Sunday, February 20, 2011

What If There is No Tomorrow? There Wasn't One Today!

*This week's title comes from one of everyone's favorite movies, Groundhog Day. Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't like this movie? This movie has become so embedded in our pop culture that I can't remember if the concept of Groundhog Day as something repeating itself over and over existed before the movie, or if that's a result of the movie's popularity.

Anyway, last Saturday, I went out for what I had planned to be a five-mile run. The weather was supposed to be clear, with temps in the low fifties. Now let's get something straight right now. I hate running. Despise it. I do not lose myself in my thoughts, because there is a single thought that overwhelms all others -- how much longer until I can stop? However, I love FINISHING running. And that is why I do it.

I quickly realized it wasn't going to be my day. There was a terrible headwind, and with the wind chill, the temp was down closer to 40 than 50. After about a mile, I decided to cut the run to three miles. Seeing as I haven't really started my training for the 2012 Olympics in earnest, I figured that would be OK. Two miles into the run, I was headed uphill on a relatively busy road, one that I'd run on hundreds of times before, when I lost my balance on and face-planted, half on the hardpack shoulder, half on the roadway. As I stumbled, I knew there was no traffic coming, but I knew that it was a pretty crappy place to eat it.

In a shining example of shameless human vanity, I checked to see if anyone had seen me fall before I checked the extent of my injuries. I had jammed my shoulder, wrenched my hip, and scraped up my hand and knee. Luckily though, nothing serious. And far more importantly, no one had seen me bite it. As I finished off the run, it got me thinking about a strange week I had back in 2008, about a month before my daughter was born.

The strangeness of that week started during a run that day as well -- on that same road, in fact. It was that day I realized that much of what we experience is out of our control. Within ten minutes of leaving my house on that April afternoon, I was chased by a dog and someone in a passing car threw a cup of water on me (at least I hope it was water).  

The next day, I was on Interstate 95, driving to a law conference in northern Virginia, when I found myself in the midst of an unbelievable police chase, the kind you see on Cops. I saw at least a dozen police vehicles giving chase. The suspect vehicle, a small compact, zipped around me in the breakdown lane doing about 90, and a state trooper roared past a few seconds later, nearly clipping my front left bumper. I briefly swerved to avoid a collision with the police car, and I was lucky I didn't lose control of my car.

Two days later, while I was still at the conference, our dog got loose, having slipped through the back gate (which I had forgotten to latch the day I left for the conference). She'd been gone for a good thirty minutes before my wife (eight months pregnant and caring for our then-2-year-old son) realized she was gone. The dog made it about a mile, but very luckily for us, she happened across a kind family that was good enough to check her tags, upon which our phone number was stamped. 

All this happened in the span of about seventy-two hours.

Here's the thing: I am a textbook worrier (wisely, my wife did not tell me about the dog incident until after the dog was safely back at home). I worry about the stove being left on, about our furnace exploding, about my plane crashing, about my son falling from the top of the monkeybars, about any white conversion van I see on the street -- because, seriously, who drives white conversion vans other than child molesters? So this was a particularly troubling week for me in that it showed me, at least on some level, that there is not a whole lot of point in worrying about things.

It's pretty unsettling to realize that for all the worrying you do, you might still have an out-of-control dump truck out there with your name on it.

So naturally, I'm worried about that.


  1. Are you by any chance an ISFJ on the Meyers Briggs Trait Inventory? ...'just sayin ;D

  2. Tough couple of days... You need a good luck charm or something.

  3. run five miles? damn. And second, if there was no tomorrow, I'd spend today eating whatever I want.

  4. @Emily Hill -- if ISFJ means "a somewhat loony and paranoid hand-wringer," then yes, I am totally ISFJ.

    @Austin -- at least we got the dog back. and watching a real police chase is awesome.

    @Michael -- I said I "planned" to run five miles. Makes me sound far more impressive than I actually am. (Actually, I did the P90X workout program last summer and it made me able to run much farther and faster than I ever had in my life).

  5. Since you mentioned the movie, Groundhog Day, which is one of my favorites, by the way, I have to mention the "moral of the story" - continue on the same path and don't be suprized when you step in the same potholes but also change your thoughts, actions, etc. and the world around you changes. Maybe the Universe is trying to tell you something. Anyway, I'm glad you are seeing the connectedness from one event to another!

  6. Dude, there's a SECOND movie, made and shown on TV the same year, with almost the same premise. It's called "12:01" starring Jonathan Silverman and Martin Landau (from the original TV "Mission Impossible"). Silvermann plays a likeable shlub who witnesses the murder of a girl he likes and later gets an electrical shock and starts living the same day over and over again. Honest to God! I've got it on a video CD I ordered from Malaysia! (I must admit that "Groundhog Day" is much more charming a film.)