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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Running & solitude [20090401|10:06]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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I saw a pair of geese courting on the Thames this morning. As I jogged past, one loudly honked a magnificent crescendo, discordant to my ears but clearly pleasing to the other. She dipped her neck coyly into the river and rubbed beaks with the vocalist. After a brief denouement, he followed her example, and I think it's best to draw a discreet veil over the ensuing flapping, mounting, and vigorous tail-bobbing.

Hm, perhaps I fail at discretion.

I discovered very quickly that I can't run while wearing headphones. I tried earbuds, those ones that go behind your head, etc, but I just don't like the feeling of them. I thought perhaps it was the cables connecting them to my MP3 player, so I tried a very embarrassing experiment at 5:30 AM with a pair of fuzzy earmuffs and that didn't work either. Being unable to listen to music or audiobooks for those 45 minutes out next to the river bothered me for a while, but it stopped once I started to appreciate all the sounds I hear around me. There are geese and the ducks, of course, including a rather creepy hybrid mallard/wood duck with black-ringed yellow eyes whom I call Mephistopheles. There are the dogs and their humans, who greet me in their own ways, sometimes resulting in some rather acrobatic moves on my part so that I can continue on my path. There are the other runners, who understand that a smile and a brief head-bob is friendly enough, and conserves oxygen.

Most importantly, though, I've learned not to hate the contents of my own brain as it whirls around, cataloging sensory input, noting the appearance of new leaves on this or that tree, the sound of the rowers' oars as they puff their way along in their lean boats and the very special aroma of the sewage treatment plant as it fires up. It surprised me to learn just how variable the smell of the, er, output of thousands of Londoners can be. No really.

I should stop before I lower the tone any further, shouldn't I?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: greyface
2009-04-01 10:15 (UTC)
It's not "doing things without music" that bothers me... it's the wasted opportunity to be listening to music!

I guess it helps that my 8.5 hours at work every day are devoid of opportunities to listen to music. If not for the fact that I want to be listening to music much more than I have time for, I wouldn't mind not listening to music when I'm... doing whatever (most notably, riding my bike to school and home, even though, officially speaking it's considered a safety risk, so I shouldn't, in order to be a good example to the students... but really... too bad about that)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-04-02 18:00 (UTC)
Now that I think about it, the lost opportunity bugs me. My work keeps me pretty occupied too, and I don't have much chance to check out music that has lyrics while I'm there. I have to turn off anything too distracting within about a minute, so I usually end up with either ambient or classical. And it has to be something I've heard before, as anything new will distract me.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-04-02 17:58 (UTC)
One of the houses I pass smells like French toast on Wednesday mornings only. It's fantastic, but it also has the unfortunate side effect of making me hungry instantaneously.
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[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2009-04-01 14:53 (UTC)
That's interesting because I remember you asking what music I listened to when I run. I also can't do the headphones thing. I have a pretty good soundtrack going in my head most of the time anyway. And the sounds outside are very satisfying.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-04-02 17:56 (UTC)
Hey, I'd forgotten about that! Yes, judging from your new music journal - and kudos on keeping that up, by the way, it's a great read - you've got a pretty varied jukebox going on in your head. :-)
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[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2009-04-02 21:47 (UTC)
Ahh. You've been reading it? That's great. Thanks. I haven't kept up with it in the last month because of the baby and NICU, but now that she's finally home (just home today), I should be able to get back to it.
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[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2009-04-01 17:43 (UTC)
It's probably good empty processing time for your brain to distil stuff and come up with good ideas.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-04-02 17:49 (UTC)
Yes, a bit like dreaming except more controlled. I usually think of dreaming as a place where my subconscious can remove all the crap so I don't have to deal with it during the day. Every now and then it surprises me with something that seems epiphanic but not often.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2009-04-01 19:36 (UTC)
I can garden while wearing headphones, but that's because I'm (safely?) in my own yard; I feel like I need to be more aware when I'm out in streets, as I tend to get lost in the music... (This is less 'accidentally-dash-in-front-of-a-car-because-I-was-grooving-out' and more '...Our-sources-tell-us-she-was-thrown-into-the-back-of-a-van-three-days-ago-and-has-essentially-vanished..." Yeah. I'm spooky) Ahem.

And I have no doubt that you'd be adorable in fuzzy earmuffs.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-04-02 17:54 (UTC)
I totally hear you on the safety issue. After all, sometimes it's before sunrise when I start my run and there really aren't many people around. It's a pretty safe part of London...but it's still London.

I'm pretty sure that everyone looks silly when running while wearing fuzzy earmuffs.
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