I applied for a Census job in April, with training scheduled for May. Job was to last through July. The job disappeared and reappeared, thankfully. I submitted docs, gave prints, good to go. They call back and say guess what, the jobs are filled, you’re casual, MAYBE OUT-OF-STATE when we need a fill-in. All regular jobs were filled. They offered me mileage and hotel, for a casual census job, IN A PANDEMIC, job beginning Labor Day Weekend. I turned it down for health reasons: Labor Day Weekend doesn’t need unnecessary out-of-state travel that is difficult to trace. I have less confidence in my government than before. I have that not-so-fresh feeling.

I ran 6.93 miles today. I called today a hill run because it is designed to sap my strength on the hill. I spent three weeks building a cardio interval. Climbing 500 feet or so in a mile is a slow row to hoe, so I had time to check the garbage.

We have had a lot of rain, so, in general, there was not much garbage to consider. I tried counting cig butts to steps, and found I passed about one per step, so that got boring. I am climbing. Sweat is beginning to drip off my elbows and shorts. I used to keep an eye out for garbage to avoid stepping on something that could ram through a shoe. It happened before. I was skewered one day running in the grass by a forgotten sign post. It went clean through the shoe, grazed my instep, and gashed my leg. I look for sharps. I used to see a lot of hypodermic needles, and some bent spoons across the county line, but these days, I don’t see any of that anymore, but maybe it’s because we had some rain lately. I did see a mask and a vape cartridge. That’s fresh garbage.

I ran railroad tracks to the hill, climbed it, and found my route blocked by a road closed sign, so a mighty 15 mile run got cut short. The caveat of the experience is in its translation as a source of value for the next run. So, I use this unexpected bit of energy for my next planned run of 5K to do intervals on cross-country trails.

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