Appreciative af

I did an online test the other day that was supposed to help you find out more about your best personality traits. Number three: humour (not sure J would agree, as he doesn"t seem to appreciate my running commentary about how funny certain foreign names are during skiing competitions on TV. I don"t get it. I think I"m hilarious). Number two: honesty (selective honesty, I swear. You can still come to me with your ”Does my butt look big in this” type of questions. Also: The dog ate my homework).

Number one? Appreciation of beauty and excellence.

Normally I would nod my head wisely at this and exclaim that Finally! Internet tests get me! but after my close call with death by prolonged exposure to the elements yesterday I"m not sure I agree completely. There might be exceptions to my appreciation of beauty is what I"m saying.

It started off well enough. I had decided to run home from work, because that"s the kind of running I could fit into my schedule. I glanced out the window a couple of times as the clock hands crept slowly towards 6 pm and freedom, which was a mistake because it did absolutely nothing for my motivation. It was snowing. It was windy. It was dark. But, once I stepped outside, my Appreciation Of Beauty And Excellence kicked in. I noticed how big fat snowflakes made small craters in the ground upon impact. How trees gracefully bent in half in a magical ballet. How passing car drivers could tell that I was thirsty and drove close to the edge of the road, shooting off snow in my direction to quench my thirst. I gratefully flashed them a huge smile with teeth turned brown from tire-tainted slush.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse after a while. Three seconds into my run, I realised that no one had gotten the memo that I was running home from work, and the sidewalk was still covered in 10 centimetres of snow. Sure, I could run on the road, which was relatively clear of snow, but I had forgotten my reflective vest at home and I wasn"t quite feeling suicidal just yet. So I moved through the white stuff like a hippo through a puddle of molasses, only not as elegantly.

After three kilometres of torture, my Appreciation of Beauty And Excellence was still going strong. I was appreciating the beauty of suddenly running parallel to the bus route and thought it was really excellent that it was so close by. In case I needed to take the bus the rest of the way home. Which I didn"t. Because one personality trait that didn"t come up on the Internet test was never throwing in the towel, not even when it"s really wet and useless and, frankly, getting a bit smelly. So, instead of doing the smart thing, I did the other thing, which was putting one foot in front of the other several times in a row.

A few kilometres later, I was running through the village of Bergsbyn. Saying that I was running is, of course, a gross misuse of the word. Snow was thick on the ground and the wind was slapping me around like someone had told it that corporal punishment was about to be outlawed and it was trying to get in a few good hits before it had to stop. I waded, I swam, I sent prayers to all known gods that I don"t believe in. And that"s when I, driven to despair by weather conditions and unresponsive imaginary entities, finally started feeling suicidal and decided to brave the road.

Ah, the road. Pavement with only a light dusting of snow on it. Hard, unrelenting, dependable. I felt the minor aches I had developed around my knees dissolve into nothing, aches that can only be attributed to the softness and instability of fresh snow. But you know who else likes the road? Car drivers. 7 pm on a Monday is apparently rush hour in Bergsbyn, because I could only run on the road a few seconds at a time before I was forced to jump back onto the sidewalk. Playing chicken with cars is not a game a runner can win.

The last few kilometres home were slightly uphill, because I wasn"t miserable enough already. My ears were frozen and my eyelashes were stuck together. My throat hurt because I had inhaled all that ice-cold air. But, in the end, after an hour and a half, after taking it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other several times in a row, I got home. As I stood in the hallway peeling off wet clothes, I looked out the window at the snow falling outside and appreciated the beauty and excellence of being in a nice, warm house.
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