The movie gift that just keeps giving – is the showdown between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. That moment on the witness stand when Jack defiantly declares his magnificence. Gets up to leave. And Tom says – sit back down. And Jack has to. Because he’s in court.
Mr. T, as you may recall , gave a rather similar performance in deposition last month. And then some. Because no judge was present.
I returned to my office. Waited awhile for the transcript. And during one of my afternoon runs with Nala, came up with a plan.
Mr. T is from Oregon though licensed in Washington. I decide to bring a motion to compel that is not your typical motion. Many areas of the law are quite form based. Not so with tort law. Too many variables. It’s fun that we can be creative and not complete paperwork by rote.
The motion asks the Court to put the burden on the defendant insurance company to produce Mr. T for another deposition at their expense and to require the production of his time records and any other missing file records before the lawsuit was brought. This type of motion requires that I show Mr. T’s conduct to have been evasive in the deposition. Here are three short examples :
- Q Why haven’t you done anything to prepare for today?
- LEID: Object to the form. Go ahead.
- A Because I’m a fact witness, and I don’t prepare for depositions when I’m a fact witness. You haven’t asked me to prepare for anything, and I’m not under an obligation to prepare anything.
- Q Okay. So you are just going by your memory?
- A No.
- LEID: Object to the form. Go ahead.
- A So if you ask me a question, I’ll do my best to answer it, if I recall it. If you show me a document, I’ll answer to the best of my ability about what the document is and my involvement in it.
- Q Do you intentionally not prepare when you’re called as a fact witness?
- A I don’t understand your question. I don’t know what you mean by that.
- Q Is there any mention of Mr. V and November 29 in there?
- A Okay, I just read the paragraph. The document speaks for itself. This paragraph is about Mr. R’s effort to secure a recorded statement.
- Q Why didn’t you include Mr. V’s —
- A You’re asking me to remember — You’re asking me to speculate as to why that wasn’t put in there in August of 2011. Is that your question? I have no idea.
- Q All right. And then on December 5, you wrote that Mr. S — You can read it if you want. Why don’t you read it.
- A Here’s what I would generally say: This is an exhibit; it speaks for itself. I don’t have a recollection of this. I’ve never found it effective to ask someone to discuss a document that’s an exhibit, that they’ve said is an accurate exhibit. I think it’s an incredible waste of time. And I don’t really want to sit here for three hours and have you go over documents like this, because you’re wasting time. I’m not going to elaborate on this because I cannot elaborate on it. It was four years ago. The document was produced by my office, okay.
- Q What I find to be an incredible waste of time is for me to come down here and hear that you didn’t even look at your file to prepare for your deposition. And then when I show you a document, you don’t even answer the questions because you find that to be a waste of time. So I think we’re at an impasse as to who is wasting whose time.
- LEID: Objection. Is that a question, Counsel?
- (BY MS. KOEHLER:) Did you not get your own file documents from your own counsel?
- A Go ahead and ask your next question.
- Q Were you given your file documents before today?
- LEID: Object to the form.
- A Go ahead and ask another question.
- Q That is my question.
- A I’m not going to answer that question.
- Q On what basis?
- A I’m just not going to answer it. You’re welcome to call the judge and have her require me to answer it, if you’d like.
And so, that’s exactly what I did by motion. And what the Judge Ordered.
The motion is attached here.CompelTMtn
The order is attached here. CompelTOrdr
Photo: Nala and the reason running helps with thinking things through.
Wake up at 6:45. Laze around. Tonight is Hollyball. Wonder what else is on schedule. Open calendar. “9:00 a.m. hold for Court of Appeals Argument.” Whaaaaaaaaaaa
Text John 7:27 – is there an argument today.
Texts back 7:29. Yes at 9:30 at first & union.
Try not to have a holy cow fit. The word “hold” on a calendar is used when we are not certain of a date so hold it until confirmed. The world hold threw me for a head fake.
Text John 7:34. Send me the files.
He does. I read them. Garth wrote them. I know the issues very well and there’s not much case law. Still… brain must go into warp speed. And does.
7:55 – 8:20 – get ready, feed nala, take her potty, grab some fruit, head out, mentally bounce through issues, calm down.
9:00 – park, look at breakfast options in “fresh” deli part of lobby. Reject pre-packaged muffin idea. Go to convenience store which has lemon luna bar. Wolf it down.
9:15 – ride up escalator to appeals court. Look up case. We’re number one on docket. Go thru security, let them dig through purse, high heeled booties set off buzzer. Get the once over treatment from the guard.
9:30 – say hi to Rory the defense lawyer. COA commissioner enters. We rise and begin.
10:00 – we finish. Have not broken a sweat. Enjoyed the adrenaline. The positive endorphin rush from fighting for clients.
10:30 – back at office. What else is on calendar. Take a peek. Oh great. Another set of meetings double booked. Sign this. Sign that. Draft that. On the phone with 3 computer screens going. Another typical day.
2:30 – leave. Proud of self. Goal was to leave by no later than 3. Push self out of door with a little help from Nala.
2:35 – get home. Take Nala potty. Walk up to front door. Leaves are everywhere from dratted street level neighbor’s maple. She hasn’t raked them pretty much all year. Which means I have to. Can’t help it. Get blower out and blow them back onto her part of the sidewalk. This means they’ll be back on mine later tonight. Still feel temporarily satisfied.
3:00 – throw on work out gear. Do a few more emails.
3:15 – head out door with Nala and run around wind blown neighborhood.
4:30 – back home. Holy heck. Am done two hours before hollyball begins. This is a record.
4:35 – feed nala, move laundry from washer into dryer and start a new load. Turn on Pandora funk 70s-80s channel. Loud.
4:45 – shower.
4:50 – look at clock. Still feels too early. How long can it take to get ready. Dink around.
5:15 – use hair dryer. This device is used perhaps once a month for about a minute just to get things going. Today actually dry most of hair with it. Let’s discuss hair. First of all, there are going to be people at the hollyball who have spent the afternoon at the salon. My hair on the other hand, has a bit more…natural…character. As you may recall, it caught on fire last month. And I used scissors to chopped off roughly 1 to 3 or 4 inches depending upon which side was less burned than the other. In addition, Joy, the only person who has ever colored my hair, moved at least temporarily to be with her sister back east several months ago. This means hair has some silver bits and pieces floating around. Which I suppose adds to the whole holiday sparkle theme.
5:25 – hair is dry.
5:25 – 5:35 – put on some eye makeup.
5:35 – do not have a personal shopper or dresser. Am just a wee bit not a Kardashian. Have an outfit in mind. Hopefully it will work out. This does not involve a designer label like YSL, Gucci or Prada. First, comes the velvet leggings by BCBG. Have had these for three years and wear them rarely. So they’re in good shape. A few months ago bought BCBG tux jacket at super sale. 90% off or something like that. Cost almost as much to dry clean as it did to buy it. To tie everything together, last week went shopping with Cristina for a sparkly top. Tried Nordstrom and other decent stores. But there was nothing quite right. Had aha moment – forget the grown up stores. Let’s go to the teen stores. Forever 21 to be exact. Cristina found sparkly shirt. $12.99. So today, put it on. Its a little big. Quite low in the front. Consider tying straps up more. Looks bunchy so don’t. Put on tux jacket. Sleeves too long. Tailoring would have dwarfed the purchase price. Roll up sleeps in an 80s way. Inspired by the pounding funk. Zip up velvet tassle booties. Vintage prada satin party bag have had for about 20 years.
6:00 – 6:30 – voila. Am done. Take picture. Post on FB. Steven comes to get me. Arrive at four seasons. And hollyball the night away.
Photo: selfie with Nala
Get up before alarm rings at 6. This means it is really 4. Flop back on bed. Alarm rings at 6:15.
Search around for hotel phone on night table. Don’t find it. Sigh. It is on the other side of the bed. Scramble across. Hit “O”. Ask for front desk. It is front desk. Can I get a late check out. Yes.
Thank heavens. Don’t have to run now. Would have been sleep-running.
Reset alarm for 8:30. Which is 6:30.
Repeat process. Get up. Dressed. Down to the 2nd floor. Check in. Listen to presentation. Am at the Iowa Association for Justice annual convention in Des Moines. There’s a break. Exchange greetings with a few familiar faces. Meet with tech guy. Give him thumb drive. Get miked up. Break ends. Do presentation. The ballroom is short but wide. Feels as long as a football field. Pace from one side to the other.
There are too many slides. Too many points to make. Used a presentation that generally takes two hours. Am cramming it all into one. Feel like am vomiting way too much information. When will I learn. Next time will chop out half the slides. Or more.
Stride out of there.
Back up to room. Throw on running gear. Exit rear door of hotel. Onto Locust street. As in the bug. Wind hits with a solid whoosh. Ponytail flies straight back. Horizontally in sync with the road.
Run through deserted looking city. All the buildings are linked together by sky walks. Look up and can see people walking from one building into the other. Like in a sci fi movie where if you breathe the outside air, your eyes pop out, your skin withers up and you die. So you stay inside in tubes.
Past cool sculptures of unused park. Turn left on 15th. Over a bridge. Reach Gray’s Lake. Looks like it’s man made. According to the van driver is naturally fed by the river. But can see a concrete feeder tube. Run around it twice.
Wind doesn’t die down. Sometimes catch it just right. Then it sweeps me along. A bit like Mary Poppins.
Back through deserted city streets. Into hotel. Up to room. Do business. Rush out. Catch van back to airport.
Photo: Gray’s lake run
Am wound up tight. Aggressive tendencies barely restrained. Okay, maybe not restrained at all. In full warrior mode.
The defense lawyers haven’t been too bad lately. Wish they were bad. Then could have an outlet for this simmering fury.
Sometimes there are organizational politics involved in being a trial lawyer. We need to band together to deal with the insurance industry and big corporations. Even when we are on the same side, people get their feelings hurt. Or want their way. Or are unhappy that you are going your way instead of theirs. Or want you to be quiet. Or want you to stop fighting for what you think is right – because others don’t agree. Or are scared that dissension will lead to collapse.
Today is a day filled with these politics. Would much rather be doing client work. Would much rather be doing just about anything else.
It is pouring outside. The wind is knocking all the giant maple leaves off their stems. Blowing them down the road. Until they give up – waterlogged. Unable to float anymore.
Go home. Put on gear. Rain coat over gear. Rain vest on Nala. Leash. And we are out the door.
The rain has lessened but is constant. Shoes squish. By the time we reach the top of the hill, rain coat is completely soaked. Am warm. Toss off hood. Roll up sleeves. Cold rain hits skin.
A squirrel runs across our path. Nala zooms after it. I am braced for impact. Saw the squirrel at the same time she did. Nala’s leash is tied around her torso. Attached at her chest. Not neck. So she bounces back to me. We keep going. She keeps looking. Anticipating the next squirrel sighting.
Up we run. Past Betty Bowen Park and Kerry Park. Wind through the residential roads. Two stooped Asian women are at their usual haunting place on the East side of the top of the hill. With bumpy bags and grabbers. Scouring the ground for fallen chestnuts.
Squish. Squish. Squish. Back we run through the parks. Down the hill. To home. Wash down Nala. Dry her off. And smile.
Photo: Nala still wet after her run.
Out the revolving door of the Sheraton onto Canal Street. Run across two lanes of traffic, the street car in the middle, two more lanes of traffic and reach the other side. It’s late in the afternoon. A nice assortment of unfortunate ragged souls line up against neon lit buildings.
A woman’s high pitched yelling penetrates my headphones. Have gone just over a block. She is ahead of me to the left. Crying. Her male companion and another man are fighting. As in fists flying boxer style. The other guy is a big brute and a much better boxer. I keep running towards them. Cristina would not be happy with me. But it is a wide sidewalk.
The little guy goes down. Woman yells. Little guy gets up. Big guy says you want more. Woman yells stooooop. Little guy wants more. Excited bystanders come bounding over to get a better look. I keep going. The next building down is the custom’s office. A guard is on the steps watching them slug it out. As I approach, she decides it’s over and looks the other way.
And this is the good part of town.
Am heading for the riverfront. Have to pass several intersections to get there. This normally wouldn’t be too much of a problem. But there’s something missing – the bulbs in the pedestrian lights. Try to figure out if can go or not based upon the traffic lights. This is a bit of a guessing game.
Get to waterfront. There are fences and tarps everywhere. They are fixing it up. A cruise ship is docked at one end. Am going the other way. The water is not that lovely to look at. Brown water rarely is. But there are no cars. Pass a group of happy hippie kids with rings in their noses who are lounging on the water’s edge getting high. Reach the end of park, by the flea market in the french quarter. Travel past the tourist section. Into the residential district. Very few cars here. Like it better than the Garden District which ran yesterday. That district is nicer, but too busy. And the sidewalks are even worse than here.
Actually there is no such thing as an actual sidewalk. Bits of brick, slate, mud, or concrete chunks pave the bumpy, pock filled, hazardous way. Sometimes with tree roots growing up out through and around them. Looking like giant petrified tentacles.
A woman passes by on a brown bicycle with big white wall tires. Workers are excavating a building. A man is walking his two dogs. The aged bassett hound turns and lift his head up towards me. His sad left eye is opaque from a cataract.
The houses are generally ramshackle. Some have given up completely and fallen into total disrepair. Some have been revived quite nicely. Others are painted brightly in garish colors. Like tangerine orange, with blue and green trim. Gates are rusted. Or covered with paint that still shows the rust. There are no straight lines. Everything is crooked or bowed. Mardi Gras beads slung over banisters. A super-sized mask pinned to a screened door.
My eyes are focused downards almost always. Watching out for holes and puddles and other booby traps within the broken bits of sidewalk. Then of course, it darts out from under the car scurring across the sidewalk. Disappearing under a garbage can. One big fat rat. Gross.
Neighborhood taverns dot street corners. Rumpled patrons hanging over the bars. Round the next bend, and there’s a coffee shop. A preppie dude is sitting on the ground in front of it. Earbuds in. Talking on his cell phone. Typing on his apple computer. Look inside the windows – more of the same.
Weave in and out of all these little streets. Back onto river trail. Cross the non-pedestrian lighted intersections. Through the revolving doors. To the elevator.
Guy from AAJ convention is chatting with me on the way up. Says he is going to go for a run too. But in the gym.
Photo: From yesterday in the Garden District.
There is nowhere more beautiful than Seattle in the summertime. Decide for once, to remain here and relax rather than go somewhere else for vacation. Have many friends who do this. Watch all their good times on facebook. They explore the city. Stay home and garden. Have friends over. Hang out on the patio.
This is what happens when a trial lawyer decides to take a stay-cation.
First off, this is not unplanned. Months ago, Anne and John marked off calendar. Anne actually nagged me about it: Karen you need to take some time off. Knew she was right because couldn’t remember what day of the week it was anymore. A symptom of working weekends.
Monday morning dawns bright, lovely and 68 degrees by 7:30 a.m. This is when the alarm goes off.
Lie in bed until 7:45. Jump up, brush teeth, splash water on face to make sure won’t sound like have just woken up.
8:00 call 1-800 number and listen to bad classical music on speaker phone. Am waiting for others to join in. Shrill music continues for 6 minutes. Email. What’s going on. The moderator hasn’t arrived yet. Finally arrives. We are discussing nominations for the WSBA executive litigation committtee. This takes 30 minutes. Finish up at 8:40.
Alysha has taken Nala for a run. But I need also to run. Weather.com says it is another degree warmer. Eat a handful of granola and chocolate chips. Because breakfast isn’t complete without chocolate. Throw on run gear. Alysha comes back. Nala is panting. They ran to the sculpture park and back. Alysha runs fast. So feed Nala and head out the door solo.
Down the hill. Over the pedestrian bridge. Along Myrtle Edwards. Through the railroad yard. Back up then traversing the hill back to the house. It is 10:15. Get ready. Noelle needs to borrow the car.
She drives me to the office. Arrive at 10:49. Call down to Thelma – Pat will be coming to see me at 11. He’s already there. He comes up. We are preparing for mediation. Do that. John drives us back downtown. We grab lunch at Il Forniao. Walk across the street to WAMS for mediation. Pat goes gets files out of his car which he had left in the garage before cabbing it over to my office. I sit on a bench in the sun for 10 minutes.
Go inside. Walk to elevator and remember, this is the funky one. Go back to foyer and hit key pad for 9th floor. It tells me to go to elevator N. Which zips me to the 9th floor and WAMs.
Where we stay until 5:40 p.m. Doing top secret stuff which I can’t tell you about except to say. It is a total waste of court ordered time.
Call Noelle to pick me up. Now she is going for a run. Walk outside. Take off black peep toe heels. Put on purple flip flops. Flop down 6th Avenue turn on Pine and make way over to Westlake. Bask in the sunlight. Walk up stairs at Westlake. Pay $2.25 for a one-way ticket on the monorail. It is there waiting for me…nah. It leaves just as I get there. Wait for it to come back. Ride for 3 minutes to the Seattle Center. Call Noelle. She’s down by the Ferris Wheel. Tells me to call Alysha for pickup. Alysha is at yoga. So decide to walk home. This takes a while. Because am wearing flip flops.
Get home. No Alysha. No Noelle. And Noelle has my house key. What to do. Decide to deadhead some flowers. Pick up the debris bucket when neighbor Sherri walks by. Yay. She saves me. She has the extra key.
Open door. Nala is wagging her whole body in greeting. It is now 6:20. Take her to do her business. Change outfit. Text Noelle that I made it inside. She returns around 45 minutes later. Gets cleaned up. We go to Blue Water Taco Grill at 8:00 for dinner. Eat. Go to drug store for shampoo. Go to movie to see The Heat. Laugh.
Get home. Settle in. Open email at 1. Note from Anne. Client issue. Need to figure out how to deal with it tomorrow. Which means, I’m going to have to do it. After the firm meeting.
Yes, that’s right. Tomorrow day 2 of stay-cation. Means that I will be attending the firm meeting that starts at 9:30. Then helping client in the afternoon.
This is why in order to have an actual vacation, a trial lawyer must leave town.
Photo: At WAMS, trying to absorb sunlight through the windows.
Am confined to hotel room. Prepping for trial tomorrow. Sniffling. At about 10:30 pm decide to go clear away the fog. The gym is open 24/7. Change into gear. Give one good last blow and head downstairs. Turn on the lights. Utter peace.
This is my time to let my mind roam wherever it wants. Michael Jackson on the ipod. The Olympics on TV. Am watching the high jumpers. About a mile into the run, the door opens. A minx with shaggy (wet) blonde hair tosses her room key onto the treadmill next to me. I sigh at the noise she makes and try to ignore her.
Peg her at ten. In an orange romper. Bare feet. She turns the machine on and begins to jog. Slap slap slap go her feet. I estimate she’ll get bored after three minutes. She makes it to a little over one. Then she goes off to the cycle. And I turn back to the business of breathing in the case.
Thump. She bounces back on the treadmill. Begins pushing buttons. Where the heck are her parents.
It works better if you wear sneakers, I say.
How long have you been here.
How fast are you going.
What are you listening to.
What channel is that.
Michael Jackson is trying to drown her out but fails. It’s my fault for paying attention to her. I answer the questions.
If I go get my shoes will you work out with me, she says.
Hmm, I think. She’ll go back up to her room and her parents will tell her it’s time to get ready for bed.
Sure, I say. I’ll work out with you but first you need to get your shoes.
She’s back in five.
For the next twenty minutes she walks, runs for portions of a minute, steps off, gets back on, and pushes buttons up and down. Gets water, grabs a towel. Watches the Olympics. Asks about the Olympics. Wants to know where the headphones are. Tries to read her heart rate. At one point, she gets off her machine, comes to my right side and is actually standing on the stationary edge of my treadmill. As I’m running. She lifts my ipad up off the console so that she can read my statistics.
The women’s uneven bars are now being featured on t.v. How do they do That. I remember being forced to get on those bars in junior high P.E. Basically could do a circle with my tummy touching the low bar. Hands grasping the bar so tightly that blisters form. Realize the room is silent. The little golden sprite is gone.
The run winds down. Walk up the stairs.
Even though the nose has started dribbling again. Despite more work to be done. The little girl has covered me in fairy dust. And I am smiling.
We are running my favorite route. The sun is shining. Oh it is so fun to do this. Love to do this. Ooh I see you bird. Wish could jump out of this harness thing She has strapped around me. It fastens in front. She thinks it will stop me from pulling her. Don’t know why She thinks that. But it does feel better than being pulled by the neck. Am not complaining. Love being outside. Even though She runs way too slow. But am not complaining.
We get to Myrtle Edwards park. Ooh I see you bird. This is where the trouble starts. Ooh that little boy wants to pet me. She doesn’t stop. Nice try little boy.
She has treats in her little pocket in the back of her top. I know the drill. It’s really just a bribe. I’m not dumb. If I’m good I get a treat. If She gets mad, I don’t. Usually this involves other dogs. Can’t help it. If they ignore me and are far enough away and if I don’t feel like instigating anything – then She gives me a treat. But if they make eye contact with me. Or make one slight move towards me. Then forget about it. I’m going after them. This means no treat. Which is a bit of a bummer. But not enough to make me change my mind. Ooh a seagull.
Today she is pretty upset with me. There are too many cheeky dogs who need to be reminded that I am number one. And then of course, there is the sparrow who is almost close enough for me to grab. Except that I have to cross right in front of Her. And She almost trips. Oops.
According to Her I have something called ADD. Ooh a crow. Nasty fellow. Not sure what ADD is, but as soon as She’s done scolding me – and I repent – well, something else comes along and it is a brand new day. Like that black bumble bee that is flying right in front of my face. Am going to lunge for it with my snapping teeth. Darn. Almost had it. Would have if She didn’t run so slow. Wonder what it would have tasted like. Probably yummy like everything else that I eat. Which is almost everything. Which reminds me.
I want a drink. It is coming up. Ooh another seagull. There is a faucet in the park. It pours into a bowl. I’m not too interested in the bowl. Doggie germs and all that. Instead, I like to drink the water as it comes out of the faucet. I’m really thirsty. Ooh a wierd leaf. About to take a drink. When out of the corner of my eye I sense something. One of those labradoodles or cockerpoodles. Not sure what the name is. Is blond, big, curly and not on a leash. No fair. He’s coming toward me. I’m going to lose it. This is going to be so great. Getting ready to lunge. Oh rats. She’s caught on and is pulling me away. No water for me. No jumping on the Poopydoodle. No treat either apparently.
We go past the geese. Papa goose hisses at me. Ooh. Would like to teach him a lesson. Want to go tussle with him. But She is passing them by. She glares at me. I was a little excited. When i get excited I go faster and faster and faster. Which doesn’t make her go faster. Instead, the leash pulls tighter and tighter around her tummy. Not my fault. I was born with a bird fixation.
We are past the train tracks. I stop to mark my territory. She isn’t impressed. The glare is back on. She thinks because I’m a girl, I don’t need to do this. But I am Alpha. And She needs to accept that.
Now we are at the part where we go up the hill. I don’t have to drag her today. She’s doing good. Ooh a little bitty sparrow. If I can just get close enough…nope. Blast. We make it to the top of the hill. Are at the home stretch. Oh no is that a squirrell. Yes it is yes it is yes it…sigh. She’s dragging me off again.
A few more dogs to deal with. Another patch of grass that deserves my blessing. And we are approaching my sworn enemy. The next door neighbor. A punye white and black short haired terrier. Thinks hes owns the block. Approach his gate and he goes bonkers. Barking and carrying on. As If he could do something about it. If this gate weren’t here, I would go in there and remind him who the boss really is. What a pest.
We reach our gate. She opens it. We are in the house. I make a beeline for my dinner and a drink
Photo: Nala on the deck wearing Cristina’s glasses. Before the run.
On the treadmill. Ipod filling my head with music. Reading the kindle. Overhead a basketball game is on TV. The water from Puget Sound alternates between looking stormy and shimmery as the weather tries to make up its mind.
Am in Zen like happy zoned out place. Have been going for about half an hour. On this chilly Sunday afternoon.
A man gets on the treadmill to the right. That’s fine. The gym is large and the equipment is nicely spaced apart.
Am blissfully travelling nowhere (which is the point), when the man yells out: Come on! Interrupting my flow. Jeez, that basketball game must be a good one.
Come on! He shouts again. Wow. Obviously his team is losing. COME. ON! I look away from the kindle up at the screen. It’s a Unisom commercial. As in the sleep aid.
This is when I realize, am running next to a dreaded treadmill screamer.
At my former gym on the plateau, this came in the form of a man who sync’d his stride with a loud percussive whistling noise. I think through his teeth. He was so loud all of the rest of us would do whatever we could to try to be on the other side from wherever he was. To no avail. It pierced us.
This all goes through my mind as the man to the right yells. Suppose I can get off and move over. But was here first.
COME! ON!!! He yells.
I sneak a peak. He’s been going for about ten minutes. Hopefully he’s only running a quick mile or two. But it is not meant to be.
For the next twenty minutes, he huffs. He puffs. He groans and moans. And most seriously – he berates himself. Oblivious to the rest of us.
I’ve heard of motivational sports psychology. But This. This I haven’t heard of before.
He is his own personal trainer. Chanting COME ON. Come OOOON. COME on. Punctuated with all sorts of grunting noises. At one point (and I swear am not exaggerating) he is yelling Come On to each beat of his feet.
It is so awful that I start giggling. Which causes me to miss a stride and almost tumble off the machine.
Turn up the ipod, but it is no use.
This is where the mind decides to make a game out of it. Okay. He’s trying to outlast me. Trying to get me to give up first. This of course results in me running a mile longer than originally intended. There’s no way am giving up no matter how loud he yells. And it does get louder. A giant crescendo as he pushes himself to the limit.
Then finally, yay. I win. He has to get off the treadmill while I still carry on. Quietly.
Not that he notices.
Photo of my treadmill at Rain Fitness. Got off to take the picture for this story. Then got back on.
Run out the door, down the driveway turn left. Am going to say goodbye to the neighborhood that has been my family’s world for the past 21 years.
It is the first bona fide over 80 degree day of the year. 6:30 in the evening. Too hot for Nala. Cross the street, and head into the next subdivision. A man is power washing his driveway. A familiar car goes by – ex-husband and his wife. They turn at the next street. We live close by.
Down the road past the old elementary school. Would run through it, but it looks deserted and saw a scary movie yesterday so no thanks. Keep going, turn right up the hill.
Run through park with its baseball diamond and soccer field where Noelle used to have practice. Families play on the swings. Keep going.
This neighborhood is one of the older ones. The houses are smaller without Italian stucco or river rock exteriors. Get to the fantastic garden that is my favorite. She is out there tending to it as usual. Today in yellow shorts. Each time I pass she’s done something else. It is the FAO Schwarz of gardens. Every plant is alternated with something fantastical. Plant – pinwheel (and not just any old pinwheel – every kind of color and some are double pinwheeled). Plant –miniature flamingo (with bulbs for eyes). Plant – dragonfly (with bulbs for eyes). Concrete pieces with plastic trucks “working” and miniature orange cones. It is grandma’s kitchy garden on steroids, and she is no older than me. I tell her I love her garden as I run by and she smiles and waves her trowel at me.
Get to the big houses. The roads have names like “Magnolia Lane.” Weave up and off of sidewalks to avoid basketball hoops. Arrive at Elizabeth Blackwell Elementary. It opened in time for all three of my girls to go there. Run around the back. It is never empty. A child is wobbling on a bicycle. His father is running beside him with his hand resting on the child’s back – pushing him. Barely pushing. Pretending actually. I can remember doing that.
Turn around to head back. Run through the neighborhoods on the other side of the street. Am thinking – this is like being in a movie about suburbia. No one would believe me if I described this. It seems so idyllic in an Americana kind of way. Don’t pass any other runners. But see the old couple holding hands. The group of four friends laughing. The father and son with their tennis rackets.
Am almost home, a car pulls over. It is Cristina. Going to see her dad. Tell her am on my farewell run. She takes off. Think can this “movie” get any more nostalgic. Am a little startled by movement just to the left. It is the brown bunny who hops around and drives Nala nuts as she watches it through the window.
Cross the street, run up the driveway. Am almost to the front door when a humming bird arcs around the roses in the garden.
A Farewell Run Indeed.