Learning a hard lesson in meteorology and loving it

I set out on my 7 p.m. run one day a couple of weeks ago full of optimism. In my high spirits, I had forgotten that I consider optimists na_ and, more often than not, stupid. I felt limber and full of energy, ready to pound out four-and-a-half miles like a champ. I laced up my obscenely expensive running sneakers I believe that the highest-priced item is always the best item, and I refuse to consider any evidence to the contrary, because if I discover even one hole in my belief system, Ill suffer a complete emotional breakdown and stepped out into my front yard. I surveyed the sky, and I liked what I saw: an expanse of baby blue, dotted here and there with non-threatening puffs of white. I licked an index finger and held it up to test the barometric pressure, and I liked what I felt: warm air and a moist index finger. Now, I dont actually know what barometric pressure measures, and I dont actually know if a moistened index finger is a legitimate barometer to be honest, I actually kind of doubt it is but I concluded that the barometric pressure was in my favor. Thats how good I felt good enough to think that Mother Nature had decided to bend to my will. Like I said, I was acting exceptionally na_ and stupid that day. Mother Nature doesnt bend to anybodys will, especially when it comes to weather, and even more especially when it comes to weather in the Adirondacks. I relearned this lesson about three minutes into my run when a massive, bruise-colored cloud abruptly blotted out the sun. This cloud looked like one of the extraterrestrial spaceships from the 1996 sci-fi thriller Independence Day, and it scared me. In fact to drag out the Independence Day reference it filled me with the kind of terror that Jeff Goldblums character (a cable repairman/mathematical genius) felt when he deciphered the satellite signals detailing the aliens plan to blow up all of Earths major cities. Within seconds of showing up, the cloud unleashed a downpour and, before I could even think about seeking shelter, I was saturated. And although the storm dampened my good mood (sorry, but I cant resist a pun, no matter how much I might despise myself for succumbing to its siren song), I kept running. Running in the rain always gets my blood pumping a phenomenon that might have something to do with the cocktail of hazardous chemicals present in our rain, courtesy of lax environmental standards at hazardous chemical factories in the Midwest so I ran hard. I splashed through puddles without giving a thought to the fact that my obscenely expensive running shoes were full of water and had probably decreased significantly in value. I looked to the heavens and let loose wordless cries of exhilaration. I shook my head wildly, sending water spraying in all directions, like a guy in a Gatorade commercial, or a suspected terrorist after an invigorating waterboarding session. I pretended a camera crew was taping my run, and I imagined a lengthy training montage set to Europes The Final Countdown featuring shots of me splashing through puddles, looking to the heavens and letting loose wordless cries of exhilaration, and shaking my head wildly, sending water spraying in all directions. Then, as I bounded down the sidewalk on River Street, a compact sedan plowed through a puddle next to me, splashing me with a wave of filthy water. Returning to my right mind, I vowed on the spot not only to never again imagine myself in a training montage, but also to never again conclude that the barometric pressure or anything, really was in my favor. Dan Leonidas makes shallow observations. He can be reached at dpleonidas@yahoo.com or myspace.com/lastminuteconcerns.

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