Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Lakefront Path

In the ever-elusive quest to find a means of exercise that I don’t find repellant, I tried running along Chicago’s lakefront trail again. 

Never again!

On the surface, it sounds nice: Eight miles of paved running path along Chicago’s lakefront with breathtaking vistas of the city skyline. 

Here’s what it looks like. 

See? Isn’t that nice?

In reality, the lakefront running path should be called the Lakefront running/dog-walking/biking/speed-skating Lane of Terror. 

Here’s what it actually looks like:

See? Isn’t that horrible?

Remember in grade school when you jumped rope? Two kids would be looping the rope round and round and you’d have to time it just right, dash into the looping rope and begin hopping up and down with split-second accuracy. 

That’s what it feels like just getting on to the pathway. Dogs and speed skaters and competitive bicyclists are all whizzing by in different directions. You have to time it just right and dash right in to get swooped up in the maelstrom. 

I made it onto the path and began my slow trot-trot-trotting along. 

Keep in mind that the running path is hardly wider than a one-lane road. 

I heard a sonic boom behind me as several Tour de France contenders blazed by with the warning, “On your left!!!” 

My heart was still pounding when roller-bladers whizzed past which left hardly any room for the guy on his bike pulling a toddler in the kiddy-trailer attached. Dogs on leashes complicated the matter. 

Trot-trot-trot . . . 

I couldn’t wait to get off the damn running path. 

I veered off onto a nice, regular sidewalk. If I had brought money with me, a taxi would have been hailed. 

There are some really beautiful, wooded pathways that meander through the bird sanctuary near my place. I’ve mapped out a two-mile route through there that I’ve been using.

True, the paths through the bird sanctuary aren’t really meant for running. 
They’re for bird-nerds. 

But let’s be honest about my running. 

Trot-trot-trot. . . 

Birdwatchers ambling along will probably pass me by.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Julia the Vixen

Julia Child as a senior intelligence officer with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) while in Ceylon, 1944. 
Julia referred to this pose as one of "anticipatory lechery." 

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Monday, October 01, 2012

The Smart Phone

I think I’m one of the last persons on earth to still own a regular, no-frills cell phone. I got an iPhone two years ago, but since I had no reception on the 50th floor where I lived, using it was exceedingly frustrating. I took it back the next day and got my regular, “dumb phone” back. 

One month from now, I will have fulfilled the two-year enslavement contract and I’m ready for my smart phone now. During the past two years, I’ve encountered more and more situations when a smart phone would come in handy.  Ordering Thai food online to be delivered while riding home on the bus has a coolness factor that I can’t even begin to fathom. 

However, I truly hope I don’t turn into one of these people who leap onto their smart phones every chance they get. I’ve seen folks yank ‘em out while standing in line at the grocery store, while walking across the street, and during concerts.

Of course, everyone on the bus or train endlessly smart-phones away.

But at what cost? Have we lost the ability to daydream; to truly experience “down time” anymore? 

I have a sinking feeling that the human capacity to engage in profound, reflective thought will be a thing of the past. Had Descartes an iPhone, I doubt that his brilliant “I think, therefore, I am” would have ever been realized.  

Has the age of smart phones dumbed us down?

I know one thing. Whipping out a smart phone at church during the first scripture reading is surely a recipe for eternal damnation.

I’m almost sure of it.