OH THE “HUMIDITY”

I was having a vision of a “Donnie” shaped “Hindenburg” bursting into flames while crashing to the ground or maybe I should be having the Mr. Carlson, Les Nessman moment, “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” No that doesn’t fit the story because I despise flying and I am somehow both burning up and drowning in my own…sweat. If I were a Southern lady I would be “glistening.” I’m not even a Southern gentleman, so I am just drowning in my own sweat and the biological process is not functioning as it should. Sweating is not keeping me cool because evaporation is not occurring. Instead it is as if I am running within a thick, heavy and wet wool blanket.

The Yogi Berra voice in my head repeats the quote, “It ain’t the heat it is the humidity.” After thirty-nine years of coaching spring sports, always interrupted with an early spring or late winter snow storm along with many days with wind chills near zero, I swore I would never gripe about summer heat again. I haven’t but I did leave myself an out with the humidity.

Running on roads and paths located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Escarpment can be challenging. I cannot run or walk and get away from hills unless I get in my car and drive somewhere flatter and sometimes I do. I should have done so this morning. Instead it was a half mile up, a half mile down, followed by a mile up, a mile “sorta” flat and then reverse the map…except before reversing the map I was dead or at least in the process of drowning in my own sweat. My feet were squishing inside of my shoes and we won’t discuss what is happening within my “breathable and perspiration wicking” underwear. I am reminded on a young football player who had moved in from one of the “I’’ states in the early nineties. We had discovered that withholding water did not make you stronger, it in fact could make you dead, and were moving to unlimited “rehydration” breaks. During a break I noticed the young man was not rehydrating and told him to drink. He said that he was okay that “It gets hot in the ‘I’ state too you know.” Yeah, but it ain’t the heat….” Fifteen minutes later we were fanning him and covering him with wet and cold towels after his eyes had rolled back in his head.

Several years ago I participated in the Morris Broadband Half Marathon on top of Caesar’s Head at DuPont State Forest or the “Half from Hell” as I like to refer to it. The race is up and down at an altitude I was not used to and to add to my discomfort, twenty degrees warmer than I had trained due to an early spring heat wave that included high humidity. At least the mosquitos and gnats had not come out yet. During the last mile, which was cruelly uphill to the finish, I gathered what little strength I had left to pass a young woman. As I neared her I realized she was in a conversation with herself and it wasn’t a nice conversation. She was using the words f@#$ and motherF@#$ in ways just not meant to go together. As I passed, I asked if she was okay. She responded with “I left f@#$ing Ohio two days ago to run in this Motherf@#$ing race. When I left, it was thirty-two F@#$king degrees. I drove a thousand f@#$ing miles to run in this f@#$ing s^&%.” “Well bless your heart.”

We both finished. I even finished second in my age group although there weren’t that many in my age group foolish enough to run it. An hour and a half later, on the winding road down to the flat lands, I passed out…while driving. Somehow I managed to get the jeep off of the road before doing so and could not figure out why Linda Gail was yelling at me to wake up. Now that was a weird dream that wasn’t. “Oh the ‘humidity’” I guess. I am home now and it has been an hour and half. I guess I am okay…for now, despite not having the energy to go to church. God forgive me for my language, for failing to go to church, for…every other sin I have committed.

A friend of mine in the know says it is better to run in the middle of the day when the temperatures are high but the humidity is low. Something about the heat index I guess. I might try it but do have a few questions for him. “How do you know if you are not a runner, and you are not.” and “When is the humidity ever low for the next three months?”

More humorous nonfiction by Don Miller is available at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

OH HELL, NO!

“Oh, hell no!” I just got a look at myself in the mirror. Note to self, just because you have to pee first thing in the morning does not mean you have to look in the mirror while you are doing it. Those are not bags under your eyes those are freaking steamer trunks. Weren’t you just dreaming about “frolicking in fields of green with…?” Just moments ago you didn’t look like your image in the mirror…but then, “You guess she might look differently and aren’t you a little old for wet dreams?” Note to self, “Keep the light off!”

Okay time to meet the day…” Why am I standing in front of the open freezer?” Oh yeah, blueberries for the oatmeal. “Sleepy Self” don’t you need to fix your oatmeal first and what about your coffee?” Yeah, coffee would be wise and I need to get it in me quickly it would seem. “Hello clock. What time is it anyway?” “Oh, hell no!” Three thirty in the FREAKING AM? Sure glad I didn’t fix the coffee. Let’s try the recliner, I do not need to create another “Oh, hell no!” moment and wake Linda Gail.

“Oh, hell no!” Didn’t I just go to the bathroom…Oh yeah I fell asleep in the recliner. What is that “thingy” staring up at me? Didn’t we have a conversation about wet dreams? How stupid do men look running to the bathroom with that? “Sleepy Self” didn’t you pay attention? NO LIGHTS EVER! Your steamer trunks have turned into boxcars. Okay, what time is it? Whew! A reasonable hour and now you really can meet the day. COFFEE IS NEEDED! Why is the oatmeal tube in the freezer? The Quaker is freezing to death. “Oh, hell no!” WHERE DID I PUT THE NO LONGER FROZEN BLUEBERRIES? Great, they’re next to the coffee on top of the cabinet. “OH, hell no!” What a day…but at least I’m not going to school!

More nonfiction by Don Miller is available at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

DRUNKS, FOOLS AND … OTHER FOLK WHO HAVE ENDED UP IN MY YARD

Another one last night. There is an old quote that goes something like “God takes care of or looks out for drunks, fools and children” …and on my particular stretch of Highway 11, the Cherokee Scenic Highway, I would add old ladies, former students, members of the South Carolina General Assembly, their mistresses, car and motorcycle thieves and our South of the Border brethren. Why do I say this? Because at one time or another all have ended up in my yard with their wheels pointed toward the sky and not one has been unable to walk away. While most were not unscathed, most only had minor bumps, cuts and bruises from their brush with fate.

My home sits one-third of the way up a high hill between two curves and for some reason people have a hard time navigating those two curves. Drunk, sober, day light, night time, rain or clear as a bell, it just doesn’t seem to matter. In our near thirty-years here we have witnessed at least three dozen “brushes with fate” …that we actually know about. There have been others we have not witnessed with only jagged pieces of plastic, metal or glass to attest that they occurred…like last night. There have been many memorable ones but I won’t bore you with them all.

We always hear them first. A tattle tale scream of sliding tires signifying that they had gone into to the curve to fast, smashed their brakes and over compensated. This is usually followed by a “thump” we feel as much as hear. How fast they were going determines where they ended up. After using my side of the hill as a ski ramp a drunk wrapped his car around my closest neighbor’s pine tree and kept trying to extricate himself early one morning. As I sleepily wandered down my drive I watched the tree top sway back and forth as “I got a snoot full Tommy” jammed his gear shift first into reverse and then into forward, not realizing his car was in a “horse shoe” around the now dying pine. Not really knowing what to expect I watched him warily as left his car, tripping twice before he fell face first into a bank. He didn’t even try to break his fall. I felt safe. As I rushed to assist he hopped to his unsteady feet and in a voice that was preceded by the smell of stale beer and cigarettes explained, “I thought I could drive it out.” I jokingly responded “Not without a chainsaw.” He didn’t get the joke and asked, “Man, you got one?” He was not happy when the state constabulary showed up. He fixed me with a drunken stare and said “Man, you sold me out.” Yep.

I have heard said that if you fall from a high place your life flashes in front of your eyes. I don’t know because in order to fall from a high place one must climb to a high place and that AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN! I do know if you are facing what might be certain death your life does just that. With one more post hole to dig, I had paused to rest my aching arms when I heard the scream of locked up tires. As I spun I saw the out of control car become airborne while making a bee line straight for me. As I moved to my left, the car landed and spun “butt-end” forward…and again homed in on me. Time slowed but my life flashed. Ooooh, I HAD FORGOTTEN THAT LITTLE TIDBIT. At the last moment it veered away from me and I tripped over a rock and ended up in the stream below, which put me in a perfect position, albeit wet, to see the car crash, rear end first, into the concrete culvert that my stream ran through. The older lady seemed to be ejected through her open window when her shoulder harness caught and “reeled” her back in. I ran to her fearing the worse. She just looked at me and said, “I guess I hit my brakes a bit too hard. I thought we were both goners.” As had I but I asked if I could assist in anyway before running to call the authorities. She looked up and with a “toothless grin” explained, “I seem to have lost my teeth when I went out the window, do you think you might look for them.” “Pride goeth before the fall” but no self-respecting “Autumn Belle” should be without her false teeth while waiting for an ambulance. I found them and while rinsing them in the stream discovered I had dislocated a finger in my fall. Boy did that hurt…but not until I looked at it.

I left to run on a Sunday morning several years ago and I remember that it was a glorious day. The sun was still just below the horizon but with the stars still twinkling above I knew we were in for a bright blue sky once Old Sol rose from his slumber. Despite being on the wrong end of a ten mile run I was as happy as if I had good sense until I looked down toward my mailbox. A highway patrol car, a car on its top, what appeared to be three bodies laid out side by side and a short dark guy speaking with great animation to a highway patrolman. The three bodies weren’t bodies at all but they were all as drunk as ole “Cooter Brown” or the Spanish equivalent, “Cooter Marrón,” and were sleeping it off in the now early morning sun. I am sure that later in the day they might have prayed for death and the highway patrolman JUST LEFT THEM LAYING THERE to sleep it off! The wrecker showed up, took the car, and the highway patrolman JUST LEFT THEM THERE. I couldn’t just leave them there. “Habla Ingles?” I got a head shake, IN THE NEGATIVE, followed by “Habla Espanol?” With my thumb and pointer finger held close together I reluctantly said, “un poquito.” We are off to a great start and I wish I had paid better attention in my college Spanish class. Using a combination of pidgin English, Spanish and wild hand waving I determined that they lived “somewhere over there.” According to his hand signals somewhere between Nova Scotia and Miami. Ten minutes later they piled out of my old land cruiser in Marietta, not Miami, and despite their hangovers erupted into smiles, head bobbing and a chorus of “muchas graciases.” There were other phrases that might have translated to “You are my hero” but I am not sure. My last thought was a hope they had a bit of the “hair of the dog” to help them with the hangovers that were sure to come.

For great #nonfiction on #Kindle try Don Miller at http://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM