Friday, April 12, 2013

Running to Reality

As I wait for my body to heal, I haven't been doing much running lately.

Almost none.

Aside from the usual frustration of not being able to do what I love as much as I want to*, I've felt a different, new, strange craving.

In my job I spend nearly all day looking at a screen, clicking, reading, and typing. The vast majority of communication in our office happens through email and instant messaging, even between people who sit just a few feet from each other.

Most of my meetings are conducted over the web, looking at slides, not people.

Even my kids send me text messages because talking is too much of a hassle. [Picking up their phone, which is pretty much always within 12 inches of them, and touching a spot on the screen labeled "Dad", and reaching me no matter where in the world I am, and using actual words to ask me for money is somehow less convenient than typing an impersonal request for funds.]

This week I found myself thumbing through the one carbon-based physical copy of the newspaper in the break room at work instead of visiting the same paper's website.

I stepped back a bit, figuratively, and realized that I've been spending way too much time interfacing, dealing with people and things virtually, living in a constant state of time shift. I've been feeling disconnected, displaced, detached from the real world.

I've understood for a long time that my regular outside runs were good for my health, my mind, and my soul. But now I know that they also keep me in touch with my reality.

The smells and the sights, the dust and the bugs, the footfalls and the breathes, the sun and the wind and the occasional rain or snow, are like a reset button that realign me with my place and time.

That strange craving I've had is for a feeling of being solidly grounded, a need to be connected to, and a part of, my world.

Email and my iPhone just aren't cutting it. I need a good run.

Good running,

*I imagine this frustration would seem ridiculous if not completely foreign to people who worry about how they will feed their children each day.