Shania Twain is my best friend. She just doesn’t know it yet. For some reason, I’m not sure completely why, I feel an affinity towards her. After all, we have so much in common. She’s only a year only than I, we both have been divorced, we’re both born in the same country, I’ve been to Timmins, she’s lived in Timmins, we share the practice of vegetarianism, she sings like a bird, I sound like a cow…dying…slowly and painfully. Okay, the similarities quickly break down, but you get the picture.
Friends are an interesting concept. Some people still hang out with their kindergarten BFF and others, like myself, float through life, settling where ever I happen to be planted at the time and draw from those immediately around me. In high school, I never really aligned myself with any particular ‘group’ or clique. I simply floated around with various and strangely diverse people. Maybe I had a serious fear of commitment and couldn’t make it work with just one group of friends.
Like most, I have a collection of different groups of friends, all categorized and filed according to role and proximity. There are acquaintances, the neighbour friends, former school friends, purely social friends, work related friends, and now, added to the list are my running friends.
Currently my running friends consist of a very diverse group of 3 very intelligent, professional women. I am the oldest, but probably not wisest and Lindsay is the youngest, being the same age as my children. There are two in between, one dealing with an established career and the other raising two children before going back to the work world. But for some reason, despite all the differences, it works.
Our runs are like Vegas, what happens on a run, stays on the run. We have a lot of funny mishaps that would make great fodder for a blog (mostly about bodily functions and girly stuff), however, I take the high road and only make fun of people I don’t know.
This Vegas rule intrigues my family, and they have been known to ask about this great mystery, “What do you guys talk about for 2 hours?”
And, for the first time, I am going to break the code. If I never mention these ladies again, you will know that I’ve been kicked out of the group due to high treason. This is the conversation we had last week:
Lyndsay (who works for some type of government environmental department) says, “Have you ever heard of the bird, the killdeer?”
I have and say, “Yes.”
“It’s so cool. They have their nests on the ground and when predators come around, the mother pretends to have a broken wing to distract them from her eggs. Isn’t nature awesome?”
I respond (self-employed entrepreneur). “Yes. That’s pretty cool how the killdeer knows what to do in order to survive. Very creative.”
Then, Karen, (the people manager who works for a software company who shall not be named but whose antonym is “Macro Hard”) comments, ”I really think that bird should take a lesson from other birds and build it’s nest in a tree. It would solve a lot of problems. It would be more efficient and the mother wouldn’t have to go through that procedure all the time.”
I wonder if she’s in the middle of performance reviews at work?
I imagine if Denise (mother of two smaller children) were with us on this particular run would say, “See what babies make their mothers go through.”
We’re all so different—different ages, different backgrounds, different perspectives, different places in our lives and yet we have no problem filling up 2 hours with conversation and laughter. We’re also just as comfortable tuning out and running in silence. In fact, our shared experience of running has even produced our own subculture vernacular.
For example, if I drop my water bottle I am ‘pulling a Karen’. If digestive issues occur, we’re all careful to avoid an ‘Around the Bay’ incident. If someone over-dresses for the heat, she’s ‘being a Lyndsay’ and I have inspired the phrase ‘wardrobe malfunction’ meaning undergarments were not properly secured. Running is hard, but running lopsided is impossible.
We also meet interesting people on our runs. For example, last week on one particularly rainy run we were looking for a bathroom in a downtown Tim Horton’s. We were really disappointed that there wasn’t one available for patrons. A gentleman sporting more unkempt facial hair than found on the body of a 20 lb cat and most likely of no-fixed abode told us we really didn’t need a bathroom as it was raining. If we wet our pants, no one would notice because we were already wet from the rain.
Then there was the birthday boy who ran every year. That isn’t the unique part, though. He ran the same number of kilometres as his age. That’s okay when you’re turning six, but I think he had just hit 54. Needless to say, it was an all day affair. I hate to imagine how long it will take him when he turns 90!
This world is made up of so many wildly different people, yet there seems to be a common thread on all of humanity. Some inert molecule I breathed out 2 weeks ago might be the one you are breathing in this second! I’ve been listening to an audio book The Secret by Robin Byrne which is basically organized on the biblical principal of Ask, Believe and Claim what you want. So, Shania, if you are out there, I am asking to be your friend and I believe it can be so. I’m afraid you have to be involved in the claiming part. Fire me an email if the Universe sends you this message.