The letter L.

There’s a problem in suburban America.

It’s the pedal to the metal. It’s hightailing it home. Full throttle. It’s the valet guys taking Cameron’s dad’s red car in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

The letter L.

Lead foot driving.

I’m not talking about the local teenagers drag racing down the street. Although, I don’t like that either. Stop it – you’re going to wake up my kids and probably kill yourself. I’m talking about daddy and mommy dearest flying through neighborhoods.

Being an adult mostly sucks but being an adult also means you don’t have to be lectured anymore.

Until now.

Are you guilty of Fast and Furious’ing through your neighborhood? Yes. We all are. Were you trying to kill an innocent child, jogger, or dog? No. None of us are.

I get it. I do. I’m human. I can feel the lead in my feet. I did speed up to try and kill a coyote running across the road. It was a normal street, not a residential one. And by speed, I mean I just didn’t bother to slow down. Before you judge, a coyote tried to kill my dog. I merely played karma with an engine. I also don’t swerve for roadkill. I run over it and make it more flat. Scott thinks this is psychotic but I don’t think so. Bumpbump. You’re welcome.

I’m good at driving slow through neighborhoods. I used to live on a busy street. I know how much it sucks. I rarely let the kids play in the front yard because of the traffic. If one of our dogs took off, the first spot I checked was for a smashed dog in the street. I could stand and yell at drivers all day to slow down and no one would listen. Like damn children.

I live on a cul-de-sac now. It’s the best decision we’ve ever made. Fast traffic doesn’t exist and my neighbors cross dress which is awesome. But I still see the fast drivers. I see the little preschoolers. Dogs are still at risk.

I can spill out stats on pedestrian fatalities or tell you a sad story about someone accidentally hitting and killing a small child. It’s rare but it happens. One of the first lessons we teach children is to look both ways before crossing a street; you can’t trust drivers. As parents, we never stop repeating this phrase.

But sometimes the adult needs a lesson too. Slow down in residential neighborhoods; you can’t trust a child. I can’t sit shotgun in your car to slap you and remind you to slow down. You’re going to have to calm your ass down by yourself as you turn into your neighborhood.

I thought of some helpful reminders.

  • Let Beethoven bring it home. Classical music has a relaxing effect on our minds. Turn that shit up once you turn into a neighborhood. Roll in like a boss.
  • Observe your neighbors’ houses. Go ahead, slow way down to a crawl. Take landscaping notes. Determine who has the greenest yard. Take a peek to see who’s grilling. Wave. Stop and say hello. But still watch the road. Observe your neighbors. Because they’re observing you and your driving speed.
  • Spray lavender in your car before you pull into the neighborhood. Lavender calms the mind and hopefully your lead foot. I hope it doesn’t make you sneeze because nothing is more reckless than sneezing while driving.
  • Pretend you’re driving a boat. Residential streets are ‘no wake’ zones. I don’t know, I’m getting desperate for ideas here.
  • Pretend your kids, your dogs, your cats, your grandma all live in your neighborhood and BOOM RUN OUT IN FRONT OF YOU.
  • When you turn into your neighborhood, remember that blog post you found on Facebook by some girl named Julie or something. She’s kinda funny and she speeds too and she was very nice about asking the general public to slow down where you live. She knows deep down inside you’re not a murderer.

I know, sometimes your mind wanders and you forget to slow down. I’ve been reminded by the green plastic man and orange cones too.

If it were up to me I would make kid and dog ghost holograms dancing in the street straight up from The Haunted Mansion in Disney World. If you hit a ghost, I would send the ghost home with you and haunt your ass.

No one needs to speed home. Don’t let your lead foot down.

This is my public service announcement.

___________

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The Color Run.

I can’t move out of bed because of my legs.

Oh wait. I should whisper this.

I can’t move out of bed because of my legs.

I had to whisper because I am forbidden to talk about my legs throbbing in pain with Scott in the room. He is still recovering from knee surgery. Knee surgery pain trumps all-over-can’t-move-both-legs pain. Hi Scott.

You want to know what happened? I’ll tell you what happened.

I ran.

And now I’m fairly certain my neighbor is plotting my death. In Lawrence, Kansas. Home of the Jayhawks. This is a friendly reminder that I am a K-State Wildcats fan.

Two weekends ago, Heather and I were a good couple glasses of wine into the warm summer night.

Heather: Ok. So I have a question for you. Ok, before you say anything – I know you don’t run. But…

Me: Oh no.

Heather: Would you be interested in doing The Color Run if I got a group together? It’s in Lawrence in September. It would be really fun if you went with us!

Me: Yeah, I’ll do it! Those things look fun! But I am not a runner. You guys won’t sprint off will you?

Heather: No, we won’t sprint. We’ll take it slow.

Me: Ok. IN.

That was the wine speaking.

The next morning, I looked over The Color Run‘s website while sipping my coffee.

Hmmm. This does kinda look fun. Maybe I should wear a piece of flare, like a rainbow tutu or a bandana armband. I wonder if I can avoid all colors and just get purple sprayed at me. I should make faces at the cameras and point. 

Scott hobbled into the room.

Scott: What are you doing?

Me: Looking at The Color Run’s website. I’m going with Heather.

Scott: You’re going to run a 5K?

Me: Yeah. I feel like I can do this.

Scott: You realize that you will have to actually train for this. Like get on a treadmill or run outside.

Me: I’ll be fine. They’ll go slow. Maybe we can all walk.

Scott: I’m telling you now – they won’t be walking the whole time. It’s three miles. That’s a long walk. You’re going to get smoked.

Me: It’s three miles. It’s not like a marathon.

Scott: Smoked.

A week passed. I continued to lift weights at the gym. Scott reminded me to do cardio. I didn’t listen.

Another week passed. I got a cold. No gym. Scott reminded me while I was on the mend to run outside. I didn’t listen.

Two nights ago, I listened. I went for a run. Oh wait. I went for “a run“. Quote. Unquote.

I decided to take our dog, Bailey, because she could use the exercise. I also wanted to compare myself running with a 63-year-old dog, in dog years.

I busted in the door with Bailey and fell to the floor. Scott laughed.

Scott: Where did you go?

Me: Stop sign and back. Mile and a half.  Ok, fine – until I saw the stop sign then I turned. Close enough.

Scott: Bailey is not even panting. Did you even run?

Me: Yes, I ran! I panted for her. I’ve never sweat so much in my life. You runners. Seriously. How do your sides not hurt? It’s like someone turned the oxygen off outside.

Scott: I told you. You need to train. Did you run the whole time?

Me: Well, no. Not the whole time. Bailey had to pee a couple times. We stopped, lingered. She pooped. We stopped, lingered. I did run when I heard a car coming though. My legs hurt so bad. I worked out my legs at the gym too.

Scott: You’re using muscles you don’t normally use when you run. And you shouldn’t stop. You should have walked or jogged in place while she peed.

Me: OH! And my freaking cheeks jiggled! Like my face and my butt. I don’t like that feeling at all.

Scott: It’s called running. No one cares what you look like. It’s not a photo shoot.

Me: Oh.

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So this will be my world for the next seven weeks. Heather offered to train with me in the evenings. I think she realized I am in desperate need of help when I texted her my pitstop pictures. As of today, I am officially signed up with The Color Run. There’s no going back. Heather knows where I live and she will drag my sore, lifeless legs to Lawrence if she has to.

I mean, there’s really no other way I go to Lawrence.