Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Taking the Long Way

Back when I was seventeen, I worked for my parents after school in their jewelry manufacturing concern. (Providence, RI, where I grew up, once was the costume jewelry capitol of the world.) If you don't have a big factory, making jewelry involves collecting a lot of different parts from a lot of different people. Once I got my driver's license, I was the collector. I'd drive in and around Providence getting clasps and beads and whatever else had to be gotten. Once I was sent someplace I'd never been before in southern RI. It was farther than I usually went, but RI being small, not all that far from home. I managed to make my way there -- I got the stuff I was supposed to -- but then I started driving back. Nothing looked familiar. The radio started to cut out. Then I saw the sign: Welcome to Connecticut!

I was reminded of this errand today when I went running around the reservoir in Central Park. It was my first time going around the reservoir and I felt like "Aha! After twenty years (give or take) in New York, I'm finally a New Yorker!" The thing is, my husband, who was born and raised here in New York, had advised me to cut to the right somewhere so I could pick up another drive and loop back around to my starting point instead of going all the way around the reservoir and back up the big hill I had to run down to get there in the first place. This would make a run of a reasonable length, he assured me. So I gave it a shot. And you know what happened: I missed the right, and forty-odd minutes into my run, I was lumbering back up the damn hill that was way more fun to run down.

I wasn't planning on blogging about running again today. I'd planned to write about this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about pursuing a graduate degree in the humanities. (It's maybe overly cynical, but in many ways spot on.) After that run, though, my longest yet, I just couldn't because sometimes you've just got to take the road you find yourself on just to find out where it leads.

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