Thursday, July 7, 2016
I Was Appalled, and Then I Wasn't
Mid-afternoon in the grocery store. Not Whole Foods or Sprouts or anyplace special, just my regular old grocery store on a sunny afternoon. There's no shade, so I park as close to the air conditioning as space allows. The local glossy magazine ran an article about the dangers of going outside when the temperatures are in triple digits. Hikers are dropping like foolish flies, taking off for 6 miles in the desert without water, bodies found by frantic rescue teams. I'm taking no chances.
Feeling very self-righteous about taking care of my heart and not over-heating my blood, I cross the asphalt, sipping from my water bottle, admiring the blue skies with high white puffy clouds, watching the cars but not paying much attention to the people around me.
I heard him before I saw him.
A dark braid halfway down his back rested in a sweaty pool on his plaid shirt. His grey shorts came to the pad of his knee walker, his right knee and right hand connected him to his transportation.
His left hand held onto the grocery cart, laden with plastic bags of colorful fruits and veggies and boxers of cereal and rice. That was all I could pick out as he sped down the incline from the entrance of the store, cart dragging walker and looking very precarious.
He came to a perfect stop at the trunk of his car and grinned at my look of horror.
"Oh, please tell me that they offered to help and you refused. Please don't make me have to go in there and holler at them."
He kept smiling as he accepted my outrage on his behalf, as we compared the travails of damaged bodies, as his wife came up and joined the party. Her cart was full to overflowing, as was her laughter. She nodded her head in sympathy to me; what can you do with these men, she seemed to say.
"I told them I'd be fine," he said. "I like doing it, if I can."
And that allowed me to leave outrage behind and join in singing the praises of If I can, I should - my mantra these days. I can carry the smaller baskets of laundry, so I do, even though TBG tells me to wait and tries to take them out of my hands. I do my best with flats of bottled water, though I draw the line at Costco's 40-packs; they are beyond me, for now.
But I force myself to do what I can, to walk when someone offers to get it for me, to park in the farthest spaces in the lot .... once the temperatures drop to a more normal degree. It's a much better outlook than prefacing everything with Can I Should I Will It Hurt Don't.
I heard that running through my head on the treadmill as I began my training program this weekend. It was right in line with let's go home and forget this, but that refrain I had to resist. I've made a public commitment. I'm climbing the Sears Tower. I have to train. I have to get this out of my head.
It's not helpful. It's hurtful. It's on automatic pilot and I need to reboot.
I found myself listening with one ear to the don't's as I heard myself saying aloud You Can Do This.
Seems that I resolved the issue without realizing it. I was announcing to the world (okay, to the sweaty guy in headphones two machines down) that I was capable, that I would finish, that I could do this.
Having a goal in front of me is making a difference. Saying it out loud and in print and in pixels is making a difference. Knowing you are there, watching, waiting, wondering, keeps me focused.
Once again, denizens, Thanks for helping me heal.