“When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don’t even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb. You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends upon them. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. And you accept any small favor from the gods with great delight, as if it were an episode you would remember for the rest of your life.”—Paulo Coelho (via brohogany)
Today I ran a marathon- voluntarily! Weird and surprising, coming from the high school cross-country runner notorious for feigning injuries to get out of 5Ks. But running became one of my favorite stress-relievers in college and ever since it has become therapeutic for me. After an unknown number of 5Ks, a truly spectacular 10K in Palermo and the glamorous half marathon of Columbia, MO, a marathon was next on my running bucket list.
Up at 3:30am for a 4:30 am call time, it was a LONG day. Leading up to the 6am start time, there was an array of Hawaiian traditions - an authentic tiki dance, a few words of encouragement from the mayor of Kauai (who was an awesome native Hawaiian with a booming voice and a sassy ‘tude) and a local blessing that called the island gods to help us all pull strength from nature. We also applauded the moon (of course?), which was still shining brightly overhead. And then we were off, filing through the hundreds of tiki torches that lined the darkness of the first half mile.
The course began and ended in Poi’pu beach, one of the most famous in Hawaii. But the middle 24-ish miles wound through the interior of the island: past suspicious horses grazing outside tropical ranches, through the century-old Tunnel of Trees, passing teeny towns and cozy residential neighborhoods where neighbors were grilling breakfast kebabs in their driveways. Along the whole course, the local people had gathered outside their houses, sitting in lawn chairs and cheers-ing their coffee as we passed. Every two or so miles was a pit stop featuring water and heavenly electrolytes, doled out by little kids who used their spare hands to high-five us. There were bands, hula girls, ukulele players, police officers and volunteers along the entire route. The curvy, narrow streets were closed during the race, so it was only runners and their cheering squads as far as the eye could see.
The most amazing part of the race was chatting with the other runners. Miles 11-20 were purely uphill. That short sentence does NOT justly describe the situation. But it was during this very touch-and -go time that I met a few people whose words and actions will stay with me for a long time.
Mercedes, originally from the Phillapines, has lived on Kauai for the past 30 years and she knew EVERYONE on the island. There was her husband and daughter cheering at mile 12, a mom-friend from her daughter’s hula classes passing out water at mile 14, her daughter’s principal at mile 16 who “shot” her full of energy with an umbrella, her old paddle team partner playing a ukulele at mile 18… It went on and on. Inbetween, we chatted about running, island life, Hawaii’s history, neighborhoods- it’s amazing how much a simple conversation that distracts you from the thought of running makes the miles fly. And Mercedes was a very friendly, social gal who was my chatty, running buddy for the majority of the race.
I also met Dan. I’d guess him to be about 75 years-old. He has run a marathon in all 50 states, and he sported a patriotic USA-flag running shirt to prove it. He beat me.
My favorite character of the race was a 70-something year-old man wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat and rainbow beach shirt who was trekking up the mountain at about mile 14 as we were making our way back down towards the finish at mile 21. He looked up, smiled and said, “I know there are a lot of people in front of me, but there are also a lot of people behind me sitting on their couch.” Very cool.
I closed the race with Coop, who had run the Kauai marathon 3 times before and quickly became my coach. He told me when to speed up, when to slow down, drink water, the works. He was taking this race “slow” (I tried not to be offended!) because, prepare yourself, he had RUN A 100 MILE race LAST WEEKEND in South Dakota. He said, rather matter-of-factly, it took him about 27 hours to finish. I let him call me slow after that.
In all, I met some amazing people and saw some hidden parts of the island I never would have seen on a normal trip. I’m already brainstorming my next destination marathon, the newest fad in traveling! Paris in April anyone?
Now I need to go use my medal for its intended purpose, to open a brew. Yes, they have bottle-openers on them. I love this island.
Before I landed in Kauai- for the “impromptu marathon”- I got some new digits.
On the 6+ hour flight from LA to Kauai, I sat next to Boris, a LA based dentist who had moved to the states about 25 years ago from Moscow. He insisted I call him if I ever find myself in LA or Eastern Europe. One seems slightly more Iikely than the other.
He was on his way to the island with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grand kids for a month in a house on the beach. Russian dentistry must pay well, evidenced too by the gold chain blinging around his neck. We started chatting after I agreed to switch seats so his wife could sit by her grandchild. I was just happy that I’d gotten a window.
During the flight Boris and I discussed everything from Spanish bull fights to US/Russian dentistry laws. I learned that his 30 yr old *single son had gone to school at the infamous Milken School in LA and Boris knows where Sylvester Stalone eats every Friday night. We talked about running and I admitted to him my reservations about this volcano marathon. Boris prefers tennis.
As we deboarded, Boris turned to me and said, thank you very much for being so kind to my family. You never know where kindness to strangers will lead. I do know I will call him next time I find myself in LA or Russia.
I hate typos, especially when I write them. (The worst is when you write an email and just as you press send you see it, right?) Anyway today after I used Google as a verb in a sentence and capitalized it, I started second guessing myself and yes, googled Google. Grammar Girl says there is no right answer. Phew, officially typo free… But “there is no right answer” is the most annoying answer possible. So I thought about it for a while and I decided that verbs should be lowercase, always. Let’s simplify things people.
"On a per-minute basis, I've never had as much eye contact during a date as I did with you."
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2011 14:19:39 -0500 To: xxxxxxxxxx Subject: Hi Lauren
I’m disappointed in you. I’m disappointed that I haven’t gotten a response to my voicemail and text messages.
FYI, I suggest that you keep in mind that emails sound more impersonal, harsher, and are easier to misinterpret than in-person or phone communication. After all, people can’t see someone’s body language or tone of voice in an email. I’m not trying to be harsh, patronizing, or insulting in this email. I’m honest and direct by nature, and I’m going to be that way in this email. By the way, I did a google search, so that’s how I came across your email.
I assume that you no longer want to go out with me. (If you do want to go out with me, then you should let me know.) I suggest that you make a sincere apology to me for giving me mixed signals. I feel led on by you.
Things that happened during our date include, but are not limited to, the following:
-You played with your hair a lot. A woman playing with her hair is a common sign of flirtation. You can even do a google search on it. When a woman plays with her hair, she is preening. I’ve never had a date where a woman played with her hair as much as you did. In addition, it didn’t look like you were playing with your hair out of nervousness.
-We had lots of eye contact during our date. On a per-minute basis, I’ve never had as much eye contact during a date as I did with you.
-You said, “It was nice to meet you.” at the end of our date. A woman could say this statement as a way to show that she isn’t interested in seeing a man again or she could mean what she said—that it was nice to meet you. The statement, by itself, is inconclusive.
-We had a nice conversation over dinner. I don’t think I’m being delusional in saying this statement.
In my opinion, leading someone on (i.e., giving mixed signals) is impolite and immature. It’s bad to do that.
Normally, I would not be asking for information if a woman and I don’t go out again after a first date. However, in our case, I’m curious because I think our date went well and that there is a lot of potential for a serious relationship. Of course, it’s difficult to predict what would happen, but I think there is a lot of potential for a serious relationship developing between us one day (or least there was before your non-response to my voicemail and text messages).
I think we should go out on a second date. In my opinion, our first date was good enough to lead to a second date.
Why am I writing you? Well, hopefully, we will go out again. Even if we don’t, I gain utility from expressing my thoughts to you. In addition, even if you don’t want to go out again, I would like to get feedback as to why you wouldn’t want to go again. Normally, I wouldn’t ask a woman for this type of feedback after a first date, but this is an exception given I think we have a lot of potential.
If you don’t want to go again, then apparently you didn’t think our first date was good enough to lead to a second date. Dating or a relationship is not a Hollywood movie. It’s good to keep that in mind. In general, I thought the date went well and was expecting that we would go out on a second date.
If you’re not interested in going out again, then I would have preferred if you hadn’t given those mixed signals. I feel led on. We have a number of things in common. I’ll name a few things: First, we’ve both very intelligent. Second, we both like classical music so much that we go to classical music performances by ourselves. In fact, the number one interest that I would want to have in common with a woman with whom I’m in a relationship is a liking of classical music. I wouldn’t be seriously involved with a woman if she didn’t like classical music. You said that you’re planning to go the NY Philharmonic more often in the future. As I said, I go to the NY Philharmonic often. You’re very busy. It would be very convenient for you to date me because we have the same interests. We already go to classical music performances by ourselves. If we go to classical music performances together, it wouldn’t take any significant additional time on your part. According to the internet, you’re 33 or 32, so, at least from my point of view, we’re a good match in terms of age. I could name more things that we have in common, but I’ll stop here. I don’t understand why you apparently don’t want to go out with me again. We have numerous things in common. I assume that you find me physically attractive. If you didn’t find me physically attractive, then it would have been irrational for you to go out with me in the first place. After all, our first date was not a blind date. You already knew what I looked like before our date. Perhaps, you’re unimpressed that I manage my family’s investments and my own investments. Perhaps, you don’t think I have a “real” job. Well, I’ve done very well as an investment manager. I’ve made my parents several millions of dollars. That’s real money. That’s not monopoly money. In my opinion, if I make real money, it’s a real job. Donald Trump’s children work for his company. Do they have “real” jobs? I think so. George Soros’s sons help manage their family investments. Do they have “real” jobs? I think so. In addition, I’m both a right-brain and left-brain man, given that I’m both an investment manager and a philosopher/writer. That’s a unique characteristic; most people aren’t like that. I’ve never been as disappointed and sad about having difficulty about getting a second date as I am with you. I’ve gone out with a lot of women in my life. (FYI, I’m not a serial dater. Sometimes, I’ve only gone out with a woman for one date.) People don’t grow on trees. I hope you appreciate the potential we have.
Am I sensitive person? Sure, I am. I think it’s better to be sensitive than to be insensitive. There are too many impolite, insensitive people in the world.
I suggest that we continue to go out and see what happens. Needless to say, I find you less appealing now (given that you haven’t returned my messages) than I did at our first date. However, I would be willing to go out with you again. I’m open minded and flexible and am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I wish you would give me the benefit of the doubt too. If you don’t want to go out again, in my opinion, you would be making a big mistake, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in your life. If you don’t want to go out again, then you should have called to tell me so. Even sending a text message would have been better than nothing. In my opinion, not responding to my messages is impolite, immature, passive aggressive, and cowardly. I spent time, effort, and money meeting you for dinner. Getting back to me in response to my messages would have been a reasonable thing for you to do. In addition, you arrived about 30 minutes late for our date. I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if a man showed up thirty minutes late for a first date with you.
If you’re concerned that you will hurt my feelings by providing specific information about why you don’t want to go with me again, well, my feeling are already hurt. I’m sad and disappointed about this situation. If you give information, at least I can understand the situation better. I might even learn something that is beneficial.
If you don’t want to go out again, that I request that you call me and make a sincere apology for leading me on (i.e., giving me mixed signals). In my opinion, you shouldn’t act that way toward a man and then not go out with him again. It’s bad to play with your hair so much and make so much eye contact if you’re not interested in going out with me again. I have tried to write this email well, but it’s not perfect. Again, I’m not trying to be harsh, insulting, patronizing, etc. I’m disappointed, sad, etc. I would like to talk to you on the phone. I hope you will call me back at xxx-xxx-xxxx> (if it’s inconvenient for you to talk on the phone when you read this email, you can let me know via email that you are willing to talk on the phone and I’ll call you). If you get my voicemail, you can a leave a message and I can call you back. Even if you don’t want to go out again, I would appreciate it if you give me the courtesy of calling me and talking to me. Yes, you might say things that hurt me, but my feelings are already hurt. Sending me an email response (instead of talking on the phone) would better than no response at all, but I think it would be better to talk on the phone. Email communication has too much potential for misinterpretation, etc.