May 14, 2007

I have a short business trip planned for this week, involving the following thrilling itinerary:

• Fly to San Francisco Wednesday evening
• Have dinner meeting in SF airport (at a restaurant called Ebisu, if any SF locals would like to weigh in on this choice)
• Drive (with my boss, in a rental car. Hold me) to hotel in Cupertino
• Thu: all-day meetings at Cupertino company (name rhymes with Pflapple)
• Drive back to SFO, fly home

This is, what, 24 hours of travel? I should be able to do this with a small duffle bag, right? But I guarantee I will be lugging along a full-sized carryon, stuffed to bursting with basically every toiletry, electronic hair tool, book, and item of clothing I own, because god forbid I leave my area code without being prepared to stay at my destination for seven or eight months. I’m especially weird about entertainment stuff for the flight—despite the fact that I tend to spend the majority of the time staring vacantly off into space while slowly flipping through a tabloid, I always feel compelled to bring an iPod, a pile of magazines, at least five books (because what if I’m reading one thing and I decide I want to read something else? WHAT THEN?), a notebook and pen, and a laptop. You never know when you might want to read seventeen different publications, write the great American novel longhand, and partition your hard drive—on a flight that takes all of two hours.

Upon my return JB plans to immediately depart his own self for Oregon, where weather permitting he will join a friend and hike to the top of Mt. Hood, despite the fact that people seem to consistently DIE, as in STONE COLD DEAD, trying to do this. I have made him promise to actively avoid death on this trip, because not only would I miss his nonstop commentary during Survivorman (“Bullshit. BULL. SHIT. There is NO WAY that guy doesn’t have a stash of Cliff Bars, COME ON!”), JB’s the only one who can swiftly and accurately clip Riley’s fingernails. So in the event of JB’s untimely demise, my son would promptly grow a massive set of curving, dirt-encrusted talons. And then we would have two tragedies to contend with.

JB’s fascination with both deep-water technical diving and hiking to thin-air mountain heights confounds me. I’m not quite as sedentary as I used to be, but I’m still an avid fan of being at sea level. I like my immediate atmospheric surroundings to be, you know, breathable. Call me crazy, I just like oxygen.

Speaking of breathing, I’m finding running to be a little easier lately. I mean, easier in the sense that it sucks marginally less, not that it feels like a full-body hot stone massage or anything. I still gasp and pant like I’m doing Lamaze exercises, but my jogging intervals are lasting longer, and depending on what music is playing (I would like to second Emily’s recommendation and suggest that all of you go get yourself a copy of Bloodhound Gang’s “Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo” because it is possibly the best song the world has ever known) there are a few brief moments where I actually sort of enjoy the running part. Then I usually feel like my heart is going to burst out of a bodily orifice, so I slow to a walk and practice Lamaze for a while until I’m no longer convinced that cardiac arrest is imminent, then speed up again. Towards the end I try and sprint at least a few yards, just to pretend like I am capable of escaping a fast-moving zombie, and then I come home and pass out in the driveway.

Running is seriously masochistic. It hurts, it sucks, and it repeatedly transforms you into a crying little girly-man. I can’t even explain why I’m starting to like it.


23 Responses to “Flights of fancy”

  1. Donna on May 14th, 2007 1:08 pm

    zombies = weapons, remember that when you get this urge to run.
    That’s what I do anyway.
    Signed NOT a size 6, or even 8 or 10.
    Ok. I get it.

  2. Chris on May 14th, 2007 1:24 pm

    If you ever want to go for a run, shoot me an email.

  3. Pete on May 14th, 2007 1:33 pm

    I all the years I have been biking I have never passed a jogger that didn’t look like they were in pain. Keep up the great work.

  4. Swistle on May 14th, 2007 1:33 pm

    I always bring too many books, too. Not only do I worry about having sufficient choice, I greatly overestimate my reading speed. In high school I once went away to camp for a week, bringing with me FIFTEEN hardcover library books. Whuh?

  5. Andrea on May 14th, 2007 1:38 pm
  6. Kara on May 14th, 2007 1:39 pm

    You have inspired me to do the Couch to 5K program. Holy hell, a size six…

  7. Kathy on May 14th, 2007 1:44 pm

    Here’s why you’re starting to like sucking at the nipple of pain:

  8. Julie on May 14th, 2007 1:52 pm

    Ok. In the Foxtrot video, how in God’s name does that guy get his tongue in is nostril. I just tried, and for my face, it’s impossible.

  9. Bianca on May 14th, 2007 1:57 pm

    Ebisu is good but slightly overrated in my opinion and I can think of several better sushi places in the city. I highly recommend sitting at the bar because the sushi rollers are typically somewhat drunk and a lot of fun.

    Am I allowed to stalk you on this trip? You’re seriously like a celebrity to me.

    And by stalk I mean: walk by Ebisu and peer inside until I find you and then duck swiftly and run away completely mortified once you make eye contact.

  10. Telegirl on May 14th, 2007 2:01 pm

    You are starting to like running because it’s making a difference. Congratulations! Now, maybe I’ll get off my butt and start running. You, my dear, are inspiring.

    Also, am I the only one who just figured out why that song has such a crazy name? Duh!

  11. sundry on May 14th, 2007 2:06 pm

    I can’t believe a food place in an AIRPORT can even achieve the status of being overrated. Crazy!

    I’m kind of dreading this particular dinner so being stalked sounds vastly preferable in comparison. You bring a camera, I’ll bring a tiny shivering pursedog!

  12. Josh on May 14th, 2007 2:17 pm

    I never got you people who pack a bazillion items. Ok, I understand that the ladies need slightly more crap for their hygiene and general upkeep. That’s cool. Myself, I need a toothbrush, some toothpaste, some shampoo, and some deodorant. They give you soap, so you don’t need to bring any. I also generally pack enough clothes to wear one outfit every day, and one sleeping outfit for the whole trip. That way I have no laundry. I used to travel out of my city for five days a week. I could fit my whole kit and kaboodle in a small duffel bag.

    And yes, the Bloodhound Gang is great. Go download every song they’ve ever recorded. But don’t expect a wide variet of topics. Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo pretty much sums up the things they are interested in.

    And the reason JB like to hike mountains and dive into the ocean is because he is a man. Doing difficult and dangerous things for fun is part of being incredibly manly. Every really manly man does something along those lines. I fight bears for fun, he climbs mountains, some guys jump out of planes or go hunting (people, dah dah dah) or whatever. It’s just how we are. We don’t question your bizarre love for purses and shoes.

  13. katie on May 14th, 2007 2:24 pm

    i always bring too much entertainment stuff and then on the return trip, when i’ve also bought too many souvenir type things, i curse myself since i have to sit on my suitcase while swearing and praying that i’m not breaking any of my newfound goodies. honestly, my favorite part of airports is the newsstand. pretty sick. i still haven’t found a good way to cut myself off, despite all my previous experience. (plus i’m a fast reader so i feel i have to bring a lot of stuff with me, despite the fact that i take a xanax to pass out on the plane because i’m terrified of flying.)

  14. Emily on May 14th, 2007 2:34 pm

    The best part is when I’m running on the treadmill in the gym, and I’m panting and sweating and dying, yet still want to sing along. (“Put the you-know-what! In the you-know-where!”) The good thing is that as a soldier, I am permitted to have a dirty mind and a foul mouth.

    Have an AWESOME time on your trip. Read the Zombie Survival Guide on the plane; it’ll keep all the real crazies from fucking with you … especially if you occasionally look up at people out of the corner of your eye, make eye contact, and start muttering about really needing to get a machete one of these days.

    Oh, and seriously, I am PSYCHED to go diving in Seattle when I’m there for mid-tour leave. I agree with you that oxygen is good, but how else are you going to learn to fight zombies underwater, hmm?

  15. Jamie on May 14th, 2007 2:41 pm

    Am I allowed to ask how much weight and how many dress sizes you have dropped? How have you done this?

  16. Junni on May 14th, 2007 3:19 pm

    OK. I live in Portland, and I will be very pissed off if I read next week that some guy named JB ____ is stranded in one of those mountain canyons. Pissed, I tell you. Riley’s fingernails can’t take it.

    Please make him where one of those beepy things so rescuers can find him if necessary.

  17. Melanie on May 14th, 2007 4:28 pm

    Just think, all the Lamaze breathing while running will prepare you for childbirth next time around!

  18. Belle on May 14th, 2007 5:57 pm

    My brother, the mountain man as we call him, has climbed many a mountain and many a volcano. He also does Search and Rescue stuff. I think that is way cool, but of course he trains year round. He says there is nothing like it in the world. I can understand your concern, tho, and it’s normal. We all start breathing again when he is safely down and back in the campground.

    I have dreams where I am running smoothly and effortlessly….sorta like Forrest Gump. Hee. I wish I could say that was true when I actually jog (I haven’t worked my way up to running yet. Sigh.)

    Keep it up….it surely only can get better!

  19. jonniker on May 14th, 2007 6:03 pm

    A thoughtful packer is a happy traveler, in my opinion, and what if there’s some sort of, I don’t know, *pudding* accident that requires three extra changes of clothes or something? And underwear! We all need underwear! And nice hair!

  20. Erin on May 14th, 2007 6:07 pm

    I’m impressed at your physical transformation and wanted to ask:
    was it the Turbo Jam or the Couch to 5k that did it?
    I am planning on the C25k in a couple months, but was wondering if you attribute your success more to the videos or the running.

    p.s. It makes me sad that women are so obsessed with sizes and the media’s ideal of beauty and our screwed up body images and not about feeling healthy and powerful and kickass and beautiful in all sorts of ways.

    Not trying to rain on your parade. When I went from a 16 to a 10 I couldn’t believe it and had a shit-eating grin for days, but I’ve since tried to become less interested in numbers.

  21. pseudostoops on May 15th, 2007 8:05 am

    There is an Ebisu in the AIRPORT now? Wow. The concept of sushi in the airport makes me nervous.

  22. Cali911Gal on May 15th, 2007 8:43 am

    Have fun in SFO. I’ll be there too, but not in range of the airport to stalk ya!

    Wish I could recommend someplace nice for you, but I don’t know the city well at all (Try to avoid it like the plague)

    Safe flying!

  23. Bianca on May 15th, 2007 1:05 pm

    Ack, I misread the part about it being in the airport. THAT Ebisu, I have not been to, so ignore me. I do hear that they are owned by the same people so maybe for airport food, it will be excellent!

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