I WORKED the last couple days on a post about my new home away from home, the Monon Trail, a rail trail through Marion and Hamilton counties I had avoided like that plague it will certainly speed the spread of someday. But it just turns out to be something that's much more interesting if you're me.
Actually there's nothing wrong with the Monon a good influenza pandemic wouldn't fix. It became enormously popular about the time the asphalt cured, which was enough to keep me away until Security threw me off my regular course, the all-but-unused overflow parking lot of a nearby mall-like swelling. I shopped around and couldn't find a decent replacement, so now I'm riding on the taxpayer dime, alongside a Hoosier-y collection of serious athletes, mediocre athletes with chips on their shoulders, escapees from the Memory section of any of three local nursing homes, more mothers with dual strollers than you imagine could be drummed up for movie extra work, mentorless children, and any number of people whose age belies their inability to obey simple traffic ordinances.
It's got a couple things going for it. It's about twelve miles from me to the north end of the line, so I'm putting in about twenty-five miles a day, since I can't quit in the middle. And it gives me the opportunity to hate smug, self-centered, libertarian Hamilton county up close and individually.
And--I'm serious about this--it's sharpening my animal instincts, because any given thirty-yard segment may include two stroller operators who meet going opposite directions and decide to stop and chat; unsupervised three-year-olds on scooters and possibly amphetamines; or, most ubiquitous, bicycles from the opposite direction who feel you're unfairly hogging their passing lane. Which actually feels good, after a bit, because I'm convinced that if there's a crash the person who wasn't paying attention is going to get the worst of it, because that's the real reason I am paying attention.
What's lost, though, is the mediative quality of running unhampered laps. I took off early this morning, having just scanned the news, and choked this down with toast and coffee: Charles Hurt, "Sarah of Alaska fits Joan of Arc role as 2012 possibility" which, first of all, suggests that the Washington Times has hired Pastor Grant Swank to write headlines, and, second, the brave explorer will need to read damn near half-way before deciding the thing isn't a leg-pull, even though it's in the Moonie Times.
How did Sarah Palin come to be the #2 story on last night's NBC news? What, Brian Williams couldn't say, No, I'm not reading that? There's no cut-off switch anywhere? Does this not perturb anyone? These are the same people who a decade ago were insisting we all bedeck trees and spout patriotic slogans, lest Freedom Herself find a fiery grave, and now they don't give a shit that the thread the Republic dangles from is a brainless shopaholic who preempts real news whenever she pleases. For chrissakes, it might as well be Zsa Zsa Gabor.
I understand all too well why the Republican party is stuck with her. But why the rest of us? Aren't her disapproval numbers clear enough for you, Brian? (He actually ended the story, or "story", last night with some tiny deprecation designed to be too literate for her followers to follow, which, of course, just makes it that much worse.)
'Course on the other hand, it has drowned out most of the "Chris Christie, Straight-Talkin' Republican Savior" shit.