Runner Diary, May 15

It’s going to rain tomorrow, so today I toggled my vehicle from car to bike and set out southward. Even with no Favor offers, it would be good to get out on my bike.

I received one, just as I was giving up and thinking about just biking around the lake then home. A woman named Natasha wanted a certain type of bubble tea from a place on Guadalupe Street across from UT campus, The Drag, they call it.

Cost of product: $6.20, Tip: $7.10.

Later, in my car running GrubHub orders, I drove past the UT baseball stadium, bringing Thai food to a gentrified house. It was perhaps exactly two years ago that I’d been in that stadium, my only time there, taking my younger son to a baseball game. It might have been my birthday. It was late May and a very busy time for the baseball team, the end of their season. My son badly wanted to catch a ball and was well-equipped with a mitt, decent seats, and my patient, baseball-appreciating boyfriend offering advice.

Right before or right after that night I got terribly sick, for the first time in eons. It was clearly the flu, though confusing to have in May, plus I’d gotten a flu shot the winter before. In other words, I defied the odds. I lay in bed for a week, begging for limewater and chunks of pineapple. We had just moved into the house together; boxes filled rooms. Chris patiently moved them unpacked what he could, hung paintings, minded my children and brought me pineapple and specialty liquids.

Driving back through downtown today after that delivery I noticed, again, the tent compounds, some lining busy meridians, completely exposed to the elements, others with a modicum of protection due to their locations beneath overpasses. In a few hours, I knew, a storm was coming, and these tents and tent compounds looked ill-equipped to handle strong winds and torrential rain.

I wanted to warn them, tie your stuff down, move to higher ground if you can, find shelter if you’re able to. As if they didn’t know (maybe they didn’t, probably they did), but the roll of dice that would land my vehicle in the correct lane at at red light or with no cars behind me never happened. And the GrubHub app was tracking my location, noting my progress. Clients weren’t paying for detours.

I was cruising East on Cesar Chavez to pick up food from an Indian restaurant I’d never been to– maybe it’ll be a find, I thought. There was a skinny old man at the corner with a walking stick and a cardboard sign, and I was finally in the left lane, two cars back from the corner, and the light was red.

Do you like oranges, I called through my mask as I waved him over. I had three clementines in my left hand sticking out my driver’s side window.

He came over. “They’re my wife’s favorite,” said.

“OK, hang on,” I told him, scrambling to put the clementines back in their mesh sack so I could give him the whole bag.

He took it gracefully as I called out, my best to your wife. The light changed. As I drove on to the next place, I acknowledged that it was he doing me the favor.

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