A Very LA Morning
The most peculiar thing happened on my hill run this morning.
I was listening to a chapter of The Untethered Soul about the voice inside your head. It went on and on and on about that incessant, annoying, nagging, unuseful voice that never stops talking and commenting on the world around you.
It continued by pointing out that even when you sit down to relax and watch television, there it will go again, judging everything you see on the screen, That girl with the red hair looks just like your ex wife. That awful woman, and all of the terrible things that she’s ever done to you.
As I huffed and puffed up the hill it became too much. I needed a break from the voice inside my headphones which was replicating that nasty, horrible, incessant voice. Phewf, went the voice inside my head. Now I could hear my own voice talking.
Maybe the voice inside my head wanted me to turn it off because it hated being spoken about so disparagingly, and it came to its own defense. Whatever. Stop this. Think about something else.
As I ran with the noise turned off, I overheard bits of conversations.
These two, middle-aged men walking together, “I mean, my judgment hasn’t always been the most accurate, but sometimes it is, like when I”
Then, two young boys in their 20s, “It’s about letting yourself rest. Take care of yourself, yes, but you don’t always have to be doing something.”
I got to the lookout at the top of the mountain, and there was a couple having an animated argument. This is incredibly awkward, I thought. They were arguing in private and then I was there. I'd have loved to go and sit for my meditative moment, though. With any luck, if they had any sense, they’d stop as I approached them.
I caught the man’s eye. The woman, with her back to me, had her arms in the air, “Are you seriously doing this right now? You have to be kidding me. I can’t believe this is happening. Why would you do that? What are we going to do now?”
As I passed them to sit on the bench, the man picked up his backpack and walked to face the other side of the mountain, about ten feet behind me. I couldn't see him, and I could only hear little murmurs coming out of him.
She, on the other hand, kept going, “Where are you going? Come on. I’m sorry. Maybe I overreacted, but that’s because you questioned my integrity.”
What a shame, I thought to myself. That the woman would take on all of the blame and put the burden on herself, in order to fix whatever trouble they were having.
And, do people actually talk like that? In the heat of the argument, she enunciated every word clearly and slowly. It’s like they were talking in a code. Am I in danger? Was he going to pull something on me? Was this pretend argument all part of their plan, to play the quarreling couple, as a way to distract the first lone runner from something more sinister?
Whatever was going on, something wasn’t right. I felt my senses heightening. I felt a droplet of sweat rolling down the inside of my arm. I had my headphones in but I was listening to everything they said. I heard a shovel digging up dirt somewhere in the close vicinity. From that vantage point, I looked down like a hawk peering over little groupings of ants that walked in twos up the trail in their floppy colourful hats.
Should I leave? If I were to leave now, would I trigger the event prematurely? Would he be forced to act on their plan so that they don’t lose the opportunity? Perhaps I should wait. It seems like, in her code, she is urging him to reconsider.
I stayed seated. It was just too entertaining. What if I die today? I guess it is my time.
“Come on,” she said, “Let’s go. Let’s just go and sit together. Feel the fresh air. We don’t even have to talk. Let’s go to the quiet place.”
What the hell is she talking about? Is this not “the quiet place?” Did I not just come up here and find them all alone on the top of a mountain. Why didn’t they sit together in silence then?
“Alright,” he said, “I’ll do it.”
And then they relax. Whatever weird energy was happening between them was released. Their shoulders loosened, their body language became more natural, they sat down beside each other in a casual, normal way, like humans would.
She said to him, “Okay, good job. We just missed that one word. Cynical.”
They laughed. “We made it all the way to the last page, though.”
I got up, thoroughly amused. Good show. I walked down the rocky part of the hill as they looked over their scripts. And as I made my way down, a threesome ascended.
“...even recognizable actors that are in big TV shows are driving ubers right now.”
“Yeah, well Gary said he was going to put his place up on Airbnb.”
I ran down, fast as I can, catching bits of other peoples’ conversations.
Two men,“It gets to the point where you have to look at your entire life and ask yourself, what is it that I’m unhappy about?”
I ran home, past a man changing a tire next to the homeless encampment. It was definitely not his car.
Past the mural on the side of a liquor store that says, All great adventures start with a dream.