Sunday, April 19, 2009

The first 1 Mile

At Mile One of every run (or the equivalent on a stationary bike, or eliptical trainer) I start arguing in my head. Usually the argument is with a particular, well-loved but very conservative family member. It usually goes something like this:

Him: The current housing crisis was caused by affordable housing initatives started under Carter and accelerated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the democratically controlled congress.

Me: No, it's the fault of Wall Street and the private securitization machine, which relied upon an increasing origination of lower and lower quality loans to feed the voracious appetite of investors.

And so on.

It's really tedious stuff, embarrassing to even recount. It seems almost as shameful as admitting some bizzare sexual interest, such as my predeliction for images of women wearing only motorcycle helmets and standing in bathtubs full of lukewarm lime Jello. I waste all this mental energy arguing over something that I really don't care about. I don't have any stake in housing, or Congress, or Jimmy Carter. Regardless, the argument comes over me. I have no control over it, which makes me even angrier. I get pissed off half because I know he's just parroting the Opinion Page of the Wall Street Journal, and half because I know he's half right, even if the argument twists the facts and helps THEM (whoever they are) to "win" (whatever that means).

I actually don't think of my relative as THEM. He's a really intelligent and extremely good person. I know that he enjoys saying controversial stuff to stir up debate. "Throwing meat in the pirrana tank," my wife says. I actually have a lot of fun talking to him.

The one mile thing is pretty weird though. After the argument goes on for a couple of minutes, it fades away. I stop having that argument and my mind returns to my breathing, or some passing dog, or not getting hit by a car, or something.

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