Friday, October 28, 2005

Blowing Chunks

West Bank 3.6mi

When I was a teenager, my friend Eric’s stepfather, Hank, had a red and white 1968 Pontiac Bonneville convertible. He kept the car parked neatly between the solid yellow lines he had painted on the driveway of their family’s mobile home compound, midway between my house and the MGTP (Mighty Good Trailer Park). The large suburban lot was covered in a constantly mutating collection of mobile homes, hastily cobbled together to resemble a miniature Tampa Airport wrought in aluminum, vinyl, and indoor-outdoor carpet. In the main trailer’s living room, a wall-sized photographic mural depicted California cliffs dropping off into the Pacific. Hank brought the whole scene to life by mounting small plastic seagulls on metal rods embedded in the wall. The larger birds were mounted on longer rods, creating a foreshortening effect that turned the room into a huge diorama. Across the top of the scene, eight plastic reindeer pulled Santa in a tiny sleigh. The scale was all wrong. Even the smallest of the seagulls was bigger than the reindeer.
Hank was a man of many talents whose business cards referred to him as the “Doctor Reverend Bishop Henry”. If he actually held any of these distinctions they were certainly all of the mail-order variety, but he did have a knack for the theatrics of the church. One evening, at what was supposed to be a get-to-know-you meeting of neighborhood parents and their kids, Hank kicked things off by administering a Eucharist of Wonder Bread and Thunderbird wine, insisting that everyone prick their finger on a rose’s thorn to feel some of the pain that Jesus felt on the cross. There must have been a hurricane bearing down on us at the time, and I remember the black clouds swirling around over us as we sat in folding chairs under the aluminum awning of the carport, listening to Hank’s race baiting speech from the pulpit. Following the sermon was a short set from the metal band that I played in with Eric.
Eric’s house always had a sort of supernatural trailer park feel to it. In his bedroom there was a stereo with an automotive-style tape deck in which the cassettes were inserted through a slot in the face of the machine. During one particularly good Megadeth rock-out session, as we listened to Dave Mustaine growl “Christ burns me with his eyes, but I’m still alive, welcome to the lungs of Hell”, the tape suddenly ejected itself with such force that it flew across the room and flames shot out of face of the machine. This was the devil’s music for sure, and we loved every minute of it.
I remember Hank telling me that older cars needed to have the carbon deposits burned out of them periodically. I’m still not sure if there was any truth to this, but it provided a good excuse to get out on the interstate and drive at warp speed. He explained this theory to me one night as we roared down I-275. I was sitting in the backseat behind Eric, and Hank turned around to face me, steering lazily with his left thumb, to scream above the wind and the engine about carburetor shellac, ignition points, and compression ratios, as the speedometer buried itself on the right side of the gauge.
This week’s long run was considerably easier on me than the previous two, and by Friday I’m feeling well rested and ready to run. I decide to run the West Bank route at a nice brisk pace to clean some of the sludge out of my own system.
I don’t know if I’m moving fast enough to burn out any of the deposits left from my years of sloth and excess, but I can feel the momentum behind me, and the first mile comes in at just over eight minutes. I can tell that I’m stronger since the last time that I ran this route, and I’m able to maintain my pace until the third mile, when it starts to lag a bit. I finish feeling strong at 30:15, a two-minute gain over my previous best for this route.


Blogger Damien said...

cool blog concept.

11:58 AM  
Blogger a living hominid said...

well, one month later...are you still running?

actually, i think it finally hit me that you live down the street from me - if so, i believe that you moved, so maybe you are running through another area now?

10:30 PM  
Blogger Devon said...

Nope, I'm still here and still running, I'm just way behind on the posts. I have a backlog of stuff I'll be putting up in the next few days. Sorry to disappoint.

11:23 PM  

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