running, dreams, and podcasts (five)

My workouts are usually done on my lunch hour. If the weather is fine, I can go outside and run on the wide shoulder of the road or into nearby residential neighborhoods; about a mile down the road is a local college with an outdoor track. In the winter, Widget Central has a small but sufficiently equipped workout room and several times a week I pack my gym bag and either spin or run on the treadmill.
Because I hate Apple (and specifically iTunes) so passionately I now listen to books or podcasts while I run, or nothing at all. This has reduced my speed but I think in general it’s good mental discipline. Today while I slogged out my miles on the treadmill, I listened to an old Fresh Air with Neil Gaiman. He wasn’t the primary interview, but as usual he said enough in his 10 minute discussion to keep me intrigued. For example: “The idea that even the most normal people close their eyes for six, seven, eight hours a night and during that time, for several hours, go absolutely and utterly stark-staring mad is beautiful.” I never thought about it this way, but it made me think about the dream I had last night, in which my mother and I browsed through a pottery shop in an English stone cottage in the countryside. I admired the stained glass and the pottery tiles, all of which seemed to be incredibly delicate, wrought lighthouses, including one black and white one that stood in a snowfall. A blind woman had made them all, and she left her post behind the counter to read my fortune. She held my hand in her soft, wrinkled one, and when I asked her what she saw, she said, “Nothing,” and I didn’t know if that was in reference to my future or if she was being terribly literal about my question.
This made the first mile go quickly and most of the second mile was absorbed in pondering Mr Gaiman’s gobsmacking revelation that Adam of biblical fame had three wives. I knew about Eve, of course, and I was aware of Lilith, but I had no idea that in Jewish mysticism, Adam had a second wife. Apparently God built this second wife before Adam’s eyes, from bone to tissue to hair, and Adam was so grossed out by watching this process that he absolutely couldn’t stay married to her. This wasn’t intended to be a funny story, but it made me laugh all the same, because in a way, this is a very instructive parable about human nature and specifically why it doesn’t pay to let the person you are in love with see too much of your insides.

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