(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 9/23/10)
I don’t know if I told you, but I’m in the middle of training for a half-marathon. It’s my second, and I can tell you, I never thought I’d be the type of person to willingly run in races. But…I’ve found running to be an easy kind of workout (you can do it anywhere, for free, without spending too much on equipment). Plus it’s been an interesting challenge. I joined the track team in 7th grade (only because my best friend, Kim, wanted to join the track team and we did everything together), and the only thing I can really take away from that experience is the fact that my mother told me I look funny when I run. So there you have it.
Nonetheless, I am currently running 5 times a week, with a day of cross-training (bike-riding) thrown in there. One of the things I enjoy about this daily run is the opporutnity it gives me to really check out my neighborhood. I’ve run essentially the same path over and over for the last year and a half, but inevitably something new surprises me every time. Today, instead of my usual morning run, I opted to go out at about 2pm (one of the luxuries of unemployment is the ability to workout at whatever time I want to, not necessarily the crack of dawn). And it was definitely a different kind of experience. Early in my run, I was joined by a pack of high-school kids, in the midst of their afternoon P.E. run. I am proud to say I was able to keep up with them, although thankfully our paths did not converge for long (nothing like watching a teenager run effortlessly to make you feel old). But the most amusing part happened when I rounded the corner to my street and was half a block from my apartment. I live on a residential street, all apartment buildings, and it’s pretty quiet for the most part. Not alot of pedestrian traffic, mostly just neighbors walking their dogs (and the occassional crazy homeless person, but that’s another blog). As I rounded the corner, I was approached by an older man dressed nicely in a suit carrying an empty 2-liter Coca-Cola bottle. He started to say something, and I had to remove my headphones in order to hear him. He dramatically indicated the empty Coke bottle to me, and proceeded to ask me, in severly broken English, “Please tell, have cholesterol?”. I thought, what the hell is he asking me? Is this some sort of ambush? Is some guy gonna pop out of the bushes while I try to decipher what this guy is saying to me? But no, he simply wanted to know if Coke contained cholesterol. As he went on to explain “Me no cholesterol. Say doctor”, I understood that he wanted to know if this 2 liter he just sucked down was going to kill him or not, based on the recommendations from his doctor. He and I both studied the label, which I tried to tell him said “not a significant source of cholesterol” but it took alot of hand gestures and figuring out different ways to say “no” (like nada, nothing, zip, zero) to get my point across. I finally saw the light bulb go off, he smiled, seemed excited by my answer, and went on his merry way. Why the fuck he was walking down the street asking strangers this question is beyond me, but hey, this is Los Angeles after all.