So I mentioned in my recent post about the Human Rights Campaign Dinner something awesome occurring. Let’s dive into that!
As you have read, the day prior I had to work (4:30AM alarm), hustle home and get myself ready and then attend a kickoff event (cocktails involved). Back home to get cleaned up and catch a few hours sleep.
So on August 20, 2022 the alarm went off at 5:00AM. I spent an hour getting ready to run with my friend Jim at 6:30, with a half hour commute in there. We were going to run 14 miles. I am training for a marathon in early October, with the goal of qualifying for Boston in 2024 to right the wrong that was my awful performance there this past April.
Jim and I met a few years back. He works for a home builder and needed an easement from me to begin a new development right behind our house. I trust no one anymore. He calls, I am somewhat of an a-hole, but long story short, I requested a fence (which I got) and he got the required easement. During that process, we of course met, and chatted (I was no longer an a-hole). He is a life long runner. A friendship was struck.
He had run Boston some years ago. I was aspiring to do so. We started running together every Saturday. During runs, we talked, at least for the first half of our runs until we simply ran in silence, trying to grind out the end of that run. Jim always brings his dog, Harley, along. We have run hundreds of miles run together. Runs have ranged from a paltry 13 miles to as long as 20 miles. We have run in temperatures below freezing. Nothing better than a 20 mile run with temps in the teens (not!). It was often hours before I could feel my hands (literally). We have raced against each other (I kinda won those); he has fallen and injured himself; we have supported each other; we have really become close. For someone with quite a few lifelong friends, to make a friend with whom I feel so close in a relatively short amount of time has been wonderful.
During these runs, we talk. We have shared more about each other than I have with most other male friends. Jim shared his battle with alcoholism (you would think I would heed his warnings) and I have shared my time in prison. We have referred to our family members, but have not gone into much detail in that regard. Men generally don’t share in that fashion.
So fast forward to my volunteering for the HRC, greeting every person attending the event. I am standing in my lovely Michael Kors dress, smiling from ear to ear, chatting people up. Then up the escalator comes Jim and his wife. I don’t really notice them until I am greeting them. Jim had no clue, despite the fact that only a few hours before, we talked while we ran (remember, Kandi and I speak in the same voice). No clue. Instantly, I say to myself, WTF. This is an LGBT event, so all inhibitions are gone.
There was an immediate connection! Now the interesting part, which I did not know. Jim and his wife’s son is gay (never came up, but then again, I didn’t completely open up either). Now the good part, his wife is in charge of diversity for a local college. And we have a few mutual friends, including Kim, whom I just met the day before.
Letting the genie out of the bottle was amazing! Now there is no chance in hell I can do this with all of my friends without losing many. But Jim, unbeknownst to me, was the perfect friend to open up to. I wasn’t looking to do so and made a split second decision, but am glad I did.
So here we are (with Jim’s permission) at the dinner. Jim, his lovely wife Magda and Godzilla in the middle. A photo I am extremely proud of!!
How can he wear a suit! Yuk!
Seriously, Jim I thank you and Magda is amazing! Our runs may be a little different from now on….