6:57 AM – Admittedly addicted to Lana Del Ray after that number in The Great Gatsby. Perhaps Paradise is not the best propeller of productivity on a Monday morning, but I’ll find out soon.
“My parents are very religious, so I’ve been leaving them messages on their answering machine from the Baby Jesus.” – Maria Bamford : Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome
I find a glorious slice of irony served in the fact that my last post, before a week’s sabbatical, was titled “The Hoax of Manliness” and in it I explored various ways I buck against modern notions of masculine chest-puffedness. I find this gloriously ironic because this morning my wife’s badassedness revealed my own couch-enthroned gut-puffedness. All this before 6 on the clock, before coffee, before I finally shielded my wife against waking evils with the horse-powered muscles of a Nissan X-Terra chassis and the snorted puffs of a pug’s nose.
Perhaps God infused every man (and mother-bearish woman) with the need to protect their own. According to John Eldridge and every film starring Liam Neeson (other than Kinsey), men are hard-wired to go the distance for their wives and their off-spring. I have a wife. I have no off-spring. And considering that I do not run, the distance I am hard-wired to go to defend my own is about two blocks. My half-marathon devouring wife runs 4-5 miles for a work-out, sometimes as prep to a work-out, while I consider walking the dog twice daily and scampering to the building next to my office for bathroom breaks – taking the stairs along the way, mind you! – sufficiently heart-healthy. This woman is set to outlive me by a full decade and four Papa John’s BOGO specials.
This morning my wife missed her 5:30 gym workout due to an ill-set alarm. Flustered, my wife announced she would go for a run. I looked out the window. Pitch black. Squirrels were not even acorning yet. Our pug snored on. And I remembered a harrowing experience we endured this past winter when my wife frantically called from a well-lit gas station in the dark of the morning. She’d been trailed by a creeper in a Lincoln town car. Killing the headlights, he coasted quietly by her side until another car crested the hill. LT b-lined through front and backyards to the corner Shell, glowing – as Maria Bamford would describe – like the logo of an international conglomerate in a third world shanty-town, beaming like the heart of a protective God. She called me. I drove to her aide, hitting the wrong Shell station before finding her huddled and shivering in the dawn’s winter chill at the other Shell station. It’s a damned world when a perfectly sweet Black girl cannot run alone in a predominantly White neighborhood before the sun rises.
So this morning I protested. She could not leave the house. Darkness prevailed in the streets and in my trust of Texas. LT was not pleased. Overly submissive, she grabbed her Bible and returned to the warmth of our well-lit queen sized bed.
I knew I had failed my wife. John Eldridge would be wilder at heart. Liam Neesom would chew the evil of smalltown Texas like a Copenhagen dip, spitting his brown liquid chaw-cud in the devil’s silly eyes. But me? I started making coffee and sat down to the Washington Post, elderly before my years, crippled by slothfulness and caffeine dependence. But then a resolution dawned on me.
LT had not made it halfway through this morning’s run before I finally decided to get myself fitted for running shoes. I allowed her to reach just out of sight before slipping into drive, rounding the bend until she entered my rearview mirror again. I’m not sure this is what John Eldridge had in mind when he called men to a William Wallace stance against social ills. Still, LT got in her run, and I – cradling my pug and listening to the Nerdist interview with Maria Bamford on our Nissan factory system – wrestled on the hillside of my stubbornness with angels of maturation and cardiovascular reasoning. And I realized right there, watching for my wife to run towards me, that – sweet baby Jesus! – all manner of Maria Bamford fits into my iPod, into my earbuds, into a solid pace beside my bride as we reach that far corner, slap the traffic light, and turn back home. LT may have finally duped me into her running activities by the drowning whimpers of my own inactivity. And my queasy lungs ache just thinking about it.