Revenge Wears No Wristwatch - The Walkmen

In a few hours I will be in Bolinas, California for a few days off in a big ass house that used to belong to Al Capone. Rumor has it they would smuggle goods in around the sleepy town and drive them into the city for swift fencing. I remember when I went to Alcatraz I thought about how all those inmates had such a wonderful view from their locked rock, but how torturous to be bound there, mythic and sad. Turns out Capone must have liked a good view. My friend Schaef rented the house for her partner's kick off of a whole month to celebrate turning 40. A whole gang of hilarious lesbians with many food rules lounging in a gangter's house with hot tub. The poetry of it all is pure delight for me.

I packed up my sausage outfit, some gel chews, a couple bandanas, and wicking socks for my time out there. Running in new places is always hard for me. Something about the unknown makes everything take longer. Even if I am just doing a there and back run that's new, the "there" part always feels eternal compared to the "back". Something about familiar landmarks or terrain soothes a scratchy panic my brain gets during a virgin jog. Today I'll be out by the ocean, a gorgeous place with no city comforts. It's odd to me that the beautiful run seems to be producing a state of anxiety rather than excitement, although the two feelings manifest in similar ways. That's why I often just run on the marathon course here in town. By the time I'm surrounded by 10,000 runners, I at least want to know where I'm going. I'll know about the McClure poem fragment I'll run over along The Embarcadero, the bronze plate in the ground declaring, "Once this was all black plasma, and imagination". I'll look forward to the row of dry trees along Fisherman's Wharf, all the branches empty and capped with gnarled wood fists, a canopy of joints. There will be the stiff climb up to Fort Mason and them the long unfurling of Crissy Field, stiff wind drying salt over my stinging face. I'll run the bridge, the glorious famous thing in the sky, over and back while cars wait for the throng of crazy people on a Sunday morning, tacking mile after mile onto their running shoes. We'll all spend six miles in Golden Gate park, pass American Bison, waterfalls, golfers and archery until the park spits us on to Haight Street, still littered with clouds of Mary Jane ether and bare feet. I'll be excited to roll easily down to Market Street and over it into my hood, the Mission, run through so many memories along 16th street, and then I have to admit, there's a hill I fear will kill me. I've run it a million times now, a long slow crawl up from 16th and Harrison to Potrero. I've never run it after 18 miles or so, though, and I can't say I'm looking forward to it. I imagine I'll picture the quiet of the haul through Potrero Hill and 3rd, around the back of the ball park and along the water. I love that part. The end is so great. Under the Bay Bridge and home. 

But Bolinas? I got no reference, just a watch that says I'm not done yet. Not to complain. I mean at least I know everything ends in a hot tub. But I've noticed the psychological distance of things is more intense than the linear distance. Moving through neighborhoods, I discover my mind has placed them so much further apart than they actually are. I picture myself living half a lifetime from the beach, but I ran out there one day to visit my friend Sam at Tuesday Tattoo where she hurts people all day in the name of beauty, and it only took me an hour and change to run there. Took longer to get home on the train. The body and the mind are such different creatures, each trying to outdo the other when they share the same landlord. 

I'm sure it'll all go swimmingly, though. All of it. 

Sara Elise

1 comment:

  1. the last line kills me. just gorgeous. [from sandra t.]