Sometimes, being perfectly irrational makes perfect sense.
Love can do that to you. So can snow. And marathon training.
I’ll be married 30 years next month, so I figure I’ve got the love thing down pat. Buy flowers when they’re not expected. Show an interest in whatever was on Oprah as needed. And when you’re in serious trouble say “yes dear” followed quickly by “you’re right” and - if you’re really in the deep end - “I’m sorry.”
Even marathon training has understandable boundaries of irrationality.
There was a time when I’d run outside every night, no matter what. It’s 30 below? Hah! I laugh in your face, Bitter Cold. Add a layer and wipe the icicles off the eyebrows.
That was then. Now it’s the indoor tracks at Holland College and UPEI, and the treadmill in the basement.
So when the weather was particularly frightful a few days ago and the schedule called for a 32-kilometre run, I fired up the treadmill, turned on the loudest collection of shoot’em-up movies clips I could find, and started.
Things went swimmingly until the two hour and 32 minutes mark when the treadmill just shut off. Now, I’m used to this. There’s a glitch in the thing that shuts it off after an hour and a half. Maybe it gets tired. Just restart it and it’s fine.
Not this day.
The first clue was the puff of smoke curling out from under the hood covering the electric motor. The second clue, no chance it would restart. Dead, dead, dead.
Beautiful Wife came running down the stairs, apparently because my shouts of anguish.
“I’ve killed my treadmill,” I wailed.
She gave me The Look.
“I still have an hour to go and I can’t run in that,” I whined, pointing out the window at the howling snowstorm.
She turned and left.
I stared at the storm. It stared back. It blinked first. I pulled on two layers of everything and trudged out the door.
“Four laps around the neighbourhood,” I muttered. “Four laps should be about eight or nine kilometres.”
Somewhere in the fourth lap I lost my mind. The footing was awful. The wind was howling. Needles of what felt like ice were jabbing me in the face. And I was smiling. Smiling.
Two days later. Finally, the sun broke through and the perfectly irrational struck again.
Yes, I’m a teacher, but I hate snow days. Sitting around the house means things like doing the dishes land on Beautiful Wife’s to-do list. Her to-do list for me. Give me work any day.
The cats looked at me and I looked back. I pulled on a pair of boots and shooed the cats out the door ahead of me.
I needed a sign, something that said spring is coming. Hope is near. Some day you’ll be able to toss your hat, gloves and winter coat into a closet and forget them until next winter when you can’t find them without BW’s help.
The driveway. A clear driveway, not a speck of snow, I thought. That’s a sign of spring. I grabbed a shovel and started hacking away. An hour before lunch, then back outside.
It became a game. I’d scrape a spot down to the bare, black pavement, then move on, letting the sun soften up the snow around it.
Four hours later it was done. A perfectly clear driveway, just in time for BW to arrive from her job. I preened, eager for praise for all my hard work. She looked at the kitchen sink, then at me.
“You didn’t get the dishes done?”
- Rick MacLean is an instructor in the journalism program at Holland College in Charlottetown.