Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Running Scared

Being female can sometimes be an irritating handicap when it comes to personal safety. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade my lady bits for dangly bits any day, it's just that occasionally my awareness that my gender makes me more susceptible to the seedier bits of society chafes at my "Whatever, I do what I want" attitude. Take trail running, for example. I currently live in the Maryland suburbs, and there are only so many times that you can run by the same McMansion without getting bored, even when you do have the distraction of giggling at its pink Corinthian columns. Since the MD/D.C. area has a number of really nice parks and trails, it's easy enough to get some variety, the problem being that if I go during the week I can make it 5 miles without seeing anyone, or seeing only one or two other people, which is creepy. The first (and only) time that I ran in Rock Creek Park the only people I saw were two pot smoking teenagers, lighting up the second they got out of range of Mom and Dad's house.* I ended up cutting my run short that day because the utter silence, combined with the grey skies and lack of civilization close by, gave me visions of merry axe murderers, or rapists, or Chandra Levy.** Today, and several times recently, I've had the same problem along the C&O Canal Towpath, which has become my new favorite running spot. There are times when I get the creeping feeling that I'm not being entirely safe by taking off by myself sans cell phone, and I spend most of my run looking behind me and imagining scenes from Deliverance while simultaneously being far too fucking stubborn to stop. It's not enough to stop me from going there, but it is enough to glaze my otherwise perfectly lovely communion with nature with a little fear. I may be stronger than I look, and I may be able to run for rather a while without getting tired, especially if someone were chasing me, but part of me still wishes that my running shorts had a stun gun holster. Axe murderers beware!

* What is it with me and pot-smoking teenagers? It's like they're drawn to me.
** I hope my mention of Chandra Levy doesn't seem disrespectful. There's just no way for me to think of Rock Creek Park and "cautionary tale" without her name coming up in my head.

Monday, May 11, 2009


So there's not a whole lot going on in my life lately, which you probably gathered from my last few posts. Some people might think that you should stop posting if you don't have enough for a whole entry, but not me. That's what lists were created for, so in no particular order, and in concentrated form, some snippets from the life of Liza:

1. I've stopped doing Bikram for a while. Not because I dislike it or because I felt like I wasn't deriving a benefit from it, but because for some reason it makes my knees, specifically the right knee, rather cranky. My dad just had a knee replacement, so I've been paying attention to them more than usual. I think the problem is that I have a tendency to hyperextend, but since I already run - not exactly easy on the joints - I figured I should give them a chance to chill and am experimenting with other forms. So far regular Hatha yoga bores me to death, and Ashtanga looks promising, but will require quite a bit of work on my "flow," not being naturally graceful.

2. I am officially a victim of identity theft. After halfheartedly joking about it for years because I had my wallet - containing license, social security card and, idiotically, my birth certificate - stolen my first freshman year of college (I made it through a semester and left. USC is not my kind of place. Also, I appear to be fond of repeating the first bits of schooling. For another example, see Hurricane Katrina). So, anyway, some douchebag has been applying for a bunch of credit cards in my name, and now there's all these inquiries on my credit report, and also past addresses at which I've never lived, one of which is a shopping center. Lovely. Much mail scrutinizing, credit reporting, and police calling has commenced.

3. There are few things as relaxing as wandering about my backyard in bare feet. Having grown up barefoot, and having been a city apartment dweller for several years now, it's one of the facets of suburbia that I hadn't realized I missed.

4. Also, suburbia at 3 a.m. is an exceptionally dark and quiet place. I know this because, having consumed too much champagne on Saturday night, the lovely E. Lee and I decided that we needed to go find a swingset and set off looking for a playground in the dead of night. After visiting one playground that was inexplicably lacking in swings, we got sick of walking and only managed to find some pot-smoking teenagers. At least we think they were teenagers. We never actually saw them, only smelled their drugs.

5. I have a vegetable garden. M and I spent a few hours shopping for and planting squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and assorted herbs a few weeks ago, and I delight in checking on them and seeing their progress. One of the pepper plants already has little blossoms on it, and I've learned that of all the herbs I planted, chipmunks like basil the best.

So, that's my life right now. Yoga, gardening, big backyards. It's all very suburban and calm, but with some champagne and identity theft thrown in to make sure I don't get bored.

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