Did you run today?

Well, I was right. As life becomes increasingly uneventful, there really isn’t much to muse about it. It took me basically all week to scrape together the following, and it isn’t much.

At this point, my life is really only structured around running and the occasional conference call I have to be on. I know that running is something that I already do on a routine basis, but since there’s so little to talk about right now, I’ve become increasingly irritated when someone in the family asks me, “Did you run today?”

I don’t know why it irritates me. Actually, it really only irritates me when I haven’t ran that day. It feels like the questioner is passing judgment if I say that no, I didn’t run today — which is ludicrous when no one else in the house runs ever and could not possibly pass judgment.

The only person who doesn’t bug me with this question is this older gentleman, David, who is the security guard during the evening hours at the USOPC. He just seems very invested in my running, you know? Like he’s not just asking to ask, but he really cares. In fact, he seems almost distressed when I walk out of the building donning non-running clothes —

“What? No run today?(!)”

“Well, I ran this morning.”

“Oh, I see. Good. Have a good night!”

Maybe there is no difference. Or maybe I just like David better than most folks.

I called my dear friend Evyn up on the phone this past Monday morning. She’s the only person I can call when I wake up, since she’s in London on a more reasonable time zone. We were talking about how we were passing the time, trying to stay productive and so forth. She said something that really stuck with me —

“You know, I read somewhere that when it comes down to it, the entire world is under trauma right now. So, it’s perfectly acceptable to not be productive, to not be doing anything. Just taking care of yourself is enough.” Those words were echoing in my head a bunch this week, really every time that I started making dizzying lists in my head of all the things I should be doing. And then today I read this article, which reinforced the whole thing. Thanks, Evyn.

I think I’ve seen a fox weekly since I returned to New York. And not just out the window, but on a run — just yards away from me. It’s probably coincidence, but I always feel like foxes are trying to speak to me in some way, since the fox is my spirit animal.

I know, the spirit animal thing is so superficial and dumb and just an ice breaker when you meet people who you’ll probably never talk to again, but I really like the way I came to “discover” my spirit animal. And of course, I love telling people about it.

It came to me in a dream. I was leading a back country trail building trip for my college. It was a freshman orientation trip, so obviously my co-leader and I were asking our trippees for their spirit animals. When it came to me, I think I said something like, “I don’t know. It could be a bear, or a mouse, or maybe a giraffe because I feel very gangly. Or actually, maybe it’s Leslie Knope. I think it’ll just come to me at some point and I’ll just know.”

A couple days later, we were on the bus back to campus and I fell asleep almost immediately on my co-leader’s shoulder. I found myself in a dream — I was seated around a fire with my co-leader and a few of our trippees. Suddenly, a fox darted through the flames and back into the woods. I jolted awake, startling my co-leader. “JOE.” I said, very seriously. “The fox is my spirit animal.” I think he just chuckled and ignored me.

I’ll leave you with a conundrum. My friend texted me today wondering, “How would you pronounce ‘lighght’?” Rather than be put off by the question, I was lost for a response. I answered, “I don’t know. Lie-geyt?” Him: “But since -gh is silent, wouldn’t TWO -ghs be silent too?” This is why I prefaced with, “I don’t know.”

Instead of dwelling on this, I followed up: “I’ve got a better one for you.” I had to Skype my co-worker Sam for it, because I couldn’t quite remember the details but knew that the question he gave me a few months ago absolutely agonized me. “Hey, this is random, but what was that quandary you gave me about the word ‘scissors’ a couple months back?” “Oh yeah — is the S or the C in ‘scissors’ silent?”

I immediately got angry again.

I then gave my friend Sam’s quandary and gave my friend’s quandary to Sam. Their responses:

My friend: “Oh damn you. These are desperate times for the human condition. My opinion: the first and third S are silent.”

Sam: “Wow, this is a tough one, but is it even a word? … I can’t go down a rabbit hole of hypotheticals. I can barely make sense of real words!”

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