Friday, July 18, 2008

The kindness of "strangers"

They say that in times of stress, you learn who your true friends are, and I have to say that in the past couple of weeks, my friends have shown themselves to be the gems that I knew they were, wonderful and supportive. But what I didn’t expect or realize is that even though there are a lot of assholes out there in the world, there are also a lot of truly amazing people who cancel them out – and a lot of these people I haven’t even ever met in person.

Case in point – I post on Slowtwitch, a triathlon message board, on occasion and read it on a regular basis. A couple of weeks ago when all this first started I posted a message about my freaking outedness on the Womens Forum, and got an amazing amount of support and reassurance and good thoughts sent my way. Then there was Joanne, aka kittycat, who posts regularly so I feel like I “know” her in a way, but who of course I don’t really know. She makes beautiful knit items like scarves, hats, shawls.........and she took it upon herself to send me, a total stranger, a stunning shawl to “wrap me in hugs” when I’m hanging out in some freezing hospital corridor (as an aside, why the hell do they keep hospitals so cold? Are they trying to kill us?). I got the shawl yesterday, and am amazed at how gorgeous it is – and soft as a kitten’s paw. And every time I wear it, which will be often, I’ll think about the inherent goodness in so many people out there, who’d reach out to someone they technically don’t know, just to brighten their day. Who knew? Maybe it’ll help me think zen thoughts so I’m less tempted to beat so many people with a frozen ham. But if not, at least I’ll be warm while doing so.

So, if you’re ever looking for a beautiful handknit item, check out Joanne’s website. The woman is an artist, her stuff is beyond gorgeous – and it would be nice to support the good people out there, who deserve to have good things come their way.

Okay, enough of that touchy-feely stuff. This weekend I have a big race coming up, Evergreen Lake, and because I don’t believe in tapering, I’ve spent today warming up for tomorrow by visualizing a strong swim, fast bike, speedy run. After a couple of hours of this, I’m pretty much ready to go, but I’m not done, oh no – I finish up with a quick series of jumping jacks that call to mind the butterfly technique of Mark Spitz. This strategy is what propelled me to a 1:30 swim time at IMMOO last year, averaging just 15 minutes of actual swim time per week, so I’m sure it’ll work just as well for me this year.

I then spend a good amount of time fielding well wishes from my fan(s):

Keith: "Good luck with the swimming, or whatever it is that you call it when you are bobbing in the water."
Deanna: "You don’t need a neoprene cap – your head is full of enough hot air."
Tad: "Say, since it looks like you might not be using it, can I borrow Sálome for IMMOO?"
Swimmie: "Tasha, oh great and all-knowing goddess of triathlondom, I am stuck on level 3,131 of my TdFbox......."(delete)

In other words, the usual. Since this is the race after which last year my car got slammed into and destroyed by Assclown, I’m catching a ride with Bridget and Colleen – because really, I’m just not going to press my luck (what there is of it) at this point.....

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