Road Crew

Monday, October 10, 2016


Most of the time I have no idea what day it is on these trips. Weekends and weekdays blend together.  The only indication that something has changed is how full the campground is but given that it is late in the season and the crowds have died down, even that isn’t much of an indicator.  Another issue is that I am covering a lot of new ground, meaning that sometimes (often) I am not sure where I am or where I am going exactly.  I have some glimmer into the lives of the retired.  I can only conclude that as a physician I have been blatantly unfair to every disoriented old man I have ever evaluated.  Instead of trying to assess if someone is oriented to person, time and place, perhaps it would be better to ask how many holes on a golf course or who is your golf pro? Not exactly verifiable but probably more accurate given their day to day activity.
I say this because today felt like a Monday and as I belatedly discovered, it is!
This morning I woke up on the rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  The sunrise was golden and deer were nibbling on grass outside of my camper.  It was so perfect and, yet, I could not drag myself out of bed.  Even a run had no appeal. I had no need to rush out of the park but after giving myself vertigo just looking down into the abyss and lacking the proper equipment to play Spiderman along the shear walls of the canyon, I had little left to do but move on.  But where?  After years of training in scientific study and logical analysis, this is where I look at a map and say, well, that sounds nice.  Durango it is.
Then Garmin happened.  That bitch insists on the most direct route even if it happens to completely avoid the place that I would like to casually eyeball on my way through to evaluate for fine men, good breweries and cozy camping spots.  Nope, the General is all business.  She has one directive.  Get there as quick as possible.  With that I found myself in Cortez, just 8 miles from Mesa Verde but an hour from Durango.  At this point I had a small melt down.  I admit, I may have been  “hangry” given that I had skimped breakfast expecting to run just a few hours down the road and now it was well beyond lunch, but admittedly this was an all out temper tantrum.  I had a hastily made plan and it had been completely obliterated by a heartless electronic device.  To make matters worse, in the back ground was a series of arm twisting texts and emails from desperate managers to come back and work for obscene amounts of money.  I was feeling both guilty and greedy.  I sat on the side of the road shedding a few tears out of general anxiety and indecision.  Just go home, take a hot shower and make some money, I told myself.  Fortunately my inner B*$# calmly took a swig of wine, raised one eyebrow and said, “what the #@%*?  Where are your priorities?” I do know my priorities and work is definitely not one of them.  I headed into the park.
After settling in, I dutifully headed out to run.  It just happened to be 5 hours later than planned and it took about a mile to figure out that there was simply no gas in the tank.  No worries.  I kept going.  At least I did until I found myself on top of a deserted mesa with fresh bear scat and paw prints.  Given my hypoglycemia and general anxiety throughout the day, paranoia set in.  I only had another 5 miles to go.  I could do it. Finally I was hallucinating hippos and bears. THEN I headed home.

All this to say, you know it is Monday when after all that, the highlight of the day was the campground shower which was in a dark, tiled closet that smelled of urine but I could stand up and had unlimited hot water.  Absolute bliss.

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