BY LEIGH JOHN ARES-D’AZIZ
SUBURBIA, USA- Gundersen Green – father, runner, optimist – has attempted more than once to go for a nice run with his kid in a jogging-stroller! But wait – there’s more: Each time he tries, he actually believes that this time it’ll work out! And Mr. Green was back at it again last weekend, for some reason believing that he would actually be able to pull off a nice run with his kid in a jogging stroller.
“Okay, so I got the right kind of juice in the blue sippy cup this time, got them their bag of Cheerios, hat, coat, sunglasses, their froggy boots and binoculars,” Mr. Green told us from the sidewalk in front of his suburban home, his child up on his shoulders. “I got the tires pumped up to 20 psi, the dog on her leash… ran back in with the kid in my arms to get a poop bag, and we were ready to go!”
Mr. Green has the most enormous bags under his eyes you will ever see in your entire life. As he speaks, he seems to waver between the verge of tears and the brink of sleep. But – most amazingly – he also manages a small smile. A smile of utter, absolute defiance. This is a man who will eventually find a way to go for a nice run with his kid in the jogging-stroller, or die trying.
“So I get my kid buckled in,” Mr. Green continues, “I’m holding the dog’s leash and the stroller with my right hand, opening the gate with my left, and I look down and the entire darn bag of Cheerios is all over the ground! I look at it, I look at my kid, I’m thinking just screw it we’re running out of time here, so I just start trying to scoop them all back into the little baggie. And I’m getting more pebbles and dirt and bark into it than Cheerios. The dog’s eaten a bunch of ’em, and I think I feel a raindrop.
“So just to be on the safe side, I open the garage to grab the rain-cover. And – big surprise – it’s not where I left it! I look freaking everywhere for it! I don’t understand why people have to go and move things!!! All I wanna do is take the kid for a nice run in the jogging-stroller!!!”
Mr. Green pauses to do some deep-breathing exercises, then smiles politely and continues his account:
“I decide just to go for it… And we go, like, two blocks! I’m starting to think: this is really happening! I’m doing it! Then some little, yappy dog comes charging at us from someone’s yard, and I keep running and I’m all like, ‘Leave it! Leave it!’ It’s a little ankle-biter, and keeps nipping at Ollie! Ollie – that’s my dog. Ooh, where is she anyway? Ollie! Huh, she’s where? Oh, right there, okay. Good girl, Ollie. So, this obnoxious little dog is running alongside us, nipping at Ollie, and I know if I stop Ollie will pin it down and the stupid little thing will yelp and yelp like it’s being killed, so we cross the street but it follows us, and I decide I’m just gonna kick it. Just a little kick. Nobody’ll see. But then I hear it’s owner out in front of her house calling for it, and I make a wide turn and head back that way. And so we’re right in front of her house, but the owner just stands there on her porch calling to the dog, and the dog’s not listening – it’s just getting angrier. I pause right there in front of her house, choked way up on the leash, so she’ll come grab the annoying creature. But the lady just stands there on her front porch, calling to it. Yeah, I could’ve just sprinted away from it. But it just made me feel really good to loosen up on that leash, and let Ollie pin the little guy. And the dog freaked out! And the owner freaked out! But it finally got her off that porch! And then I took off sprinting! And it felt so good! And even though it had started raining really hard, and my kid was screaming, I almost felt free! For the first time since- hold on a second… got a text… Oh, shoot – it’s work. Excuse me for just a minute.”
As we stood there, petting Ollie, we watched Mr. Green make a number of frenzied phone calls, go pick up his other kid from God-knows-what, repair his gate, rummage through his cluttered garage in anger, and go in and out of his house with a tool or a toy or a box or a bag about twenty times until dark.
So, eventually, we just did that thing where you start backing up really quietly so that no-one’ll notice, and we got in the car and got outta there.
Godspeed to you, Gundersen Green. Godspeed.