Adventures in running (to a happy hour)

happy hour in London

If you found yourself asking the question “who is that idiot?” between 5pm and 6pm on M st/Canal/Foxhall Rd yesterday, chances are you were looking at me.

While high on Iron from my rather large spinach salad at lunch, I made the decision to run home instead of using my usual mode of public transportation. And by “home” I mean Rock Bottom in Bethesda. Friends had decided to get together for a happy hour and I saw no problem in meeting them all sweaty and stinky. It would only make the beer taste that much better, I thought.

I’ve tried to run home a couple of times from work, but what makes this instance more idiotic than the others is that I decided to carry my back pack with me.

A mile into it, I was already getting annoyed with the bouncing of the pack and the jingling of the zippers! ahhhhh! So I tighten the straps as far as they’ll go and pulled the zippers a bit apart to prevent the noise. I chugged along.

I reached Key Bridge after dodging the heavily populated sidewalks while simultaneously trying to control the stupid back pack. I was exhausted already. A normal, sane individual would have just crossed the Key Bridge and hopped on the Rossyln Metro. But not me. I kept going.

It’s super hot and it’s getting hilly now. Everyone I pass on the sidewalk is going in the opposite direction…down the hill. I see them giving me a look while they pass. Was it a look of pity or disgust…I couldn’t really tell. I was sweaty, tired, and out of breath. My form was deformed. I was the hunchback in neon shorts. Then I noticed it wasn’t just the people on the sidewalk, but also the people in their cars who were slowing a bit as they passed me. Why the hell are they staring, I thought! Haven’t you seen a person running up a hill with a giant back pack in scorching heat before!!? really!

A few blocks later I realized the reason for all this attention. The previously pulled apart zippers had slid down on both sides and so I had been running with an open bag for the last mile or more. You could see my clothes, my planner, my shoes, my water bottle. I don’t think anything fell out, but how embarrassing. So I zip it close again and just decided to live with the jingling sound.

At this point I look at my watch. 5:50pm. My given ETA was 6:15pm and I was still almost 4 miles away from the bar. I am certain that without the back pack I would have been near the Friendship Heights Metro and thus would have comfortably made it in time. Alas, not everything goes as planned. Cursing, I ran another mile and a half to the Tenleytown Metro and took the train two stops to my final destination.

So while pretty people hung out in their Business-Casuals, I stormed in the bar looking as messed up as they come. I apologized to my friends, ordered a cold one, and ran to the restrooms to try and fix myself. 5 Minutes later, I emerged looking less dead. I chugged the brew and finally was able to have a conversation.

I havent given up on the idea of running from work again. One of these days, I’m going to make it all the way I tell you!

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer based in Raleigh, NC. She writes about everything from travel, food, books, and family. Her current project includes a series of children's books to teach Hindi. She is a native Tar Heel who has also lived in Washington DC and Chicago.

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