Memories of the Giant Sloth

MacBride Hall is where I have my lecture for Intro to Environmental Studies. It's an OK class, but it's not what I want to talk about. Along with classrooms and a giant auditorium, MacBride is home to a natural history museum on the main floor. Also, upstairs there are two rooms showcasing birds and mammals, stuffed and put in glass cases. When I was a kid my mom would take my sister and I there to look at all the animals. In elementary school my classes went there for field trips. Today when I was walking across Clinton to the Pentacrest I saw a class of elementary school kids hanging out on the front steps. It made me think of going there when I was little. I sat down early and started writing in my class notebook. Here's what I wrote:

When we were little kids we came here and took tours of the museum. I don't remember what else we did for the rest of the day. It was like the whole day was dedicated to the field trip, even though it only took a couple hours. I always liked turning the corner in the natural history museum, starting on the left side, and seeing the massive shark/whale creature with its big, can opener-like teeth, chasing a fish for dinner. The way it was set up made it look like it was going after you.

But the best thing -- my absolute favorite -- was the whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling in the mammal hall. Nothing could top that -- not even the stuff I saw when I went to the Museum of Science and Industry. Compared to the whale skeleton, planes, trains, and automobiles seem boring. They're everyday things to me. But a whale is something totally different. They're awesome creations of nature; the bones hanging there were molded by protein and all the other biological stuff I can't remember (did I ever know it in the first place?). They moved together and swam through the oceans.

That's what I wrote. During lecture the elementary kids walked up and down the stairs on both sides of the auditorium, talking and making a lot of noise. Their sounds came in, and our professor was a little confused. I smiled. The balcony of the auditorium is between the mammal and bird halls, and my mom used to walk Corrie and I through lectures. I remember the college kids lounging in the wooden seats, falling asleep, while down below the professor was at an overhead projector, his scribbled notes on the screen behind him. When I thought of college I thought of the scene in MacBride auditorium when we walked through lectures. I've had lectures before, but I'd never had one like that until this semester. So now I've had my own quintessential college experience.

About the giant sloth, since I did mention it in the title: it's still there, I think. Before I graduate I want to go back and walk through all the exhibits. I don't know for sure, but I suppose it's still there. I'll find out then. At Iowa we have a student political party named after it. Its name is either Giant Sloth or just Sloth. I think it's kind of fitting. They're incredibly slow and incapable of getting things done. Our student government leaders would rather become bedfellows with university administrators than voice dissent toward the rising cost of tuition. Anyway, that's my beef with college government. Back to the post.

I have an hour to go until I get off work, so I'll be writing in this and entertaining myself with Facebook. Ah, Facebook. What an invention. It's almost better than email. After I get home I'll run.

I started running again in early November. I ran in high school, but stopped the summer before I went to college. I was never a hardcore runner, either. My runs were usually a mile or less. The track at City High or the trail around Wetherby Park were where I ran. I started running a mile again, just up and down the block. It's not quite a mile -- it's more like .95 mile -- but it's good enough. The first half is all downhill, and the second half is all uphill. On Wednesday's I run on the track at City High. At first I was running four laps, which is a mile, and now I'm running six. Never in my life have I run that far before. Right now I'm trying to decide what my goals are. I'm using it as a cardio workout, but I'm not sure if I want to keep my runs short or start going for distance. When I run I feel good. At first it was torture. But after time my body became used to it, I learned what my ideal pace was, and my stamina increased. When I'm running I want to keep running forever. I don't ever want to stop. If I stop I have to come back to reality and deal with life. Running takes me away, just as walking does. I can think, I can be alone. Before I know it I'm almost done, and I can't wait until I come home the next day and do it again.

Sorry. Big paragraph. I hope it's not that scary. It's a nice day. One thing I love about Iowa is winter isn't persistent, at least it isn't now. One week temperatures might dip below zero, and the next week it could be sixty and sunny. My Reefs come out when that happens. I'm always looking for a chance to free my feet from the confines of shoes and socks. Today I get to run in shorts, basketball shorts. That's one thing I need: skimpy running shorts. I could use the yellow, Iowa shorts I sleep in, but then what would I sleep in? No -- don't say it.

That's it for now. I'll be back; I work tomorrow.


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