Verdun, somehow.

December 10, 2007

Since the canal paths don’t really get cleared in the winter, I’m back to running on the streets. I’ve spent the past week trying to figure out a workable route, with little success so far, mostly because it seems that regardless of my initial direction I keep ending up in Verdun. Things aren’t as griddy here in the sud-ouest. What I envision as a simple loop becomes a spiraling vortex, with Verdun at its centre. Don’t misunderstand – I have nothing against Verdun, it’s just not where I intend to be when I lace up my sneakers and leave the house.
When I’m not getting lost in Verdun, I’m running along the back ends of factories and warehouses, buildings with high fences and pacing guard dogs. It’s starkly compelling – save for the occasional lumbering truck the streets are grimly quiet and the sidewalks empty, while men alone with their cigarettes watch with indifference from hooded doorways. I like it. Though my knees miss the canal’s softer terrain, and while a map shoved into my pocket would no doubt be useful, I like stumbling onto these streets and knowing I’ve somehow made my way closer to home.

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“With sympathy”

December 7, 2007

Shit.  How do I even begin to fill the rest of that card?  What do I say to a close friend who has just lost her mother?  Is picking the only card that says “heartfelt sympathy” enough of a substitute for not having the money to be there in person? Are flowers?  I eschewed the cards with entire sentences of sentiment for the same reason that I can’t come up with my own – it all seems platitudinous. “Thinking of you…”  “In this difficult time…” “Memories of loved ones…” If you ever need a reminder of the uselessness of language, camp out in the sympathy aisle of your closest greeting card store and watch the emotionally stunned shoppers stare at their empty choices.