I’ve been quiet here, but only ’cause I’ve been loud in other places. It’s been two and a half months since I trotted across the finish line at Wildflower, feeling high as a kite and lower than a Badwater ultramarathoner’s arch supports. That race knocked the stuffing out of me, but I had some left when I was then let go from my job five days later. I was very much out of the stuffing that night as I sat in the backseat of Carol’s car as we raced to Baskin Robbins for ice cream. “No alcohol,” I said as one person after another offered me booze. “I’m already depressed enough; ice cream is the only thing that will make me feel better.”
It’s been a while, and many wonderful and awful things have happened since then: I ran two more races, including the famous Escape From Alcatraz where I leapt out of a perfectly good boat into San Francisco Bay and swam for home; I got a new job working for my friend Ollie, whom I owe much, including another forty hours of work this week; there was a horrible auto accident at my beloved Farmers’ Market, and though no one I know was hurt and I wasn’t down there, it hurts. I’ll have to write more about it when I go down there on Wednesday to go and do some business. Healing begins with fresh produce.
And there’s been cool shit like eMusic, where I’ve gotten all of George Carlin’s back catalogue and all kinds of other cool artists I never knew existed. And there are walkie-talkies in my house, along with the goofy call signs you need when you play with walkie-talkies. And the doves have come back and raised another round of hatchlings, and there’s a new Whole Foods down the street that’s begging for large portions of my paycheck in return for fine meats and cheeses. And there’s jackassery in the White House, the State House, and every other kind of house. There have been donations to political candidates, and, God help me, I’m going to be putting signs in my front yard for the first time in my life.
Because I’ve been remembering as I’ve gotten on the road to put in my run miles: this country is made up of you and me, all of us regular people. We’re the ones who pay the taxes and do the work and the living and the dying around here, and we got together a few hundred years ago to form a country based on the ideas that no God nor man would determine our fate. We would come together in a big, messy concensus and try to hash it out without killing each other. And both sides are forgetting how to be civil, and both sides are acting like petty cowards, and no one has the balls nor the ovaries to stand up and say, “Hey! You’re working for us, you swine, and we’re going to give you a very painful lesson. Because we’re hurting, and we’ve forgotten that we can stop our pain. We can come together, and we can build a better world than you can. We have the tools, we have the smarts, and we have soul, baby.”
These are the dog days of summer when we prepare for the harvest. These are the lazy days before we do the hard work, the sweat, the toil. This is the time to stop being scared and start being angry. This is the time go into the streets, to bring neighbors together, to remember how this country works and remember that it’s supposed to work for us. This is the time for poetry and song, the time for handshakes and arguments. This is the time to remember that it’s the spirit and not the letter of the law that always counts. This is the time to play. Because soon it will be autumn, and we’re going to have to work.