An emotional workout with Coach Dory

By September 6, 2007 culture No Comments

I am not a fan of insects. Never have been. My mom recalls a summer I spent indoors during my elementary school years because I didn’t like the bugs flying around. I’ve grown out of that (meaning, I don’t stay inside to avoid the bugs). The dislike for insects has not waned, however. My husband is still called upon to rescue me from encroaching critters. And sometimes I still go inside to escape or avoid them.

During my morning jaunts, I encounter lots of creepy-crawly things. It’s early enough that I’m typically too tired to get too grossed out. But sometimes the combination of early morning disdain, critters, and running/shuffling pushes me to the edge—my only hope is to cue my version of the little song Dory sang in Finding Nemo: “Just keep running, just keep running, just keep running, running, running, what do we do we run, run.”

The trails I take wind through a park with prairie grasses and trees. Last week must have been the baby grasshopper convention. At first I thought it was rather cute to see so many mini grasshoppers bouncing off the trail as I cut my path through them. It looked like popcorn popping and reminded me—for some very odd reason—of the dining room scene in Beauty and the Beast. Maybe it was because there were so many hopping around and it seemed almost choreographed. (I have no explanation as to why Disney movies come to mind when I am attempting to get some exercise.) Soon, however, the sheer quantity of grasshoppers got to me. What they lacked in size, they made up for in numbers. I had to avert my gaze and remind myself that I was bigger than the grasshoppers. That’s the truth my mom has tried to help me grasp since that summer spent indoors. I’m still working on it, but at least I haven’t become a recluse. (Yet.)

Worse than making my way through the mini grasshopper convention is running through the spider webs. I find them most days, even when I’m trying to avoid them by taking to the street’s edge instead of the tree-covered sidewalks. It seems a day doesn’t go by without finding a spider’s web to run through. I hate that feeling of stringiness draping itself across my arms and face. My reflexes kick-in, and I brush down my arms and scan my shirt for the spider whose web I just destroyed. For the next block I am in ultra-sensitive mode, trying to determine if it’s just the wind tousling my hair or if it’s actually that spider.

I think my workout takes more emotional energy than physical.

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