Roughly a week ago, I recognized, I've been feeling older. A bit of high blood pressure going on (I worked that into a new short story, so it worked out as fodder). Been eating better, certainly doing a bit of walking. But my body could use a push, an upping on the cardiac flow, so I took advantage of the long Memorial Day Weekend and went for a jog.
At first, my body felt surprisingly good. It was refreshing. I even pushed some sprints. I went up and down a trail along the Chicago river, some of the fresh feeling was snuffed by the smell of sewage coming from the waterway, but that soon passed. Must have only been a pocket of sludge floating there.
The next day I ran a bit west, twirled around some diagonal, neighbor-hoody side streets. I thought; I do like this running thing. I've never been much into gyms. Running on treadmills, going from weight station to weight station, feels sort of stiff, non-inspirational for me as far as fitness goes. But having been a cross-country runner and cross-country skier throughout high school, activities I did enjoy, that sense of fast exploration was awakened. Running is freeing in regards to that. Checking out weird pockets of the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods without eating up a large chunk of the day as my occasional walkabouts would.
Wednesday, I was stressed about a work thing, and went for quite the run in the evening, pushing some sprints, even some pickups lasting several minutes. The endorphin buzz! Just what I needed. So the runner's high addiction may be something I'll be dealing with this summer and not willing to sway on, unless the MSG in knock-off potato chips gets me feeling even better!
This afternoon, a guy tried handing me a brochure for what looked like a pizza place to me while I was running. He may have read my mind because I was thinking about what carbs I'd have later, excited for them, but man, what do you think I'm going to do with a pizza brochure while doing my run? Clutch it and look like an irony of body work? I did pig out on beer battered onion rings earlier in the day, but that is a contradiction behind closed doors. Plus my hands aren't going to want any responsibility. What a weird move guy.
One of the things I've noticed while running is I see a lot of elderly people walking, or hobbling, with a cane, real slow. And I feel guilty, like, should I go help them out? I feel like I should. That my running around all young and peppy is flaunting something they lack right in their faces. But I also wonder, if I did stop and help them walk around to wherever they may be going, maybe that would be annoying to them, perhaps they just want to go for a stroll in peace and clear their mind. And it would take up a lot of time, for me, if I'm to note something selfish.
Once a few years back an old lady with massive swollen ankles asked me to help her to the grocery store, so I was nice, and did. But she creeped me out when she started offering me a quarter each for all these jobs around her apartment she wanted me to do, which sounded like a lot, and she wasn't asking sweetly, she was stating what she wanted me to do and then dangling a quarter like it would get done faster. Then I pictured myself becoming a permanent low wage employee in her apartment, feeling guilty about leaving her, and thus, never leaving her dark apartment, doing foot rubs and filling a jar with quarters. Because I felt so guilty in this imagined scenario, I panicked after she had me walk her around Jewel at the pace of a dying turtle, so I transitioned a Jewel employee in my place. In all fairness, I was already late for a film shoot, even later because I had tried to be a nice guy, so I felt compelled to get another young man to take my shift with her.
But I feel as though I need to look out more for old people. Maybe not stopping my jog to serve as a second cane, though it may be a dose of companionship. But I'd like to place this guilt and desire to help more efficiently, instead of just thinking it and going off as a running dickhead, waving off pizza brochures from some poor guy just trying to keep his franchise afloat. After all, feeling old is what made me want to get up and run around. Someday, I won't be able to run.