Even though two nights ago I literally got zero hours of sleep, I decided to go for a run tonight. “I’m in Orlando,” I thought, “I can finally run outside.” Since I’d had to wake up at 4:30am for the flight to Orlando, I figured I might as well get a little ‘Orlando time’ in. After all, I’d been working inside an Orlando convention hall for 11 hour days, two days in a row. The outside world had to be better than that.
But it wasn’t. The second I was outside, I ran into what amounted to a giant parking lot lined with stores and hotels. There wasn’t really anywhere to run that didn’t put me onto a highway or into the sides of parked cars.
So I decided to move in a circle. “That’s Orlando for you,” I thought, picking up my pace. My first racing loop was around 8 minutes, and I wanted to run for at least 30. So I began a second loop. I found a side road that was maybe almost a sidewalk which ended eventually but added depth to my loop.
It was dark outside but still warm and a light misty rain began to fall. It felt really good to be outside. I ran past dim windows with people playing pool, a Hooters with staff hovering by the cash register, a Disney Gift shop, a ‘supermarket’ that mainly sold soda and beer. I ran past our cheap Comfort Inn pool- which had a waterslide that was built into a fake rock. “This is really the Orlando experience,” I thought. And I laughed, and I ran. And a light, sticky happiness filled me up inside.
I felt happy to be in the heat, in the misty rain, listening to my Spotify Discover Weekly, running by the side of the road, past a Denny’s and a Cici’s pizza. I felt happy to breeze by the window of a tacky Irish Pub with not one, but two Cornhole games outside. I felt happy to be outside in Orlando, past another one of its lit up fountains, in all the glorious tackiness which I usually roll my eyes at.
I don’t know why a smile hovered on my lips instead of a breeze of complaints. I don’t know how that Orlando parking lot remained beautiful for the dusky fade of a half hour. Who knows. But I guess that happens sometimes. It happens.