Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Today, the Good

I started running partially because I thought it would be cheaper than joining a gym. Believe me, it is not cheaper than joining a gym, and my visa will vouch for that. Good running gear is expensive. Shitty running gear is a waste of money. I try to fall somewhere in the middle, and pick the bits that I really need (wind pants) and make do without stuff I'd just like (thermal hoodie).

Today at lunch I bought my feet some yak traks, and boy do I love them. Not so much the contraptions themselves, but oh, the bliss of being able to run by the river again. I gotta tell you, running through the city is only one or two very small notches above being on one of those machines at the gym, staring at the wall and trying not to watch the TV of the person beside you so you don't get motion sick. I'll do it, but grudgingly.

I got home, put on some rice for dinner, snapped on the yak traks and the wind pants and new mitts (no more reynaud's for me, those motherfuckers are warm) and set out.

Earlier this week, a boy named Eric met me for coffee. We know each other through myspace and this was our getting-to-know-you conversation. Turns out he's born and raised in Ottawa, a Westboro boy, back when Westboro was blue collar and there were no other kids to play with. I asked him how he liked the city, and he didn't. He had good arguments. It is tight. It is beige. It can be really hard to meet people here, or at least start meeting them.

That river though. Right around sunset, I headed east along the path that starts at Commissioner St. Came around a curve in the pathway and the red sun was reflecting off the art gallery, the parliament buildings and the spires of the Notre Dame Cathedral. The library of parliament building caught just a tinge of the gold spectrum in the foreground. It shook me.

To my right was the vertical stone face leading up to the Supreme Court, with huge stalactites of ice slowly pouring down. The river was was to my left: it had frozen, melted, frozen, broken into chunks and frozen again, looking like the wind had whipped up waves just as the temperature dropped. It moved, even though it was icy still. Hull, over there across the river, was a perfect City of the Damned counterpoint to all that beauty, with thick white smoke billowing from the middle of an industrial complex.

Eric needs to start running by the river in winter. I can't think of a better way to fall in love with Ottawa.


If today you get the good, what do you get tomorrow? Well you might ask. Tomorrow, you get the next installment of why I hate my current doctor more than the doctor who "missed a spot" when he used liquid nitrogen to burn an infection off my cervix and so had to do it all over again.


Anonymous said...


I always liked Ottawa. Of course, I didn't grow up there and I know how hometowns tend to seem boring. But believe me, there are a lot worse places to live. And I agree with you - It can be very pretty.

Martin said...

I agree with you. Running outside is way better than lining up at the gym to get one of the cardio machines. Ottawa is an adopted city for me. It is not very exciting but, for a runner, it provides for some rewards at sunset.