Trippers and Askers Surround Me

If you don’t recognize the post title, it’s from a Whitman poem, Song of Myself. Even as much as I make fun of Whitman at times, this really is one of my favorite poetic moments:

Trippers and askers surround me,
People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or loss or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news, the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself. (4:1-9)

This resonated today insofar as this post is as much grab bag as analysis (and probably a good deal more). See, I am not the bits and pieces I collect; “I” am more than the sum of their parts, but they are no less a part of me. If I fail to give them voice, I reduce myself. At the same time, if I give them more attention than is their due–try to make them all of me, I reduce myself. So, this collection of randoms is not “me” but they are very much the expression, the clothing of my voice.

Marathon Training: 25 miles last week, the same and additional change for this week (27 total?). Time is, as ever, pokey, but speed is not the goal–dragging myself across the finish line is. We can worry over speed after the race. Not thrilled with the whole return to cold weather deal that we had this morning. In fact, it SUCKED.

The 10 mile loop I mapped out is an interesting beast; turns out that little country road behind my house is one very long hill. With bikers.*

10 miles–two of these uphill battles plus a 10K and I’m done, right?

The psychology of running is a beast with which to reckon–more on that in a later post, but I’m pretty sure I rewrote my will, sketched the first 74% of a novel, and re-centered my current research project in the course of Saturday morning. I did discover that it is a good thing that I don’t carry my iPod along, as I am distracted enough without music.

Duff: A perennial favorite in these parts, yes?

For those who missed my über-freakouts last week, a brief update:

First, Loaded kindly consented to come to the Southeast on their tour, and while I can take no credit (though I did harass), I am very pleased and wish to say thank you to all four musicians in question. I look forward to seeing all of you this month. Thank you, gentlemen.

Second, Sick (Loaded’s album–see the link at the bottom of the page) arrived yesterday. Good tunes. Good fun. Great humor. The joy in the music is palpable.

Third, Duff mentioned me in his blog. No really. See the quote below? “Kris” is me (I love, love, love the digression about newspapers and blogs that accompanies the remark about me…it’s ridiculously fitting):

Of the readers that I deem to be local, a professor dubbed “Kris” has a blog of his/her own that is drenched with deep-thought and hyper-awareness. I am honored that people like this even give a guy like me the time of day to read the neophyte script that I turn in to the Weekly. (On this subject, I just watched CBS’s Sunday Morning, and there was a segment on blogging and news otherwise obtained on the Web. Apparently, for the first 100 or so years of their existence—1680 to 1780—newspapers would leave a blank page at the end of an article so that readers could write their comments and then pass it along for someone else to cross-comment. By 1915 there were some 15,000 different newspapers and magazines circulating in the U.S. Radio, TV, and other media eventually diminished the high demand, but it appears now that with the Internet, we are back up to having the wide variety celebrated those 100 years ago. Back to the future, I guess.)

I grant that the pink daisy probably should have been a gender clue, but, I appreciate the gender-non-specificity nevertheless and, moreover, I really appreciate his kindness. When in the world did I become a “people like this”? I thought that was his role. He’s my hero after all.

He’s “people like this,” not me.

Him.

Duff. The guy mentioned first in the blog’s cast of characters. My hero thinks I’m a “people like this”!

I’m not though. He is.

“people like this”

…The last piece of Duffness came in an article that inspired a post that I will put up later this week on the subject of recovery. Because, damn, he is “people like this” and fuck all if he doesn’t make me think time and again about where and how and who: this time, he made me remember something about recovery that I had rather suppressed.

On that note…

Recovery: Rather melancholy at the moment. I realized this week, happily, that while the first go-round at recovery was brutal for an extended period–the craving, the obsession with consumption, I haven’t had much in the way of a pull toward alcohol at all this time, at least since the first month (which was a bitch–way worse than the first time). The…I can’t think of the right word here…lackadaisical? ambivalent?…what? The (whatever word I am seeking–detached?) attitude is a bit baffling, and, at first, I thought it was a good thing. Then I remembered that this was about the same feeling that preceded the decision to drink again. At which point I began to pay more attention to my thoughts and rambles, and they are a bit darker than I realized. Not threatening, mind you–not going there, but definitely dark.

Or maybe it’s the return to cold weather that’s getting me down.

In all likelihood, it is some of all of the above–some of each of the bits and pieces reflected here. I was getting low last week, before I saw the remark quoted in Duff’s blog above, which buoyed me more than I can readily articulate. My hero and his kindnesses. Great highs, such as the excitement of last week, inevitably precede precipitous lows, and I will simply have to weather those, as well as the snow flurries outside my window.

Snow flurries in Georgia in April should be verboten, dammit.

Maybe I should work harder at not hanging my hat on the kindnesses of heroes and strangers, but celebrate those moments and allow myself to revisit on tough days and hours, but buoy myself with my own service and work in the world. Touch upon the joy and savor it for a time, but rely on internal measures, rather than external ones.

And in thinking about the weeks to come, perhaps I should not worry so much about how I appear to others, that I may be over-excitable (why not be so, after all?) or risky or scary or whatever, but I do. I do worry over the trippers and askers, the dress and compliments, the depressions and exaltations.

My compulsions and ecstasies and smiles and encounters and addictions and stories and whatevers and whatnots are significant. Even my silliness.

Which makes me wonder…what makes you who you are? What are the events and ideas and behaviors that clothe your self? Who and what surrounds you?


*For those not in the know, this community is rife with cyclists (not bikers, I know…I couldn’t resist). Scads of brightly colored, spandex-clad folks on minuscule tires cover the roadways each morning. They are, as a rule, a fun group of folks to watch, even if the occasional super-athlete feels it necessary to make an obnoxious remark at me. Heh…I’m usually too whipped to care by the time they come upon me. Fortunately, most of the cycling crowd is quite polite.

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