Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanks gave

Early on Thanksgiving morning (so very early) Nick, my mom and I headed across town to do the local Turkey Trot race. We've inexplicably done this the last few years now.

I'll set the painful scene for you: after staying up til 1 a.m. or so the night before at my folks' house drinking beers and cheating at cards and generally carrying on, we voluntarily rise at dawn to stand in a pack of tens of thousands of people hoping to run five miles on purpose. The wind slices away at our layered clothing, a sickle. Even the people in costume look grim, bracing for death. "Naked Santa" is not pleased. Mario and Luigi seem near permanent estrangement as they hug their respective elbows and silently bounce in place. Beside their fit, blond parents confident kids look on, clad in slick name-brand workout gear. A ghastly sight - children should run foot races in stretched-out Bart Simpson shirts with one loose shoelace trailing behind them, everyone knows that. I take queasy inventory of how many beers I had last night and how little I ate. Over the course, the American flag dangles by one corner from a crane. A star-spangled flower bud, a sleeping bat.

A dude I can't see sings the national anthem. He should not quit his day job, though it's a tough song to sing. And we're off! Or, the people at the front are. Twenty minutes later, we are crossing the start line. The course is kind of lousy, 2.5 miles out on flat road, round the baseball fields that stink of the neighboring wastewater treatment plant, 2.5 miles back. Nick is infuriatingly much faster than me, despite not being a runner, and doubles back a few times to offer roller-derby-style slingshots. I accept.

And all for what? Half a banana. And some sandwich cookies. I do like it though, despite my introduction there. This is my favorite holiday, and I like thinking about how nearly sweaty so-and-so in the flock with me will be around a table in a few hours telling old stories all wrong, tapdancing around politics, perhaps getting teased about their weird log of soy turkey? I get sentimental, the same way I do when cars pulls over for ambulances and funeral processions. Lookit us humans here, all bein' what we are, altogether.

I am thankful as hell, because all of this is so very unlikely. Getting randomly born into a safe, supportive home when so many aren't, with two built-in friends for siblings waiting to affectionately terrorize me from day one, getting put through college, finding this strange and wonderful mate who is so hung up on me it's like, get a grip, dude. That my life is so easy, so warm, has next to nothing to do with my character, my grit. It's luck, man, 95% of it, and I don't ever forget. 

1 comment:

  1. Slingshots! YES.

    I wanted to do the Turkey Trot this year and totally failed.

    Love the thankfulness.