Friday, July 27, 2007

Moving A

One of my running buddies, A, moved out of town last weekend. She and I didn't get our planned last long run in. Sigh. (Saying goodbye to A after her last day at work two weeks ago.)

You'll remember, our supposed 16-mile run two Sundays ago turned into a 14-mile slog for me right up to the doorstep of heat exhaustion in the sweltering July heat. Fortunately I didn't step through that dangerous doorway thanks to A paying close attention to our surroundings and recognizing certain danger signals that were present with me. That's what running buddies do; the run itself isn't the supreme thing, safety is. We were going to do it right last Sunday, run sixteen miles on the same trail with an earlier start before she left town for good later that day.

I went over to her basement apartment on Capitol Hill on Saturday to help her with moving. Everything A was bringing to the bustling urban center in the south she was moving to had to fit into her car. Everything else was being discarded, either in a yard sale, on Craig's List, to charity, to friends or to the curb. Talk about a fresh start!

I helped A assemble a metal two-foot wide bumper skirt that attached to the trailer hitch on the back of her car so she could strap extra items such as her cherished rocking chair onto this platform. Since her tool box was a mish-mash of English and metric allen wrenches, we never could get the unit satisfactorily tightened because no wrench fit snugly as we turned the nuts onto the threads of the bolts. I felt like I was back in 1970, working on my 185 CC Yamaha Enduro in the courtyard of my coed freshman dorm in Boulder. Those were the days! Hey, we had a war we were all protesting back then too, along with a President who also wouldn't listen. But he actually had a more commanding presence than this current one W, which I take it stands for worst ever. Mission accomplished, anyone? Where's Dick?

A wasn't doing so well, having had her going away night-on-the-town party the previous evening, so we broke for lunch, dropping off gobs of clothing at a charitable outlet enroute. What a lodestone of nice apparel for all those rail-slender six-foot-three women who shop regularly at Martha's Table. Over lunch, we abandoned the notion of running our 16 miles the following morning. There was a lot A still had to do to be able to get out of town the next day. Running is life, but sometimes life intrudes. Sigh. (With H and A immediately after the NYCM. A paced me the last ten miles and enabled me to PR by 75 seconds when I was flagging. The mostly silent crowds in the Bronx broke into cheers when she came by. I wonder why?)

Revived by food, we returned to work. We used my pickup to drop off a dresser at someone's house just past Lincoln Park. We drove a teak and marble sideboard dry bar unit over to Dupont Circle and hauled that heavy sucker up to the third floor of a tall Brownstone. The recipient looked on worriedly every time A or I groaned as the two of us strained at each hellish turn in the narrow stair hallway. Let me tell you something, A is strong! She can be my moving buddy anytime.

We picked up A's friend Helika on the return trip, who was going to help with the packing. This was where I bowed out for the evening, to let the women do the fine work now that the brute work was done. Helika was a true friend because when I returned the next day, A's place had been transformed. Entropy had been curtailed as nearly everything was in a box or plastic bag. That had been a huge job.

Sunday was a whirlwind of packing the car like a suitcase. The back of the interior and the trunk were already done. A is so well liked in her neighborhood that on both days, an eclectic assortment of neighbors and acquaintances came by to help her with various tasks like breaking apart her bed unit and hauling the components away or loading the bumper skirt. By 4 pm the car was packed to the bursting point, with the load on the bumper skirt causing that platform sag to within four inches of the ground. There was space enough for A in the driver's seat, and barely space for Jake her dog in the passenger seat. That was a dog wild with neurosis for two days, following A around incessantly as things vanished from the apartment piece by piece. (Game faces on. My teammates and workmates G and A before the 2007 Capitol Hill Classic 3K. G won the 3K race twenty minutes after running the 10K version. A took off like a rocket hard on his heels and finished second, fifth overall. A did the double last year when she came in fourth in the 3K, a few seconds behind Bex who claimed the bronze in 2006.)

After a final goodbye, A drove away. Bye, A, I'll miss you. See you at Chicago.

(A made it safely to her destination. Go help her out at Chicago by making a donation to the charitable cause she's running for.)


jeanne said...

that's a lotta work you did! what a good friend. almost makes me want to move to see where I stand on the friend-o-meter.

you're a good guy. but she's going to a better place. and WE know people where she's going, RBF people, so you know there's always a place for you to visit and a whole other bunch of running peeps to meet there.

peter said...

Are you moving to Virginia, Jeanne? I'll be there with my pickup. (I'm already there with my pickup.)

Moving to the heart of the old Confederacy is a better place? I thought you were from Connecticut. (I was born in Connecticut.)

Just12Finish said...

One door closes, another door opens. You're a good man Peter.

Bex said...

You're a good friend. And I miss A., too. I'm sorry I missed her yard sale! Best of luck, A. You're going to tear up Nashville!

jeanne said...

actually, no way do i think she's moving to a better place. i was just trying to make you feel better!

Long live the union!

Anonymous said...

You are an incredible friend. Those were two or three of the toughest days, and dang, you got me through them. Seriously, no way the move would have happened by Sunday without you. And let me add my two cents: I think you were more determined to get me to Nashville because my folks were waiting for me on the other end...something a father can appreciate! Thanks P. And we'll get the 16 in next time.