The Runner Diaries: April 22

I ran many Favors yesterday to make up for skipping Monday.  Sometimes I double up and toggle myself “available” on GrubHub as well; the GrubHub runs are less constant/frequent than the Favors, and because they track my location (yes, creepy), it often works that I can accept a Favor food-to-go errand, call in the order to the restaurant, then accept a GrubHub errand nearby.  In the time it takes the first restaurant to prepare the food, I can pick up the GrubHub food (pre-ordered by the customer and usually ready by the time I arrive), deliver it, then head to the Favor restaurant. The GrubHub runs are often depressing, fast food for unhealthy-looking sorts in shoddy apartment compounds. It feels rather balletic, though, when it works out perfectly timed, to have two things going at once like that; a finely choreographed dance.

Yesterday after getting the kids situated I ran one late morning Favor to a grocery store, as I needed to shop anyway for my own house.  It was, us usual if I run morning Favors, a “grocery shop for a senior Texan” errand, but with an unusually concise list:  a six-pack of Shiner Bock beer, several flavors of sugar-free Jello, and a container of Clorox wipes.  No wipes, I had to text from the store, and the only flavor sugar-free Jello available was strawberry.  Better double down on the beer, then, was the good-natured response.   When I pulled up to the address to make delivery a couple waved to me from lawn chairs in their driveway.  They looked as though they were waiting to watch a parade go by.  “Something for you,” one of them said, gesturing towards two grungy dollar bills weighted down by a canister of wipes on a plastic folding table.  “The money,” the woman said, “not the wipes!”.  They cackled.

I went home after that to deliver my own groceries and deal with lunch for the boys.  They were going to their dad’s house for dinner that evening for the first time in weeks, an exception being made due to Laszlo’s birthday, so as evening approached I had no cares.  My boyfriend was stuck watching a Lord of the Rings movie with two of his daughters, loud soundtrack, the grunts of Orcs, a running commentary by the girls.   I was happy to escape into my car away from the noise.  I knew the Favor Runs that time of day would likely all be to-go orders from restaurants, so I switched on the GrubHub app as well, and spent a few hours traveling around the northern part of the city to different restaurants, fast food windows, houses and apartments.   I watched the light turn golden and the sky turn pink, sometimes through my windshield, sometimes in my rear view mirror.  It was shaping up to be a beautiful night.  I listened to music, singing along many times in a row with Johnathan Richman to “I was Dancing in a Lesbian Bar,”  trying to perfectly nail the lyrics, the scansion, the inflection.

A little after 8 I was getting tired, and the boys would be home soon, so I made one final run to an address near my empty yoga studio.  I dropped off the food, toggled “stop running” and pulled into the parking lot of the shopping center containing my studio space, surprised to see a few cars.  It appeared there was a Spanish AA meeting going on in a neighboring suite; I wondered how that worked, maybe a very small group sitting quite far apart.   I let myself into the studio, used the restroom, watered the indoor plant and the sage growing in a pot under the eave on the sidewalk.

Back in my car, I realized I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.  I hit the drive-through of a taqueria for a vegetarian mushroom taco on flour, placing an envelope of dollar bills from various old people into the gloved hand of the cashier.  “Keep the change, ” I told him.

A block away from my house I pulled over, not wanting my time alone to end.  I rolled down the windows, ate the taco in my car, then re-entered the rest of my life.

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