Sunday, June 21, 2009


I have a really good idea on how to make the world a better place: pass a law that car horns can only do a little short beep like the beep some cars do when they get locked. The only meaning of the long “BWAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” is to say to another driver, “You’re a fucking idiot!” To which the response is almost invariably “BWAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! No, YOU’RE the idiot!”

Which does not seem to serve any purpose other than to wake babies and rattle everyone else on the road. I mean really: if you’ve got enough time and a free hand to go “BWAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!,” you must not actually be in danger, am I wrong? And if you’re not in danger, what’s the big deal?

This probably makes everyone suspicious that I am getting more than my fair share of the “BWAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!,” which I don’t think I am, although how would I really know, since whenever I’m in the car I’m almost always the one driving, and the amount of “BWAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” I get seems normal to me. (I will add that in over twenty years of driving, I have never even ONCE had a moving violation.) (I admit I have violated a few posts and parked cars. Not recently, though. Don’t blame me for that scratch.) (My Scion started out quite square; four years of street parking has whittled it into something more ovoid.)

Now, something about running. I keep forgetting to mention this:


Which is one of the reasons that you have to go no matter what.

Example: last week, after a hellish few days of:
  • HB vomiting in the bed
  • TH not vomiting, but lying around trying to look pitiful
  • broken washer
  • broken dryer (still not fixed)
  • multiple graduation-related events at night
and god knows what-all, I had no choice but to take HB with me in the dreaded running stroller if I wanted to get a run in.

First I had to lug the stroller up the basement stairs. Then I had to inflate the tires (with “help” from HB). Then I had to assemble the thing. Then I had to put all sorts of snacks in the pocket. Then I had to get dressed to run. Then … sudden torrential downpour wipes out the blue skies! So I’m like, maybe we shouldn’t go—by the time the rain lets up I’ll be too hungry, HB will be hellish on the ride, my shoulder hurts and I don’t want to push the stroller, etc. etc., whine, whine … but then I smacked myself in the face and off we went, once the rain let up enough to be able to see farther than 10 feet ahead of us.

And HB was an absolute ANGEL. A few quotes from him: “No, you don’t have to put the cover up, I like the rain—I’ll let you know if I need it!” At the 1.5 mile mark, as I turned the stroller around, not wanting to push my luck: “What are you doing? Let’s keep going!” On the way home, “Oh! Look at the rainbow!” “Listen to the birds!” “The flowers have all the colors of the rainbow!”

I was a little suspicious that he’d found a tablet of E on the ground somewhere, à la Jude Law’s child (suuuuure, it wasn’t theirs! They just somehow got a really good look at it before she popped it in her mouth! But weren’t quick enough to stop her!). But the only thing he has ever found on the ground and put in his mouth is a cigarette.

It works the other way too. Some days the weather is gorgeous, you have all the time in the world, you’ve eaten just enough but not too much, your ipod is charged, you’re wearing your cute new shorts, and—somehow it sucks. But: it’s kind of like sex or pizza for guys: even if it’s bad, it’s still a run, and a run is better than no run.


Blue said...

i liked your today doc. i miss running. i have this annoying tear in my meniscus that keeps causing pain even when i'm not moving around some days. so i haven't been for a few months. you're still the only person who makes me actually WANT to run. thanks for that. glad you found joy in the journey unexpectedly ♥

Anonymous said...

Yay! So glad you're posting again! Loved this, especially "I was a little suspicious that he’d found a tablet of E on the ground somewhere." Man, I wish that stuff were legal. Congrats on your great run!

Also -- I am still running, despite my arthritic hips, mostly without pain. My runs have increased to an average of an hour apiece, and they just seem to get more joyous and easier (and I seem to get thinner and thinner). Thank you, again. for persuading me not to fear joint pain. -victoria

Mama Goose said...

"even if it’s bad, it’s still a run, and a run is better than no run."

Oh, you're so, so right. Thank you.

ozma said...

Good point. Also works for writing and yoga.

I love HB's comments. So nice to hear him enjoying the world.

My kid is hella moody these days. She's a teenager already. When she's in a good mood it's really amazing...

leslie said...

I had to laugh about the "BWAAAAA" because the last time I had someone do that to me was directly a result of reading your blog. I have started hypermiling recently. I discovered that the majority of people out there really prefer to drive 35 mph up to the stoplight, then slam on the brakes at the last minute. I was coasting up to a stoplight, and the guy behind me came right up on my tail and honked. He then swung around me onto the dirt shoulder and made a right turn. At first, I responded with my typical reaction when someone gets angry at me, "Oh, what a bad person I am to have inconvenienced that poor gentleman." Then, I thought about it and realized that it was illegal a) because he was driving on the shoulder and b) because he didn't stop prior to making the turn. Yet, despite that, he felt justified in honking at me.

elle said...

Wow, I'm so upset I lost my entire comment. It was way to long to redo, so here is a related yet different one:

Just graduated med school, started running using your methods, really happy with results.

Please, can you tell me any advice to continue running during residency (I am doing emergency med.)?

-For example, when do you run? After work or before? How does it affect you at work if you ran before a shift?

-When is sleep more important (because I'm sure my sleep-deprived mind will always think sleep is more important).

-Should I adjust pace or length of run for sleep deprivation?

-If I don't go at all, say during a rough 4 week rotation, at what percentage of my original distance/time should I be running once I get back to it?

Can you comment on running after a night shift? If I wake up and run in the middle of the day, is that better than other times to run?


Laura said...

Glad to hear about your run.

I want to thank you for your advice and encouragement regarding running. I've always liked the idea of it, but didn't stick with it when I tried it. Starting with running slowly really is key. I stretched out Cool Running's couch to 5k running schedule, starting sometime late last year I think. Today I ran 30 minutes non-stop for the first time, which I'm excited about. It has taken time, but it has been very gratifying to see the improvement in my endurance.

DoctorMama said...

leslie -- I know, right?

elle -- I'm working on those answers!

Loreta said...

I'm once again living in Italy, where the honking of the horn takes on a new meaning all together. How I have missed this activity in uber polite and sensitive America! Here I finally have a release (and recourse) to all the dumb things you see people do on the road. Somebody going too slow? Bwaaaaaaa! Making an illegal turn right in front of my car? BWAAAAA!
But it's also a sound associated with friends (there goes Antonio -bwwwaaaaa!-) or approval.
When I ride my husband's convertible bug, even with the kids in the back, I often get the "Bwaa-bwa-bwa-bwaa" To which I always respond "Bwa-Bwa!" :)

Brandi Gunn said...

Beautifully said on the unpredictability of running, Doctor Mama. You just can't tell.

(Hate me now) I love to lay on the horn. Sometimes it seems the most innocuous way to snap. More effective than hitting your pillow; more innocuous than a belltower.