The Great Escape

It was like moving in slow motion…

What does this sentence mean?  I hear it and imagine a man walking down the streets of New York.  The faces around him are blurred, cars are zooming past him, and colors have a residue: everything is moving fast except the man who moves in slow motion.  These moments are never explained.  How and why did everything move so fast?  Were you moving so slow that everything else seemed fast?  Is it a walk-on-water feeling?  I don’t know how other people experience their slow motion moments but mine come with a long run.

Running is an escape for me:  not an escape from the world but from my own mentality.  I’m not running from any particular problem.  I am just a college kid.  But often my head becomes convoluted with thoughts upon thoughts.  I analyze what I’m thinking as I am thinking. When I run people instantly disappear; I see a person beside me then they’re no longer there. I hear nothing but the music booming from my iPod headphones.  It’s funny how people listen to certain music while running.  I can listen to head-banging Metallica, easy listening Motown, some funky No Doubt folk from Bob Dylan, or the vocals of Stevie Wonder.  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what music I listen to because I don’t evaluate my feelings as I listen.  I don’t go to that second level of questioning.  That’s how I escape when I run; I avoid that second level:  the deep analyses that can both solve and cause problems.  I don’t want to say I run on emotion.  It’s simply existing in the present state of mind:  a stream of consciousness that forms while I’m running.  Everything else is stopping, changing, adapting.  Paths are being rerouted.  People are making decisions.  But I am in slow motion. I don’t stop to think about my thoughts.  One foot then the other jog four miles then come back.As I write this paper I am considering every thought.  I am carefully typing each word so that I have an interesting paper that is also stylistically flawless.  By the time I submit this paper I will have made thousands of edits.

As you read this paper you aren’t fully enveloped.  You stop; make a correction or a pen mark.  You read a sentence; a flashback occurs.  You read this paragraph; a chuckle or grin comes across your face.  You finish this paragraph; a realization of its parallelism follows.

I had to constantly question my writing style to get the paragraphs above just right. When I run I don’t feel the need to question myself.  Now questions do arise as I run, but mentally I answer the question, or change the subject, or I go into a blank state of mind:  no further analysis occurs.  As human communication has evolved, people have lost the ability to not know, to not further question.  The overabundance of available information has made not knowing, not okay.  People give answers to questions that are unanswerable:  “What is the meaning of life?” is a popular one.  All this information has made it impossible to fully escape oneself.  I can’t run forever; eventually, I return to the fast pace of my changing thoughts.

Running is simply a long pause.  It’s the dot-dot-dot ellipsis used in writing.  The dot-dot-dot doesn’t signal an end, just a pause from the rest of the paper.  It doesn’t follow the same pace as the grammar that surrounds it.  The words around the dot-dot-dot disappear instantly, but the dot-dot-dot last a few seconds.  The people around me disappear but my run goes on.  Just like the dot-dot-dot, my running doesn’t signal a change; the paper must continue, my analytical consciousness must return.

If only we could pause, slow down more often.  Forgetting myself makes the world simpler.  How I feel when I run in slow motion, I can’t tell you because I don’t think about it as I run.  This analysis only comes after the run.  After being seamlessly thoughtless, yet constantly conscious at the same time.

You may take a break from this paper now, slow down your life.  My paper will be here when you return.  Let yourself have a slow motion moment, a dot-dot-dot pause…