Sordid Boons

I ate a tuna melt and waited an hour then ran 12 miles. The thing happened again where I assume an hour is enough to digest a tuna melt but even 4 miles in it’s still with me. The line from Wordsworth often gets stuck in my head when this happens:

The world is too much with us

but I replace world with tuna melt or burrito or whatever. Anyway, no burrito can survive more than 7 miles, and so things were fine by the time I was headed home. Except the tuna melt also pushed me past my civil twilight deadline and my glasses were falling apart and the part of the glasses that were falling apart kept fogging up so I’d have to very, very gingerly wipe them off, each time worried the lens was going to fall out, all of which made it difficult to, you know, focus on running, which alternately doesn’t require any focus whatsoever and requires a really huge amount.


I remember when I ran cross country in high school, after a run my teammate Michael Chang asked me how things went for me and after I replied, can’t remember what I said, he sort of challenged me and said yeah, right, you were watching TV the whole time, implying that I wasn’t focusing on improving my time or my form but rather was indulging the psychotic freeform acid-refracted 80s sitcom that cycles through the tableau of my imagination while I run. Chang, good teammate that he was, had a good point. I absolutely was watching TV the whole time, distracting myself from the tedium and pain of running. Our coach at the time, Tom Foster, one of the greatest teachers/people I’ve ever met, a buddhist/Boston/angelheaded math teacher (hung upside down every morning in one of those batman machines and cycled saline solution through his nasal cavity; heavy Boston accent; impish humor alongside highly developed code of ethics; rakish/debonair/ET CETERA, a true role model, I felt guilty when Alex and I dragged him to see Breaking the Waves in the theater, afterwards he said “I like to monitor what I put into my consciousness”; this sentiment in anyone else enrages me, protecting yourself from art, come on, but Tom made it sound reasonable, like we’d just taken him to a restaurant that wasn’t up to code) — — – — ANYWAY contrast teammate Chang’s comment on TV-running with Tom’s (plainly Buddhist) cross-country running coaching: If you’re feeling pain, don’t think “my leg hurts” or “I’m in pain”. Think of it with less attachment: there is pain. How interesting. Reminds me of (more high school!) how in Spanish you don’t say “my hand”, you say “the hand”: duele la mano. Anyway so one needs to balance a presence of mind wherein you’re focused on performance and what’s around you so you don’t sprain your ankle or snub the sunset (was lovely tonight I was at Ocean Beach as Civil Twilight expired) but not so… “with the world” that one takes every stomach cramp personally and moans and bemoans etc etc. It’s a balance.

I ran six miles yesterday. Before that, nothing at all for about two weeks, except for four miles from my pal’s apt. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to McCarren Park, around the track a bunch of times, then back, in the rain. I’ve fallen off schedule pretty hard, but today am back and hopefully will be able to return to form without injury or insult.

The Log of the S.S. The Mrs. Unguentine is sort of like if Samuel Beckett had written Mating at sea. I’m doing the thing I do with novels I love, I think I did it with Mating, too, actually, where I postpone the last two pages a long time after reading the whole thing in a relatively short time. I need to be in the perfect frame of mind to finish it?? I am a precious little Pelican??

Ed Park’s forthcoming Personal Days is completely awesome. Making me laugh aloud again and again. Tearing through it, being mean to my friends in order to be alone again to keep reading. There’s just as much punning and hilarious ekphrasis (or whatever is the Greek word for fictional office satire within a fictional office satire) as I could have hoped for.