During my last year in college, I decided to start exercising reguarly. I went hiking most weekends — whether or not the weather permitted — and I also tried to train myself to be a better runner.
I started jogging every night through the residential areas near my house. I considered that a public service because, if I jogged in the darkness of night, then people’s eyes wouldn’t be subject to such pathetic attempts to get myself in shape.
But I quickly grew tired of houses being the backdrop to this mindless activity, so I travelled elsewhere.
The outskirts of the city of Davis are equipped with abundant farmlands, for which I decided would be the primary site for my new undertaking. These empty fields promised fewer bystanders to be witness to my athletic failures so sometimes, when I felt particularly daring and rebellious, I’d go out for a daytime jog.
And that’s when it happened. That’s when I think I experienced the lowest point in my life so far.
I was minding my own business — jogging alongside a little county road outside of town — when a homeless man on a bicycle rides up behind me. He yelled “Keep running, get rid of that fat!” and continued to ride past me.
Part of me was furious and the other part couldn’t help but laugh. “Did a toothless country hobo on a bike REALLY just call me fat?!” “Bitch that’s exactly what I’m doing, don’t gotta state the obvious.” “Was that supposed to be encouraging??” “Who the fuck is he to judge… like damn, at least I’m out here trying to better myself.” But also “This must be what rock bottom feels like…”
Well I kept running, and soon enough I twisted my ankle on uneven gravel. This happened all the time, but this instance was particularly extreme. As I was going down, I braced the fall with my hands. My wrists got scraped up pretty badly and I also fell on one of my knees and that also started bleeding.
I was lying there on the ground in the middle of nowhere, at least a mile from my car, and I remember thinking I was screwed. Unless that asshole hobo comes back, I’m going to die here. There was no chance I was going to be able to stand after such a severe twist.
But I did. And that really solidified my theory that my ankles are made out of kryptonite. No matter how horribly or often I twist them, I always seem to be fine shortly after.
So I kept running. Because of my superpower. And because yolo.
I wasn’t far from my car when my right hand started to hurt, though. It was slightly swollen and I couldn’t move it at all. “Like are you jokkkkinnng?”
I wound up at Emergency Care that night because I needed to get it X-rayed. As a college student, being able to move my right hand was pretty crucial so I was freaking out.
Just the week before, my Mom had suggested I stop running because she knows I have bad luck and always end up hurting myself. Well woman, you were right.
Thankfully my wrist wasn’t fractured. But even though I was sitting in the patient room waiting to hear back from the doctor who would probably tell me he’d have to amputate my hand or something right before my final exams, I had no regrets about that run. You want to know why? Because right before I got back to my car, I saw these boys walking their sheep. They were so young, and had formed this squad that I just really wanted to be a part of.
It was possibly the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if I’m just too “city girl” for my own good or if this was just a totally normal thing, but I was pumped. This group of boys were just causally taking their sheep out for a walk — no destination apparent — just out for a stroll I guess.
You’d never see that in L.A. I didn’t even think I’d ever see something like that in Davis, because honestly the town wasn’t very rural or anything. But apparently when you step out of the downtown or campus scene and bother to venture to the outskirts of Davis, you can feast your eyes on majestic sightings such as the sheep boys.
I even got to see a turtle one day when I went out for a run. I had never seen a turtle in the wild like that, so I got super excited. It was completely random, and I was like “hey buddy, what’re you doing out here” because I’m not sure where it could’ve come from.
I had to take advantage of this moment, so I walked up to it and touched it. It retracted its head back inside its shell because it was terrified of me. I peeked inside, and it all looked gross in there. Turtles are gross… at least their reptilian skin is. I thought about poking it in there, but was afraid it would bite my finger and give me some sort of flesh-eating disease.
With my luck, that would happen. And then I’d go back to Emergency Care and see the same doctor and he’d judge me for my life choices. But don’t worry, sir, I already judge myself and my actions plenty enough for the both of us.