I have the Music City Triathlon tomorrow and I’m not really sure what to write, but I have to write, so I’m gonna try to dig something relevant out of my ass . . . oh, like maybe the beauty of rage, and why I want to punch my neighbor in the face right now.
Rest assured, this isn’t Neighbor James (who has unfortunately moved) or Doug, or Aaron, or Joe, but the guy four-doors-down who is always working on his crap-ass truck every time I walk the dog. And Every time I walk Mattie, she decides she wants to piss in his yard. And Every time she pisses in his yard he stops working on that shitty truck and yells, “Is that dog shittin’ in my yard??” To which I respectfully respond, “No, she’s just taking a piss, but if she does, I always clean up with this bag.”
But today when it happened, something in me snapped.
Mattie stopped next to his mailbox, and took a piss. 3-2-1 . . . “Is that dog shittin’ in my yard??”
I was listening to a “personal growth podcast,” so I debated acting like I didn’t hear it and walked a few more steps in ignorance.
“Hey, that dog shittin’ in my yard??”
I stopped in the gravel on the side of the road, looked at my neon yellow shoes, took a deep breath, and said, “No, but if she does, I will pick it up for you with this bag.”
“He better not be shitting in my yard!”
“I get it! Why do you ask me that every damn time?”
“I’m sposed to ask, it’s my damn yard.”
I’m seriously boiling at this point. I went from the calmest place of podcast meditation to a raging-dog-walker that wanted to run up that hill, grab him by his greasy collar and say, “Look fucker, I’ve lived here 5 years and you’ve never even said Hi to me!”
But I just said, “Look, man, I’m your neighbor, I’m gonna pick it up if she does.”
No thanks, no nothing, he just stuck his head back in the engine of that rust bucket like a ostrich in the sand. I tried to convince myself that he must have recently read “Shop Class as Soulcraft,” but I just couldn’t do it. He won by taking me off my game.
I tried to calm down as I tugged Mattie’s collar through a long loop around the neighborhood, but I was boiling. I knew it was that guy’s problem, but couldn’t shake the questions.
Why would someone be such an asshole?
What else could I have done?
Why has fate put me next to this dick bag?
All of these things flooding my spine with unwanted tension.
After the walk I sat on my porch as Mattie laid at my feet in oblivion. I focused on my breath and eventually calmed down enough to take a nap.
That’s when the lesson hit, and it dawned on me that this could also be a triathlon analogy.
Just when the race seems like it’s going great, some problem, or pain or asshole disrupts your flow. And the question becomes, “How do we respond?”
We can either let that stuff get into our head, or move past it and focus on the real goal. It’s always going to be something, especially in triathlon. We have to know our plan, be confident in what we’re doing, stay focused and execute.
I clearly bombed this morning’s test. I should have never acknowledged that guy. I knew what I was in for, and it was so far out of the sphere I had created, that I was bound to blow.
So, tomorrow, if and when something tries to get in my way, I have a solution. Keep my eye on the target and don’t look back.