The Pets Without Parents 5k was amazing, and as a no kill shelter $10k is a huge thing. I likened being at the starting line with all the other people this morning to “being surrounded by happy.” The thought that went through my head was that I have never been happier doing physical activities, outside of sex, than when I was running with other people. Everyone with her/his own story and motivation for being there with the rest of us. Come to think of it, in the short two years now that I’ve been a runner, I’ve only been unhappy when the running stopped. I guess that’s why I’m doing the heavy research into Buddhism right now. I’m looking for meaning without deities or religion.
I went from the 5k, to running another 3.4 miles, to the shower & then directly to the kitchen to make breakfast since I was hungry after running the 5k twice. Yeah, I did that. After wolfing that down with iced coffee I fell into bed with the cats for a really deep nap before the tattoo session.
When I got there I was more comfortable with what was about to happen than I have been so far through the beginning of this painful journey. Today was all about line-work and conversations. It was singularly one of the best Saturday afternoons I’ve experienced in a long long time. It’s an interesting thing offering your body up as a canvas for an artist to paint something permanent that connects your story to his interpretation of you. There’s a good deal of trust involved. And, I dare say, respect.
I met my artist’s beautiful wife today. Both free spirits with vision and purpose. They both remind me of my husband Eddie. And, oddly enough, a chef I once knew named Bruce Hildreth who ran and owned a restaurant called Tapa Tio which helped push the Short North closer to what we now know. These are people with vision.
There was this absolutely touching moment when a couple and their son came in while I was waiting for Andy. And goddamn … when did I become the person who shows up early to appointments? Oh right, that was Dallas. I need to work on that a little bit and deprogram some of that out of my habits sometime. But back to this kid and his parents.
They were here from Indiana on, what seemed like an annual trip, to participate in a group memorial down by COSI to honor the loss of a child. These two had lost a daughter. They were here as walk ins to get a tattoo on both the father and mothers body of their daughters name. With as good as the son behaved and took things in stride I could not help but feel a well of respect for their skills as parents raising another human being with morals and an open mind because they both seemed in possession of both. It was really great to be in the presence of that kind of energy wile I was being templated with a super complex back piece at the end of which Ganesha would finally, and permanently, appear on my back.
Somewhere during the course of the afternoon, as the oldest guy in most rooms these days, I was appreciative of hearing straight guys talk about their emotions to girlfriend stress. Amazing adventures they were embarking on together to go to Burning Man as husband and wife. The 33 year old art student who thinks he’s “old.” Well, it reminded me of how I felt on the starting line during this mornings race. I was surrounded by happy. Real joy. Good spirits. It made me understand that as damn uncomfortable, and possibly embarrassing as this may be, some of my contacts have cited that this must be a midlife crisis, it’s the exact spot where I need to be right now and I feel like I belong in some strange Prince Alphabet St kind of way. That we are all interconnected. Just as when the dad who I mentioned earlier, complimented a gay guy for the tattoo work on his back and more deservedly his tattoo artist on the work he’s doing. It really made my head spin full circle around the idea of what the phrase “our better angels” really means.
The people I spent my Saturday with are the best angels. With loss, struggles, joy, aspirations and dreams. So after all this I did the most sensible thing I could think of. I made black bean tacos for my husband tonight while he treated us to a long lost film titled “Madam X” from 1966. The tacos were fantastic. I’m in love with the book “A Modern Way to Eat” by Anna Jones right now. Love her writing style and the simplicity with which she makes vegetarian food creative and enjoyable.
After that I guess I started rolling up the entire day on top of the gifts of last week at work that made this an exceptionally great 6 days. All while listening to Macy Gray and remembering a moment from last weekend where I braved a fear of mine and went out to AWOL for a bear underwear dance theme. I almost danced. That would have been the first time in two decades for me I was that happy. Maybe it was the laser lights, fog machine and great DJ. Maybe it was all the other men out there together during gay pride weekend together taking a moment to just take a deep breath, shake their asses and smile together. Which of course reminds me of a song by Macy Gray with the line “They said he shook himself to death. I want to dance till my last breath.” I kind of want to do exactly that after having been stationary for far too many years focused on lists, directives and agendas.
2017 is all about facing fears for me. Even at 49 years old. One heart attack down. Two failed marathon training attempts. Early onset of osteoarthritis. Lots of bad choices. Still, I realize, that’s life. It’s what we make it. No, that’s partly right. Real life is the couple I ran into this afternoon memorializing their daughter and giving their son a chance to take away some memories of “that day we were in Columbus , Ohio while I played with my dinosaur toy while you got my dead sisters name inked onto you both.” I also saw it this morning when I ran with all those people for Pet’s Without Parents and the guy who approached me afterwards and told me “thank you” because he paced on me and told me it challenged him. I had to smile because, well, my borrowed post heart attack motto is “I run because someday I might not be able to, but today is not that day.”
Today was one for the book… and I’m grateful for every minute.