On Saturday I ran 3000 stairs, did the same today, and yesterday I ran 10,000, which is the third most amount of stairs I've ever run in a day, with the highest amount also occurring this month. I'm not saying that those two days are "better" than other stair days, because, as I've remarked, all stairs are different. (Which I've taken over time as a real life lesson. Stairs will teach you.) My routine at each set of stairs is different as well. But I think it's pretty good. I felt strong. I should add that I worked until 3:30 in the morning from Saturday into Sunday, arose at 7:30, worked until 10, then did these stairs. I never stop. Every second of my life is devoted to my quest and getting to where I am going, despite everything and everyone against me. I'm never just sitting there having a doughnut and vegging out. Every single second.
After 7000 stairs I was taking a quick break, sitting on that marble island about twelve yards away from those stairs at Government Center. The temperature had dropped into the upper sixties, and the skies opened. Pouring rain. People ran for cover, there was hardly anyone out. If ever there was an image--well, there are a multitude of them, different from each other--that documents this hell, this struggle, this fight, the fight in me, the will, something you put in the biopic, I think it'd be one like this. A man, alone, streets deserted, head bent, elbows on knees, fingers interlocked between them, motionless, getting absolutely drenched out in the open, unbowed, unflinching, more steadfast than a star, thinking about one single combined thing: keeping going, defying even the elements if need be, remaining strong, becoming stronger, beating these bigots and cowards of this industry.
The Scott Stossel blog post? I'm thinking about sick, evil, broken people like that. I'm thinking about the monster I married in that very building I am at. I'm thinking about my work and what it can and will mean to this world when I prevail. Because I refused to die, I refused to be buried, I refused not to win. I think about all of the people who hate me. I think of how alone I am.
And with the sweat and the water running into my mouth, with the rain pelting, everyone else inside, I rise once more, and I just keep running those fucking stairs, man.
This darkness has got to give. One way or another. As the epigraph of this journal states, "Heroism is endurance for one moment more." And when that darkness does give, I will be here, because of the millions of moments like this. All of those moments that it took.
Yesterday there was a man who had gone up maybe a dozen stairs and was leaning awkwardly against the side, while clutching the railing, an unlikely pose. His balance was precarious. He could not, it seemed, go any higher. He was a young white male--thirty, perhaps, remaining in place as I went up and down. I was keeping an eye on him, because he didn't look right. Drugs, presumably. I sat down for a break on the marble island, and I heard this gasp and a muffled yell from behind me, and turned to see that the man had fallen over backwards, such that he was on his back, with his head facing the bottom of the stairs. These are the best known and most traveled stairs in Boston--they're the ones that funnel into Faneuil Hall. A lot of traffic on them. At that time of day, the traffic is constant. They're wide stairs, so I'm able to pick my way through the groups of people and they don't slow me down, like people can in the Monument. People actually walked around this man. Stepped clear of his limbs. Didn't break stride. Carried on in their conversations. I raced over of course, got him upright, sitting. I asked him if he wanted me to call anyone, but he said, "No, I'm okay, thanks bro." I told him to let me know if he changed his mind, and after a few more runs, I saw that he had walked off back in the direction of Faneuil Hall. I would wager those people all tell themselves they're good people, they probably have the right signs in their yards to back it up in their minds. But here was a man, obviously in need of help, and some of them literally stepped over parts of his body. And the person who is alone and despised, was the lone person who helped. You think a lot about many things when you run stairs, including the painful, bleakness of some forms of irony.
There is quite a bit of interaction on these stairs, given how many people use them. The Monument is that way, of course, but I haven't been in there since March of last year. People will opine that it's good exercise. There are a lot of Rocky jokes. "Are you training to be in Rocky?" for instance. Today there was a woman in her sixties who was very fit, who told me she does the same thing, and then went about proving it, going up and down herself. These are some of the stairs. If one has been to Boston, chances are they're familiar. The Bill Russell status is off to the left.
And this is me all sweaty and hairy getting a little spiky after today's workout.