Friday, January 21, 2011
The party nobody told me about
An early morning boot camp of some sort. People running suicides in the sand at sun-up.
I admit to putting on virtuous airs. After all, I was leaving the house at 5:30 a.m. on a brisk Wellington morning for a run and a bike ride along the promenade.
I never run there during the week, so heading into town I imagined the pleasantness of having the vistas and the morning breezes to myself. What I got reminded me of doors-opening at a Wal-Mart on Black Friday. There were people running everywhere.
It was quite extraordinary. Far from feeling a little superior, I felt judged. These runners, bikers, skaters, swimmers, kayakers, boot campers weren't exactly checking their watches at my arrival - but it was implied.
My sense of self-worth changed. One minute I was feeling like a hard-core training machine, up at the crack of dawn to do two parts of a triathlon. The next minute I'm feeling like the fat kid nobody invited to the party. In more ways than one.
These Kiwis are hard core: It can't have been much above 50 degrees, and yet there were people in the water - one guy not even in a wet suit. There was some sort of boot camp on the beach. Suicides in the sand. Another bloke was running up and down the stairs that headed straight up the mountain. With a backpack on. People were stretching against walls, on benches. Just a few hours before their darker-angeled counterparts were using these same streets for other excesses: mini bottles of Johnny Walker Black and empty cans of beer told the tale of the night people.
It didn't much matter after a while. I joined the party of the limber, not the limbo. This time. I'm sure the view is just as nice at night.
When I was talking about the great armies of exercisers to someone later in the day, they said it was no different in Los Angeles. That may be so. I'm not saying it isn't. But this blog isn't called "Life in the Land of the Long Smog Cloud," so I'm just writing about what I see here. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen anywhere else. Just means it happens here.
It makes perfect sense, of course. The Wellington Bays are gorgeous and a sun-rising view shouldn't be wasted.
And by the time I arrived at work, the virtuous airs were back.