17 September 2002
It was like one of those out of body experiences. You know--when you discover that
you're falling and suddenly everything seems to go into slow motion and you feel like
you're standing outside your body looking at what's happening?
I had just arrived at LAX and had made my way down to the lower lobby, my backpack on
my back, my camera over my shoulder, my fanny pack/bum bag around my waist, and the shower
gift well padded in the little gift bag I was carrying.
I stood and looked at the line of car rental desks and wondered how you choose from
among the lot of them, when there are no prices posted. Fortunately, only three desks had
attendants. I chose the one in the middle (being a middle-of-the-road kinda gal), Alamo.
The nice girl took my information and directed me outside to the center aisle in front of
the airport where the shuttle bus would pick me up and take me to the Alamo lot and my
As I emerged from the terminal, I could see the Alamo bus already there and that's when
it happened. My alter ego took a step out of my body and looked on in amazement at what I
was doing....I was running. Do you know how long it has been since I have run
In truth I was not graceful as a gazelle, but I also didn't resemble one of the hippos
from Fantasia either. And I figure I have to cut myself a little slack, since I'm
so out of practice. But the best thing was that I reached the bus before it pulled out and
I wasn't out of breath when I got there.
There were a lot of those "a-ha!" moments this weekend. Stopping for a quick
snack in a fast food joint and sliding in easily behind the table in a booth instead of
having to suck in my gut and hoping I could drag it along behind me as I slid, red-faced
in far enough to use the table. Instead I sat there like a normal person and there was
even air space between me and the table.
Walking up and down the stairs to my friend Merrell's house. They go up and up and up
until you think you're climbing to ShangriLa. It's difficult to know which is worse--going
up, or going down. I remember lumbering up those steps when Peggy and I spent the night
there two years ago. In fact, when we left and I realized I'd left my watch on the
bathroom counter and we had to go back, I was ever so grateful when Peggy said "you
sit here; I'll go get it."
This weekend I could have gotten it myself and not even batted an eyelash.
Climbing into the back seat of Merrell's tiny convertible, not feeling like I'd been
folded into a pretzel, and emerging, when we arrived at the theatre, with as much dignity
as anyone can manage when trying to extricate oneself from the back of a teeny car.
But not feeling embarrassed about it.
Taking Steve and Jimmy's photos, realizing that what was needed was an upward shot and
without thinking, sitting down on the lowest step, taking pictures, and then getting up
again without having to turn over onto all fours and haul myself up hanging onto the arm
of one of the seats. ("How much weight have you lost?" Jimmy asked, when
he watched me bound back up to my feet without so much as a prop to lean on.)
Sitting in the theatre seats and not feeling like I was wearing them, or worried about
how embarrassing it was going to be trying to get out of the seats without people knowing
that I was essentially "stuck."
All of these are things that normal people--"civilians"--do without even
thinking about them, but I was very much aware that I was moving through the crowds,
through the malls, through the airport terminals, as a "normal" person for the
first time in a very long time.
It was a nice feeling.
Now--I just want to warn y'all--I know that a lot of people read this journal on the
day of my weigh in to see how I've done the previous week, but I had the Dr. G dinner,
Dinner at the Dump, the bridal shower (with margaritas, guacamole, and cake!), and all the
other little indulgences that I've allowed myself this past week, and I'm expecting a gain
this week. But that's OK, because I'm back on track again today and hopefully I can make
up for all of the sins of this past week with next week's weigh-in.