Saturday, 25 October 2014
Fortunately, Unfortunately, again
I've been on about this before. The Penguin Book of Jokes...the fortunately unfortunately joke...along the lines of...unfortunately he fell out an airplane...fortunately he landed on a haystack...unfortunately there was a pitchfork in it. It could be the Tao for all I know. Anyway I've got a story like that for you again.
I had a particularly busy and intricate week during which I had to think on my feet and, I think, brought some long-standing issues to resolution. All work stuff y'understand. By yesterday after work I was feeling kind of floored. I was booked in for a day's Mindfulness retreat today and last night that didn't seem such a good idea. I felt like a days mindlessness would serve me better. I emailed the organisers to see if I could switch the date...
---but there was no reply - or rather just an automated reply saying the email would be manned on a Tuesday and a Thursday...so I decided just to man up and go to my Mindfulness retreat as planned - or should that be "Atman" up? Haha. That's a fecking good Buddhist joke by the way. You heard it here first.
One of the problems with going on the retreat was that I've set myself a weekly absolute minimum of running 30 miles a week, and as of last night I was sitting at just over 20. If I leave running until the evening these days I will leave running...it has to be the morning. But I was aware I'd have to be out running by 7.30 in order to run 10 miles and get a shower before the course. It seemed harsh given how tired I was but...
Anyway, fortunately I woke up at 5am feeling not bad at all, and thinking if I just got up I would have the jump on the day - I could have a leisurely breakfast, get a 10 miler in as the dawn came up and be back in plenty of time for a shower and a 2nd breakfast. It was magically quiet and still at 5am eating my porridge and surfing around on the world wide web. I was out the door before 7am, and took my camera in case there were any luckies along the way. Actually it was really quite lovely as the sun came up but I haven't captured it particularly well. Leaving the flat I had been thinking it was Saturday morning but as I moved into Leith I realised that it was still late Friday night. I ran between a warring couple where the guy stood his ground and his girlfriend angrily stomped off. "Don't go after her." I thought to myself, and wondered why I was taking sides. Still once you start to do all that chasing and placating you're done for. He held his position. "Good man" I thought and ran on.
It was very dark in the park. I saw a tall man and a large bushy dog at the end of the wooden bridge. When I got nearer neither of them were there. What did I really see?
Being a morning runner I had forgotten how uncompromising the dark is. No light = you can't see. End of.
Running up the WOL from Stockbridge I remembered a joke one of my nurse colleagues made the other day. We work beside another colleague who has a lot to do with working with Mindfulness. The other day we saw him leave the office, and then when we left 10 minutes later we were surprised to see him sitting in his car, looking rather dreamy. "He's probably feeling the texture of a prune!" quipped my nurse colleague. I laughed at the time but now, running in the dark beside the river I could see just what a good joke it was. One of the Mindfulness exercises is to take 10 minutes to eat a raisin, noticing all the detail of eating you usually miss - so this notion of feeling the texture of a prune was entirely apt. The fact that he was miles away and didn't even notice us was ironic. Above all, I thought, it was just so Scottish.to have to laugh at everything - including Mindfulness. Taking things too seriously causes a sense of embarrassment to the Scottish sensibility. Or so I thought as I was running along. The joke struck me as being so funny that I laughed out loud.
It's just as well I did. Nano seconds later another runner and his collie emerged out of the dark, running the other way. We avoided a collision by inches.
I had dreamed up this 10 miler while I was lying in bed at 5am thinking about whether I should get up or not. There was quite a stiff south-westerly, so I didn't want any out and back courses where I was guaranteed 5 miles of head-wind. I went up the WOL to the Dean Village and then headed up the hill and down Orchard Brae and zig-zagged past Inverleith Park down to Granton. Once at Granton the wind was at my back for 4 miles. It was fully light by then and I was starting to feel tired. I arrived back just in time to meet Peter heading out to catch a bus to go a 30 miler with Lucy.
When I got in the organiser of the day retreat had written back to me to say it was fine to transfer my place to another day and thanks for letting them know. Hmmm. By now I was quite primed to go and do it. I'd already had a good morning and I was feeling like I was up for the whole experience. I emailed the organiser back to see if I could do a last minute switch-back, knowing full well she may not even check her emails again before it started, so setting myself up for a cliff-hanger. After an egg on toast and a shower I was beginning to feel quite sleepy though...maybe it would be better if they didn't get back in touch. Sitting in front of the computer, see-sawing about which direction I would like fate to take me in, I thought I might as well do something I've been putting off. My car insurance is up for renewal soon and I needed to check whether it was a fair price or not. It hadn't gone up since last year so I was almost tempted just to leave it - since 2008 I have trained myself to pay more attention to these things though, so I got onto Compare the market and all that. I am so glad I did. I'll be paying £200 less! Car Insurance prices have gone down. Just in case you didn't know.
So I am sitting here feeling rich with the money I will not be spending in November. It's notional money, it means I'll be putting less on my credit card. But that feels good. I think I'll have a snooze, and when I wake up I'll have a bit of a tidy.