On January 11, 2023

Running into questions

By Dom Cioffi

When I go out for a run, I follow a regular route. Some runners like to mix things up and head in a variety of directions, but I like my set, predictable loop.

The meandering circle I run is almost exactly five miles long and encompasses a variety of hilly terrain. While I love the ease of the downhills and flat stretches, the uphill’s test my will and perseverance – something I believe is needed for a good workout.

I’ve been running this loop for nearly a decade so I’m familiar with every inch.

I know the old lady at the bottom of the second hill is likely to be sitting on her porch when the weather is nice. She always gives me a delicate wave when I pass by.

I’m familiar with the guy at my halfway point who drives the plumbing repair van because he’s always tinkering around his house while smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. He’s not a fan of waving, but I do get the occasional head nod from him.

There’s a little girl living on my longest straightaway who loves to write notes in chalk on the sidewalk in front of her house. She’ll sketch things like “Have a nice day” and “Be kind to people.” I’ve never witnessed her doing this, but I’m sure it’s a girl given that the letter “i” and exclamation points are always dotted with hearts.

I’m not positive, but I’m fairly sure these people and host of others also recognize me when I pass by. After so many years, I’m likely the person who they look at out the window and say, “Good God, that guy is always running!”

Along my daily runs, I periodically see discarded or lost items on the ground. Many times, it’s a baby mitten or a rattle or some other infant accoutrement that was likely tossed aside by an oblivious child. Mom was probably talking on her cell phone so the whole event goes unnoticed and the item is lost. 

Other times, I’ll see discarded garbage strewn along the roadside. This always angers me. It also triggers a memory of being in high school riding along with friends when one of them rolled up a fast-food bag and nonchalantly tossed it out the back window. Everyone laughed, including me, but the pit in my stomach told me it was a stupid maneuver.

The other day I caught site of a lone sports card just underneath a bush. I passed it by, but the next day I stopped and picked it up. I collected tons of baseball cards as a kid, so my curiosity was piqued.

It turned out to be a 1991 Donruss Randy Johnson card. Johnson was only three years into his Hall of Fame pitching career when this card was released. I stood there staring at it, flipping it over from front to back several times and wondering how in the heck this one random card ended up on the ground.

The card wasn’t in great shape; the elements had damaged all four corners, which was unfortunate because, in good condition, the card was likely valuable enough to be collected. Even in its poor condition, I tucked it into my waistband and headed home, thinking I may have stumbled onto a hidden gem.

For the rest of my run, I pondered how a 23-year-old baseball card ended up on the ground on my running route. I wondered if the card, along with others, were headed to a collector somewhere in town and was inadvertently swept out the car window, never to be found. Or maybe some kid got into his dad’s collection and took one card out to show his friends and lost it during his travels.

Who knows?

When I got home, I did a little sleuthing and discovered you could purchase that same 1991 Randy Johnson card in mint condition on Amazon for $2.49. I walked over to the garbage pail, opened it up, and dumped the card in.

I felt bad bringing the card’s journey to an end, but my days of collecting are long past and I didn’t have the energy to add it to my other cards deep in the attic.

This week’s feature, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” needed a little bit of energy to get going, but once it did, it was a wild ride.

Like the first “Knives Out” film, this incarnation finds detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) working to uncover a multi-layered mystery. This time, he’s on a Greek island with an eclectic cast of characters invited there by a reclusive billionaire.

There’s nothing like a good murder-mystery to keep your curiosity on high-alert. This film is fun, engaging, and full of surprises. And the high-profile cast makes it even more enjoyable to watch.

An enigmatic “B+” for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” now available for streaming on Netflix.

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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