgusting and sometimes outright filthy. They may be valuable, but I often wonder if anyone has considered that mass extinction through currency is a realistic possibility.
When it comes to a life and politics, I do not seek the higher ground. I prefer the middle ground. Some liberals will question my faith in God and, yes, the church. And some conservatives will disapprove of commingling my sexuality with the sorts of traditional values that they were somehow under the impression of inheriting and owning. Oh, and you know, I really like the waffle fries at the Chick-fil-A. I grew up eating there. Ma likes the chicken sandwich there. If she wants to grab a bite to eat at Chick-fil-A the next time I’m in town, I may just end up not reminding her of the gay marriage fiasco. I know what I’m doing: spending my money on a company owned by someone who would influence society and government to limit my choices. But I am also a son who wants to spend time with his mother. I am not a headline or a talking point. All I can ever be, Linc, is a good husband. I can be a great one, too.
Well, there we are. Not as ribald as Taylor — although if you were to marry me, Linc, the counteroffer that she made to the Padres is a perk that would certainly accompany the wedding ring.