Oh, and also fifty-five. For a writer, it’s surprising to be pretty much ruled by numbers. And me so good with the twenty-six letters, too. All vowels cheerfully used.

Eighty-one is not my age… yet. (But I’m going to get there, and beyond – just give me time.) It’s not my weight. (Try multiplying by three!) (Wow – that’s about right. Last time Barbara let me weigh myself, I was 242, with is almost exactly 81 x 3.) (And for a writer – 81 x 3 might as well = 242 exactly. What am I – a scientist?)

(But don’t misplace an apostrophe, man. I’ll land on you like a piano falling from the sky.)

Where the hell was I?

Oh, yeah – eighty-one. That’s the temperature today, according to my iPhone. And 55% humidity. Most people would say that’s about ideal in the Glorious Weather category; just about every person suffering through summer in northern Virginia would see it as proof of a benevolent God. I mean, it’s late August. We’re supposed to be set on “Wet Sauna.”

But I have just huffed and puffed my way around my one-mile jogging loop and I’m here to tell you: Nope. Eighty-one is STILL TOO HOT.

And now I’m sitting in my kitchen in full sprawl, lasering my contempt at my Wicks Away Moisture shirt, draped over the next chair. The advantage to living alone is that all 242 pounds of me can sit in semi-nudity and just exude sweat. It isn’t pretty.


I have jogged/walked my mile – fourth time in two weeks. The theory that this gets easier is clearly the worst kind of bullshit, but every time I do it, it makes it harder to come up with a good excuse next time to NOT do it, and maybe that’s enough.

Here are some scenarios with which I entertain myself while plodding along gracelessly:

  • I’m the messenger from Marathon, bringing news of the victory to the king of Greece. I’m going very, very slowly, but why does he need to hear about a victory so quickly? Is he holding off on a stock trade until he knows if his armies won or lost? How rude. Now, if he’d lost, it would have been smarter to send a faster runner, but he won. Hold your horses. In fact, give me a damned horse – I could get there a lot faster.
  • I could run from a mad dog if I had to. If the mad dog was crawling. And gave up quickly. Maybe I could run from a zombie. For a little while, anyway. If there were more than one, I’d have to start looking for a tree to climb. Christ – do I have the energy to climb a tree? Everyone in this neighborhood has trimmed off all the low tree-climbing branches. I’d be utterly stranded. Zombie food. This is why I stopped watching The Walking Dead.
  • Under the theory that something will get me eventually – cancer, diabetes, Dengue fever (it could happen) – then I choose to believe that every damned mile I manage to stagger around northern Virginia pushes back that inevitable Bad Diagnosis by, oh let’s say one week. If it’s a mile in northern Virginia in the summer, count it as a week and a half. Not very long… but I’ve been running with Barbara for a year or so now. And a year – yeah. That’s a long time. I’d take that.
  • I’ll keep running to the next street. Well, maybe that last driveway. How about the shade on the sidewalk – can I make it to the shade on the sidewalk? Nope. Apparently I can’t. Oh, hell – this is a great song to run to. (“Middle of the Road,” Pretenders.) I guess I can stagger along for a few more measures. Christ. Where’s that King of Greece horse when I so desperately need it?? I have an Uber account, don’t I?

I don’t think I’ll ever be a joyous runner… but I might be a joyous granny one day. Or a joyous romance author. Or a joyous winner of Bingo at the VFW hall. And I’ll be forced to admit that running played a part in that.

Screen Shot 2019-08-31 at 11.48.14 AM

But eighty-one? That’s still too damned hot.





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