Monday, November 13, 2006

The True Meaning of Dreich?

Entry for 13 November 2006

So much happens here that it is impossible to write about as much as I would like to, making the blog just another thing that I am hopelessly behind on…

Last Saturday, after the graduation ceremony was finished, I drove home, changed into my running clothes and went out for a long run. For most of the week, I had been feeling like I was on the edge of coming down with a cold or sore throat, so I had not run for several days. By the time Saturday came around, I still had not gotten sick and was in fact feeling much better, so out I went.

It had been raining, but it had stopped and the sun was shining when I left, so I was wearing my running shorts and a sweatshirt over a cotton t-shirt. I decided to push myself by running to Spiers Wharf again, about 9 miles altogether. I took off the seatshirt after a mile of two. It was a lovely day, but the sun was already low in the southwest as I ran along the canal. The wind came up, at my back, and pushed me along. I noticed the wind-generated waves on the canal. I made good time and was able to run a bit past Speirs Wharf before turning back.

Immediately, it was clear that getting back was going to be much harder than the run out had been. Now I was running into a strong headwind of 15-20 mph. The sun was getting lower, and had already, at 3pm, set behind the lockside buildings in places. I passed Partick Thistle stadium. I could see an ominous wall of grey to the west, in front of me. As I ran past an old guy with a lot of missing teeth, feeding the pigeons, he warned me, “There’s rain where you’re going!”

Finally, about two miles from home, it started to rain, big drops, not smirr. This wasn’t too bad at first, because the sun was still out and so a beautiful, full rainbow appeared to my right, reminding me of the rainbow I seen out the window, over Sandy’s head, during the diploma course large group meeting last Wednesday. There was even a trace of a double rainbow at the far end.

Next, my right knee, which had been bothering me for at least a mile, started to hurt enough that I had to walk for a bit. The sun was blocked by the clouds, the wind became stronger with quite strong gusts, and the rain got harder. I started to get really cold. For the first time in nearly twenty years of running I had to put my sweatshirt back on, but I had left my gloves at home and my hood kept blowing off. I started running again, in spite of my sore knee. I got colder and colder. By the time I had passed under Bearsden Road, it was so miserable that even the ducks were taking shelter under the overpasses.

When I got home I was soaked, and my hands were almost completely numb. It took about half an hour to get them properly thawed. Physically I was totally wet, cold and miserable; in other words, I felt that I had attained a state of true dreichness. But paradoxically, at the same time, I felt happy, pleased at having made it, and glad because Diane had phoned on her way back from Spain. Ah, I thought, it possible to be dreich and happy at the same time, that’s interesting."

The next morning, after church, I told Caroline, one of the priests at St. Mary’s, about my adventure; she said, “Yes, but it’s worse on the East Coast” [of Scotland]; that’s really dreich!” I suppose you could call this, “Dreicher than youse”. It appears that I still have a long ways to go in order to reach Scottish nirvana of perfect dreichitude!

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