Saturday, May 28, 2011

You run in the rain?

My co-worker asked me as I arrived at work on a rainy day, dripping wet, in my running clothes. So hard not to be sarcastic sometimes... It was asked with such incredulity & disbelief that if I just listened to the tone and ignored the content, he may well have been asking: You let your toddler drink out of the toilet?

I know this is a common runner's experience, the disbelief we elicit in other when despite the [rain, wind, cold, sweltering heat, hail, tornadoes, tsunamis] we go out and do our run anyway. I am actually constantly surprised at their surprise because let's face it, if I only ran when it was not precipitating and between 5 - 20 deg C (which seem to be the only conditions under which people are not surprised that I am running) I would only run about 50 days a year. I AM self aware enough to know that I do somewhat enjoy the reactions to my running in less than unusual circumstances [to the airport backpack on back to catch a flight with colleagues, at lunchtime instead of eating, at 2 am to get home after working late on a pressing deadline, when 9 months pregnant]. I also know that of the few people who read this blog, few if anyone will find any of that strange (what is a few of a few anyway?).

But incredulity at running in the rain? Really? Has our society gotten that soft? I don't mean that in an arrogant sort of way because I know that I have gotten soft. I buy convenience foods & take out instead of cooking, heck I buy food instead of growing it! I spend $3 riding the bus when I could easily walk or run. I HIRE someone else to clean my home once every two weeks. The North American lifestyle has gotten so work-obsessed, convenience-driven and so avoidant of any adverse conditions that even running in the rain now seems like an inconceivable hardship.My grandmother lived to be almost 100 and, as any person who lives that long, saw tremendous changes in her lifetime. I think she happened to live through a period of incredible transformation in the daily life. Also, like all people who lived through the depression, raised children during the depression, she was shocked and appalled and the waste and excess she saw later in her life. I know everyone's grandparents have stories of walking 10 miles to school, uphill, both ways, in the snow (well actually my Grandmother did not, she was not fortunate enough to attend school after grade 5 as she was needed on the farm). Ultimately I know the generations that came before are always dismayed by the change, waste, excess, lack of seriousness, softness of the people who come after. But if running in the rain evokes such strong reactions of surprise & shock... this is indicative of a larger problem. My grandmother never found it surprising when I rain in the rain.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In which la cocotte & I meet Mmmonyka

When I started my blog I figured it was just a matter of time before I met someone, in the flesh, as a result of being a blogger and last week-end, it happened! I was truly honoured that Mmmonyka used some of her precious vacation time to come to Montreal, check out the city and stay with me and la cocotte. And truly dismayed by how onerous her trip home was. But let's focus on the positive...

What a treat to meet Mmmonyka after learning about her solely through her blog and e-mail exchanges. It's weird meeting interweb people in real life isn't it? Because in my case, no one I actually know in real life reads my blog (with apologies to Karoline and Marko  if they are reading, whom I DO know in real life but they were from my fantasy year in Trieste which I am still not entirely sure I did not actually dream). Anyway point being, as far as I know Marko & Karoline are the only two people whom I know in real life (oh, right, and now Mmmonyka) who know about my blog. And while I have not reached the level of honest introspection that I had hoped for here, I do (occasionally) write things I simply would not tell people I actually know. It's kind of my private space... you know private in a visible-to-the-1.9-billion-people-on-the-interweb kind of way. But since I intuit that 99.999999% of these 1.9 billion people have not found my little space; it feels private. So yeah, suddenly there, on my couch was someone whom I had never actually met who knew things about me that some people I have known my entire life do not. Which was weird. Or, by all rights it should have been weird. But it wasn't. Why? Partially, I think, because Mmmonyka was exactly who I was expecting based on her blog. It DID feel like I already knew her, there was no jolting feeling as I tried to harmonize whom I thought she would be with whom she actually turned out to be. Ok, her accent was more exotic, her legs a bit longer than in my head but the stuff of substance was very much as presented on her blog - determined, self sufficient, hard working, serious, debrouillard. And, as a total bonus, a natural with toddlers. After 30 minutes of shyness, la cocotte was all over her.

This visit also made me reflect on trust. I tend to be a ridiculously trusting person and it rarely occurs to me that a situation could be dangerous due to the bad intentions of humans. I give rides to hitch hikers, walk alone late at night in strange cities and if they ever offered I would definitely take candy from strangers. I also, as it turns out, not only offer to let people I have never met in the flesh stay at my apartment but also I give them the keys BEFORE I have actually met them so they can come and go as they please. Now those of you who know Mmmonyka through her blog are probably thinking "oh please, it's Mmmonyka, of COURSE she is exactly as she seems" and clearly I agree... so let me make this absolutely clear that this NOT about Mmmonyka (whom I hope I am really not offending) this is about trust in strangers in general. I think it is okay to be blindly trusting of everyone when my actions only affect me. If I did invite an interweb person to stay in my apartment who wound up doing horror-movie type things to me then well live (or not) and learn. My hubby would be out a wife (and let's face it with the burping and farting and smelly running clothes and constant fatigue supressing my sex drive some might consider this to be no big loss) and he (hubby) might have to get blood stains out of the carpet. But with la cocotte on the scene maybe it is time to be less blindly trusting.

Again... this is not about Mmmonyka but rather about my unrelenting belief that the world is safe and people can be trusted. We (Mmmonyka and I) had a conversation while she was here about how neither of us ever really conceive that there could be danger from other humans in a situation. Seeing the world through trusting eyes has definite benefits. I get to meet interweb people and have fun with them and I get to run in strange cities without fear when I travel for work and theoretically eat the yummy candy from strangers... in other words it is a positive and happy way to perceive one's world. But maybe now as a mommy, it's time to get the guard up a little and instill some healthy distrust both in la cocotte and in me. There's still time. La cocotte isn't going anywhere alone anytime soon. Yet I find myself pondering to what extent I have to change my happy vision of the world to be a responsible parent.

Anyway Mmmonkya, thank you for being exactly who you appear to be on your blog. Thanks for taking the time to visit and entertaining la  cocotte. She thought you were cool. Me too.

Mmmonyka, la cocotte and ugly naked doll