Thursday, June 15, 2006

Terrorist

Ran 7.1 today, Lake Quannapowitt loop, 6:44 average pace; it was full of effort, heaviness, and doubt. The recent 5 mile PR (30:35) must have been a fluke (I'm a phony!) But I'm going to blame it on the shoes. I used to run, over a year ago, in Nike Zoom Milers, I loved them. I hadn't had a pair in a while so I got some again, and, maybe my feet have changed or something, but they were awful, just didn't feel right at all. Other runs of late...
Friday: 6.2 miles, Landice (7:34, 6:59, 6:52, 6:43, 6:36, 7:23)
Saturday: 5.5 miles, Landice (7:49, 7:18, 7:08, 6:59, 7:04)
Sunday: Shitty 6.5 miles, Lake Quannapowitt (hot, stopped, walked!)
Tuesday: 6.7 miles, 6:44, Longfellow-Charles-Smoots double loop
Oh, I got hooted at the other day, a pickup drove by me running and a redneck wannabe riding shotgun yelled "you're sexy, man!". I thanked him.



Started reading Updike's new novel, Terrorist. It's gotten mixed reviews, actually a horrible review in the Atlantic Monthly last month. But so far I like it, Updike is supremely skilled at getting inside someone's head, the narrative is right on, it's actually not unlike the Rabbit quartet, the running commentary/critique of modern American life and culture. He nails the ephemeral, the banal of everyday living. Capturing the essence of the times as they are "now", the late 1950's, 60's, 70's, 80's in each successive Rabbit novel, and the 00's with this one. Right off the bat, he starts with the protaganist, Ahmad, a High School senior in northern New Jersey, offspring of an Egyptian father (absent) and an Irish mother ...
Devils, Ahmad thinks. These devils seek to take away my God. All day long, at Central High School, girls sway and sneer and expose their soft bodies and alluring hair. Their bare bellies, adorned with shining navel studs and low-down purple tattoos, ask, What else is there to see? Boys strut and saunter along and look dead-eyed, indicating with their edgy killer gestures and careless scornful laughes that this world is all there is — a noisy varnished hall lined with metal lockers and having at its end a blank wall desecrated by graffiti and roller-painted over so often it feels to be coming closer by millimeters.
Nice. Dead-eyed, I've thought that, I see that, in young boys "these days", it scares me. Another passage, from the 63 year old Jewish guidance counselor ...
But, sustained in a wakefulness by a nagging bladder, he instead lies exposed, as to a sickening blast of radioactivity, to an awareness of his life as a needless blot — a botch, a prolonged blunder & imposed upon the otherwise immaculate surface of this ungodly hour. In the world's dark forest he had missed the right path. But was there any right path? Or was being alive in itself the mistake? In the stripped-down history that he used to purvey to students who had trouble believing that the world didn't begin with their births and the proliferation of computer games, even the greatest men came to nothing, to a grave, their visions unfulfulled & Charlemagne, Charles V, Napoleon, the unspeakable but considerably successful and still, at least in the Arab world, admired Adolf Hitler. History is a machine perpetually grinding mankind to dust.
Who hasn't felt like this? (Not the nagging bladder part, that, so far, fortunately, remains a mystery to me.) But that's what I love about Updike, he's constantly articulating, beautifully, my own private thoughts. The bad review talked about ridiculous plot twists, I don't think that will bother me; I like Updike for the introspective prose, the plot line is seconday. And anyway, from life emerges bizarre non-sensical plot lines; before September 11th, a novel describing such a disaster might have seemed ridiculous.

3 Comments:

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Running Rabbit said...

Hmmmm....Men get "hooted" at too? How'd that make YOU feel?

 
At 11:35 PM, Blogger David said...

Well not often, and didn't make me feel great, though I actually felt sorry for the guy; I'm pretty sure I could kick his ass in a race. But, yeah, it made me appreciate more what women runners must put up with on a much more frequent basis.

 
At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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