The alternate title for this post is the early bird finds the evidence. And it begins like this:
I’ve been trying FOR A MONTH to run in the morning. Every morning I set my alarm for 7 a.m. and every morning I hit snooze for an hour. When I walk the pug in my pajamas, I stare with contempt at the svelte joggers who zip past in a blur of Spandex. Damn perfect in their Under Armour and Nikes, damn focused, listening to their iPods, pounding the pavement in the early morning fog.
I’m so desperate to develop a morning run habit that I’ve asked Ro to text message me at 7:30 for motivation.
Well, Wednesday morning I did it all on my own and because I was so proud of this feat, I ate two chocolate truffles for lunch.
I started the jog at a good clip. Rounded the block near the park by my house. Ran full throttle up Coffee Pot Boulevard –– full throttle because how could I not run full throttle up a street named Coffee Pot Boulevard? At a half-a-mile in my legs turned to Jell-O and my heart turned to applesauce. I actually hate running. While I’m fast and for five years played forward on my high school soccer team, I have knock-knees and flailing arms. When I run I look like Olive Oyl. I look like a blonde Olive Oyl.
After 30 minutes of huffing and puffing, I spastically returned to my house, ran up my driveway and noticed a strange black and white headband hanging out of Joe’s passenger-side car door.
Weird, I thought, tugging the strap from the door. I’m the headband-wearer in this family. Actually, I was wearing a green headband the night we met. I’m addicted to them. A short-haired gal needs to accessorize, so headbands are my friend.
However, I was too exhausted and too high off the smell of my own B.O. to care. Also: I had a phone interview at 8 a.m. with a Sarasota band director and only two minutes to lower my heart rate and resume a normal breathing pattern.
Strapping an ice pack to my neck, I prayed I’d catch my breath, but by 8:04 I was out of stall time. I picked up the phone and dialed the band director. On the other end, his assistant, whom I’ve spoken to several times before, gasped.
“Are you alright, honey?”
(Wheezing.) “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“You sure? You sound so sad.”
(Heaving.) “I’m, I’m … fine. Just a cold,” I lied.
By 8:30 the interview was over, Joe was out of bed and I was fully recovered from my jog-induced hyperventilation.
“Good morning baby,” he said, poking his head into my office. “Were you outside this morning?”
“Yeah, I went for a run.”
“Yeah, I ran this morning.”
“Like around the block?”
“Like around a few blocks.”
“Good for you!”
“I found a flowery headband hanging out of your car door.”
“Isn’t it yours?”
“No. It’s definitely not mine.”
“A headband that’s not yours?”
“It’s too nice to be mine. It was a real headband. Mine are just scraps of fabric.”
“Maybe it’s Leilani’s.”
More alarmed than I, Joe immediately emailed his sister-in-law Leilani, who rode with him to work Tuesday. Leilani, whom I don’t ever recall seeing wear a headband, wasn’t sure if it belonged to her.
“Great,” Joe typed back. “Now my wife thinks I’m having an affair.” And then he hopped in the shower and I packed him a tuna fish sammie for lunch.
He had a television appearance to primp for. Studio 10, a Tampa Bay morning show, has a relationship with Creative Loafing, the newspaper Joe works for. He often fills the Loaf time slot by plugging the paper’s cover stories or his movie reviews. On this particular morning he was slated to discuss the paper’s holiday auction issue.
(This is Joe getting ready for TV. I call this his “TV blazer” for obvious reasons.)
As he headed out the door I yelled from the kitchen, “Of course your mistress wears headbands. You’re such a headband man.”
“Better than being an ass man.”
“Or a breast man.”
“Hey,” he asked flashing the button-down under his TV blazer, “is this shirt too busy for TV?”
“No, Hugh Grant. It looks fine.”
(This is the note I stuck in Don Juan’s lunch. I edited it for my Nana.)
Shortly after his TV segment wrapped, Joe forwarded me an email from Leilani with this subject line: “Did you leave a headband in my car?”
“Is it white with a black plant/flower print?” Leliani wrote.
“Yes! Yes it is!” Joe emphatically replied.
Ah. We shall see about that. We’re having a house party tomorrow and Leilani will be here. If the band fits, I must acquit.