Sometimes I find myself tempted…

…to start driving to work again, so that I’ll have time to exercise, he said straightfaced. It’s nice to be able to walk to work, but it does mean that I spend about an hour per day commuting. I try to stick to a pretty strict schedule of rising sometime between 5 and 5:30 a.m. to get some writing in before leaving for work at 8:30. What with the challenges of actually rising at that hour, and subtracting time for showering, dressing, eating and the rest of the daily tasks that can make life so boring, that doesn’t leave all that much time for writing and exercising. Hence the temptation to drive to work instead of walking, but obviously this would be a foolish tradeoff to make.

This morning, I departed on a run only to find that I was rather underdressed. I hadn’t been able to hear any rain falling from inside, but as I emerged into the predawn darkness I discovered myself in a fairly drenching drizzle. I didn’t want to go back inside because my brother is sleeping on the couch these days, surrendering the guest room to my visiting father, and I worried that I had already made much too much noise considering that my brother was probably hoping to sleep at least a few hours more. So I toughed it out and ran slightly faster than I usually do at first, to get the blood moving. I had to stop periodically to mop the rain out of my eyes and off of my glasses, and my hands were a little frozen-feeling at first, but after a few minutes it felt good to be a little uncomfortable, to feel the rain on my face, and to push through anyway.

And speaking of not having time to exercise, I’m always taken aback by just how many people are waiting for buses at such an ungodly hour, which I suppose speaks to just how tortuous and uncoordinated the bus schedules are here. When I, dressed lightly in shorts and a t-shirt that are already soaked black with rain, run past a middle-aged woman in a raincoat and rain bonnet, huddled under a bus shelter or perched on a bench with her umbrella up, I can’t help but think about the different relationship we have to the weather: I’m the dabbler, for whom the rain is an invigorating challenge, while she must get herself to work in it, maintain a presentable appearance, prevail over the bus delays that are probably inevitable in any kind of inclement weather, even a spring rain, and all the while not think too much about the fact that she is standing all alone, in the dark, vulnerable to whomever happens by with unkind motives. I guess I don’t have it so bad.

Last night was the last of my father’s visit; this afternoon, my mother will pick him up on the way back to their West Virginia home, where she spends the weekends and he lives full time. Because there was company, we ate like human beings for a change, one meal prepared for everyone, salad, silverware. We even used place mats, a habit A. and I broke a while back when we discovered that Zuzu, the cat, was using them as nap mats during the day. Having once stuck them on a shelf, it was apparently too much to remember to break them out for each meal.

A. reports that she is glad to be back in the Flagstaff area. Yesterday afternoon she and some of her crew members were headed out to the field station in the Coconino National Forest, near a crossroads town called Happy Jack about two hours from Flagstaff, to begin setting up the camp. Over the next few days, she’ll be driving back and forth to collect the rest of the team as they trickle in on planes, buses, and presumably some other forms of transportation. Compared to her temporary living situations in Missoula over the last two months and the stress of learning new job duties, I think it must be nice to be back on familiar territory, i.e., the field station where she worked for four months last summer. Sure, she’ll be living in a tent and eating in another one — a dusty, chipmunk-infested one no less — but that’s normal, at least, and she’s done it and the accompanying work before.

Yesterday, I called the electrician and asked him to come back next Thursday to see if he could find anything else to charge me money for. “Go to the bank,” he said, “and I’ll see you at nine.”

Can’t wait.