Sunday, February 22, 2009

Let's not take our ears for granted.

Well everyone, The Recession has me feeling somewhat off. Over the past few months, I have watched friends lose their jobs, I have heard the desperate calls from Wells Fargo asking me to please pay my credit card payments on time, and I have seen far too many people at the grocery store lately. Presumably because these individuals are out-of-work, and suddenly have all the time in the world now to lollygag in the chips/snacks aisle saying things like, "would you look at that? Blue Cheese Doritos! Pam, c'mere - you gotta see this!"

I typically deal with stress one of two ways: stress eat. And/or vigorously exercise. Which is a little self-defeating, considering that each activity cancels out the other, does it not? That time wasted eating R.'s leftover Pei Wei and then elliptical cycling it off (or far more often: the reverse) could have been much better spent watching Love Actually and decoupaging the cat. Or something.

Anyway, in the last few days R. and I attended a wedding for our friends in Baton Rouge and spent the remaining time in New Orleans. Here, we ate gloriously fried food for several days straight, aiming for a "true cultural experience" (the kind of experience that is washed down with a mint julep or six): catfish atchafalaya, how have I never known ye? King's Cake, is your real name "manna?" The Bible tells us that Jesus fed 5,000 people from 1 loaf and 2 fishes or something like that and all were satisfied. I have now come to believe that this holy doctrine is in all likelihood referring to crawfish etouffee prepared by the first century equivalent of Tony's Bourbon Street Oyster Bar, because friends, God spoke to me in those delicious bites.

Which is all to say that stress management tactic #1 has been satisfied.

So today, I went running.

In a town like Austin, where residents take their silly little bike hobby and win Tour de France's with it, I shouldn't feel as smug as I do when I run. But I'm going to say it here and now: I feel better than everybody else when I go running. Not so on the elliptical. There, I just pity myself. "Yes, I can only exercise while simultaneously watching Gossip Girl. No, I'm not 'training' for anything. Just burning off pad thai, k?" Exercising on the elliptical, my preferred form of cardio exercise, is rather like announcing you have no athletic ambitions whatsoever; you just want to buy a bikini.

Well today I went running for 30 minutes. Oh, how powerful I felt! How superior! I looked ridiculously over-panted in yoga pants, as I don't actually own a pair of running shorts, but whatever! It felt good to be alive. I nodded grimly at strangers. "Pardon me, impervious-to-pain runner coming through." Walkers and their dogs moved out of the way. "Probably prepping for a race," I imagined them saying.

Next stop was the gym, where I dutifully lifted weights, performed sit-ups, and sorta kinda maybe snuck in some elliptical machine (old habits, they die hard. Also, I ate my weight in trans fats the day before). But now, after this Rocky Balboa-like day of triumphant fitness, I believe I've made myself sick. At the time of this post, I am lying in bed, halfway convinced that exercise itself has given me the flu. Isn't that sad? I'm not surprised. My stomach was putting up a fight the entire way through the jog. "What the f---?" It kept saying. "Can we please go back to eating breakfast tacos?"

The day before, R. and I stopped in Elgin, Texas, which boasts a large billboard that says, "You'll LOVE Our Guts!" This refers to the food Elgin is famous for: sausage. I thought it was sick (and hilarious); in addition, it made me crave meat. So we stopped in a gas station in a neighboring town, where I bought the next best thing to sausage one can find at a Shell station, beef jerky. It's here that I encountered this headline, on the front page news of the Lexington Leader:

"Lexington man sentenced for kicking a man's ear off."

Come again? Kicked an ear? Off of the head?

Oh
, fellow Texans.

Things have never looked so bleak that this seemed like the most sensible course of action. (And if you stopped me here to say that it's a little cheap to compare one's situation to that of a man who goes around kicking people's body parts clean off, I would absolutely agree with you.) I noticed another sign in the gas station, however, that surprised me more than the story of the poor person who had been de-eared, if that's possible:

"NO CUSSING. Cuss words will be fined $0.25 - $1.00 depending on severity."

It's such an odd state we live in, Texas. A place where stress, perhaps the Recession itself, thrusts our most brute representatives right into the foreground, along with our old-fashioned civility. In my most desperate hours, I either eat or exercise myself to exhaustion. Some of us lash out (on defenseless ears, as it were). But in the face of adversity, many Texans just want to go a day without hearing the word "shit."

Which may be the most reasonable thing, after all.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I hear you girlfriend. Having to worry about my job while simultaneously having to report on the tanking economy is real insult to injury. About two weeks ago I had a breakdown over it and came crying to my cats (because they will never know anything of the recession since as long as it is in my power they shall remain fat, happy and ignorant.) I wish I had better advice for you than what you're already doing, but we have to keep standing strong and being positive. Count the blessings you have and work as hard as you can to keep them.

Austin Style Watch said...

I accidentally posted as anonymous..posting again just so I'm not a no-name...
Ugh, I hear you girlfriend. Having to worry about my job while simultaneously having to report on the tanking economy is real insult to injury. About two weeks ago I had a breakdown over it and came crying to my cats (because they will never know anything of the recession since as long as it is in my power they shall remain fat, happy and ignorant.) I wish I had better advice for you than what you're already doing, but we have to keep standing strong and being positive. Count the blessings you have and work as hard as you can to keep them.

Dana said...

The worst flowers-for-algernon feeling is being injured from running too much. You're out for a vigorous hilly arm-pumping WALK and can almost cry when you see the joggers. But.. I used to be one of you... *wail* Add to that a slow-as-hell pug dog that isn't going to even humor your little 1 minute jog spurts (against your Physical Therapist's advice, but hey) and you've got yourself a real 'I'm getting out of shape and can't do a thing about it' shame spiral. Elliptical loud, elliptical proud girlfriend! And NEVER run a marathon on a bum knee.

He Loves and Hates Everything said...

Tolly, this was wonderful. I could almost hear the exasperation in your voice: "Off of the head?"

Oh, runner's arrogance. I, too, find myself in that sickness from time to time. Though it's usually accompanied by an iPod mix chalk full of Sasha Fierce and Gossip Girl-esque party scene jams.

Tiffany Diane said...

Ok, this may not be as insightful a response as the post was, but you just reminded me I need to go running... It's been an obscenely long time.

frances said...

rumor has it a great dance party can cure a bad recession fever.

<3

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