A while ago I decided to sign up for Seattle’s Resolution Run 5K, which was scheduled for New Year’s Day and featured the option to run straight into Lake Washington right before the finish line. Because in the last year or so entire chunks of my brain have morphed into adrenaline-addicted packing foam material, leaving me incapable of rational thought, I looked at the picture on the front of that website and thought, what a great way to usher in the new year! Then I picked up a nearby salad fork and drove it directly into my right eye socket, just to get ready.

Race day brought chilly, wet weather, since, you know, it’s fucking January and all, and I wasn’t even remotely into it, especially when I was at the park waiting in a giant line for the bathrooms and the wind started blowing sideways and the water entrance was right there and looked like this:


The race announcer kept getting on the loudspeaker and chiding those of us waiting in line by reminding us there were more bathrooms to the north and why didn’t some of us go over there instead and I was like great except which way is north? I’m serious, motherfucker, I have absolutely no sense of direction and I’ve already committed ten minutes to this stupid line and shut UP about the mythical bathrooms to the NORTH you may as well be telling me what LONGITUDE they’re at because I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THEY ARE.

When it was finally my turn I instantly committed the cardinal Porta-Potty sin by glancing into the toilet, at which point the contents—the many, many contents, which had formed a little fetid Mountain of Horror, including a fresh decoration on the summit that appeared to be the byproduct of an enormous grizzly bear suffering from Ex-Lax poisoning (and all I can say about that is better out than in, I suppose, but perhaps if that came out of your body on race day you’d be more comfortable lying down? Hooked up to a hospital IV, say?)—seared themselves into my brain, probably permanently. In fact, I can see it all again right now. Yes indeed, when I’m on my deathbed and revisiting some of the most stirring images of my life, it’ll probably go like this: childhood Christmas, wedding day, birth of my own children, GIANT PORTA-POTTY TURDSPLAT.

Minutes later, as I was waiting in line to store my bag, trying to refocus and let the Unpleasant Moment Go, I felt something wet plop onto my head. I reached up and touched my hat, and my fingers came away white and dripping.

Goddamn. Fucking. Seagull.

I hoped it was just a passing splash, but when I took off my hat I realized that I’d been bombed by the bird version of whatever had visited the Porta-Potty before me. There was . . . stuff, all over my hat. White stuff, brown stuff, lumpy stuff, runny stuff. It was also on my jacket, down my collar, and on my race shirt. Oh, and on my neck, collarbone, and somehow, my chin.

I had to laugh, because what else was there to do? I wiped up what I could, which wasn’t much. I met lovely Noemi at the starting line later, who was very understanding and didn’t seem visibly repulsed by the fact that I was COVERED IN POOP, and even helped me get a glob off my neck.

After all that, the run was cake. It was crowded and muddy and we plowed through giant puddles and at the end, the lake didn’t feel too bad. It was a shock to hit the water but I told myself, at least you’re washing away the fecal remnants. Which, I’m sorry to say, isn’t an entirely unfamiliar self-pep talk in my life.

So, my 2010 has officially been ushered in, and while I had been hoping for a physical metaphor of seizing the day and taking on new challenges, I think instead that the message for me here is this: into everyone’s life, a little shit must fall. Shake it off and keep going.


67 Responses to “Poope diem”

  1. victoria on January 4th, 2010 8:27 am

    1. It’s like your obsessive poo-related fears from the Sprint marathon came true, at last, but in slightly revised rofm.

    2. While standing in line at some crowded tourist destination over the holiday, I saw bird poo on my husband’s jacket and, lacking any napkins, spare paper, or similar disposable item to clean if off with, scraped it off with my driver’s license, which I then “cleaned” in the sand at our feet. How’s that for creative, heroic, and nice? I like to hope that at some point in 2010, when he reproaches me for behaving like a giant asshat, I’ll be able to retort, “Yes, but there WAS that bird-poo-driver’s-license incident.”

  2. Kelli on January 4th, 2010 8:39 am

    Great ending and a great way to look at the New Year ahead.

    Happy 2010!

  3. Mary H. on January 4th, 2010 9:20 am

    Thank god for you, Linda. After one f***ing miserable night, you made me laugh again :)
    Thank you.

  4. Tessie on January 4th, 2010 10:00 am

    There is 1 (ONE) place on earth where I know north/south/east/west and that is directly in the center of the 4-way stop in my hometown. That is all. The rest of the time I always feel like the road I’m on is going north. You know, UP. To the TOP.

    That’s a true story, btw. What the HELL.

    PS what a wicked awesome run. Happy New Year to you.

  5. sheilah on January 4th, 2010 10:53 am

    “Birdie, birdie in the sky,
    Dropped a turdie in my eye.
    I’m a big boy, I won’t cry.
    I’m just glad that cows don’t fly.”

    Be thankful it wasn’t a cow.

  6. Trenches of Mommyhood on January 4th, 2010 11:12 am

    Don’t you know the Porta-Potty Rules?

    Rule #1: Hold thy breath the entirety.
    Rule #2: Thy must back thyself into the seat. Thou shall Never never NEVER look down.

  7. Robin on January 4th, 2010 9:14 pm

    You crack my shit up.

  8. 3 Stinky Boys and Me on January 4th, 2010 11:05 pm

    Oh. My. God. I’m laughing and I can’t stop. Congrats on the race.

  9. Pete on January 5th, 2010 5:01 am

    Brilliant! the good thing is, that we can relate to it. … Coming from a marathon runner from Ontario. Shake it off and keep on going. Luuv it!

  10. Sarah on January 5th, 2010 2:00 pm

    lol! My dad is famous for getting his head pooped on all the time when we lived lake front!! Sorry it happened to you! But kudos for brushing it off and doing that run!! What an amazing way to start the year!

  11. lisa-marie on January 5th, 2010 4:54 pm

    That was awesome on so many levels! I’m sorry about all the poop, but congratulations for running the race AND jumping in the lake! Happy 2010!

  12. Rhi on January 5th, 2010 8:41 pm

    One of my BIGGEST FEARS.

  13. bj on January 6th, 2010 2:18 pm

    I was pigeon-pooped (not seagull) in Venice. In retrospect, it’s turned into a pretty decent memory. I’m glad your poop-filled event turned into one more quickly.

    (and, I usually like to say I hate runners, but pretty amazing — running, and then running into frigid Lake Wash on Jan 1).

  14. lumpyheadsmom on January 7th, 2010 10:36 am

    My dad’s favorite joke:

    Q: What’s the white stuff in bird poop called?
    A: Bird poop.

  15. Amy on January 7th, 2010 2:23 pm

    ohmyholyhell!!! I can’t breathe because I’m laughing so hard. Why is it once you become a mom it seems your life is defined by so many poop filled moments!!

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