my shortcomings

I’m in the middle of cooking dinner, and by that I mean I’ve put water in a pot and I’m waiting for it to boil, which means I have a few minutes for an entry. It means I have just enough time to talk about the weird things going on with my own body, because… well, why not. If you’d rather hear about other people’s bodies, Tara and Dave have been examining their poo. Seriously. So quit your bitching.

I have skinned my elbow. I don’t know how I did this, or where or when. Stee pointed it out at dinner Friday night. “What did you do?” he asked. I turned my arm over in my hand and saw that the skin on my right elbow was rubbed raw. Only then did it start to hurt. I’ve covered it with a bandage, but I keep bumping it on things. The question is, have I slowly started rubbing my elbows raw from being such a klutz, or did I actually run into a brick wall or fall or do something that I have no recollection of? Which one is worse? I don’t understand how I hurt myself and lost skin from my body and never noticed.

Subject: a question from a reader, begging for your attention and sound advice!
Date: August 28, 2005 3:30:32 PM PDT

Dear Pamie-

I know you have mentioned before the crappiness of the ipod headphones on your blog. This was previously unimportant to me, since I used my ipod only during seditary activities. However, now that I am away in college, and no longer able to run with my former running buddies, the use of music would make the experience much more enjoyable! I tried this morning, but failed when the headphones lasted about 8.7 seconds in my ears.

Anyhow, I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me about your choice in headphones for running. Or other people you know. Everyone around here doesn’t run except when chased, it seems!

Jen, longtime reader, firsttime pleader (for your help)

Yesterday I bought the fourth pair of headphones in less than four months. I have a smallish head and freakishly small, Arsenio-style ears. This means when I’m looking for something I can use when running, I have to hope it’ll work when I get home, as there are very few places that allow you to try on a pair of headphones before you leave the store. Chito has been trying to talk me into some fancy-pants, hundred-dollar earbuds that conform to the holes in your head, but he also warned that they pretty much block out all other sound, which means I will get hit by an oncoming car, possibly a fire engine with sirens roaring, while obliviously jamming to the Basement Jaxx.

I’ve bought plastic headphones that folded around my head (too big, fell out of my ears), little buds that clip over my ears (buds too big, won’t fit in my ears), cheap old-school headphones with felt around the ears (shorted out on first try, almost shocked myself on a treadmill in Toronto), and had finally resorted to running with my father’s old Radio Shack headphones, the ones that look like I’m in a sound booth, recording audio. They also sport a fifty-foot cord, because my dad wanted to be able to “walk around” while he listened to his stereo. In 1983. These were not appropriate for running in any fashion. I maybe got away with them while sitting at a table working on a computer. But once I was running, I’d have to tuck the cord into my wristband GPS, while holding onto my iPod — it was like carrying an entire electronic system in my left hand in order to run a few miles. Forget it.

But last night I bought the perfect headphones for a tiny-eared runner.These. The cord is made of lightweight fibers, so it doesn’t yank the buds out of your ear while you’re running, and the little lasso that goes around your ear doesn’t hurt or pull or tug on your delicate, precious hearing parts. There’s nothing to wrap around your head, so it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing sunglasses or if you’ve got a slightly smaller noggin like me. The little buds perch at the edge of your ears, so you don’t have to jam them into your head in order to hear the music, and the light lasso action keeps them from dropping to the side every time you take a step. In short, I used these all day at the coffee shop, and just used them running three miles both uphill and downhill, and not once did I have to fumble to keep them from dropping to the street. This is, for me, a tiny electronic miracle. So good luck, Jen, and all my tiny-headed jogging friends out there.

I know I’ve already mentioned the album over in the “listening” section, but today I read the lyrics for Wake Me Up When September Ends.” It’s bizarre how much it reads like something I wrote in high school. I’ve had terrible Septembers. Somehow I’ve written about all of this more extensively here and with more self-mockery here, which I’m only linking to prove to you how much the Green Day song coincided with my old high school journals and weird feelings during the month of September. Anyway, that time has come around again, and I can’t believe it’s still going on this late in my life. There are some years when it’s not so bad, but this year it’s hitting a little harder than usual. I’m missing my family, who I haven’t seen since my wedding, and I’m a little isolated from my daily life with the hours I’ve been working this summer, and there’s just no down time right now. I’m actually glad I’m so busy. If I was going to have a rough September, it’s much rougher when I’m unemployed and worried about how I’m going to pay the bills. I’ve done that September a few times. It’s much worse.

Dinner’s almost ready, so I should find something positive to end this on. Hmm. I’ll take two endings. Something trivial, something real.

Trivial: I am back to my pre-show running pace, which is an accomplishment only to me, but I’m still very happy about it. I haven’t had the time to devote to distance, but I’m still running almost what I was doing back in May. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to get back to that, once I concentrated on it. I’ve also stopped almost dying from my Enell, and have learned to love it. Also, it’s been so long since I’ve even talked about running that clearly I’d been slacking like crazy.

Real: In addition to contributing to the Television Without Pity Recapalooza (we’re at over $12,000 — thank you so much!), I sent a donation to Mercy Corps. Just in case you were still looking for a place to send your help.

Dinner’s ready. Thanks for listening to me.

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