Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…


Earlier this week, Laurie and I met at my gym for a morning of speed work on the treadmill.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I’m on the treadmill, I need to be plugged in.  I need headphones, a TV, and a magazine, and usually a second magazine just in case the first isn’t doing it for me.

But of course, because I was running with a friend, I opted for distraction nakedness, so when we were running too fast for real conversation, I resorted to reading the closed captions on the televisions 20 feet in front of me.

It just so happened that we were at the gym at exactly the time when the two American hikers were released from Iran’s Evin prison.  I went to high school with one of the hikers, and though he graduated a year after me and I knew him little more than in passing, I’ve been closely following the story since Josh was arrested more than two years ago.

I had heard about the impending release when I signed onto facebook that morning, but at that point everyone was still rather skeptical of the truthfulness of the reports.  It wasn’t until I watched that muted CNN broadcast that it really seemed possible.

Watching the release unfold without the benefit of sound, I found myself writing my own internal monologue for Josh and Shane, imagining what they were thinking and feeling, what they would say when they saw their families for the first time, when they addressed the media, when they returned to the United States.

It seemed real but not real in the eerie quiet of the Planet Fitness, and I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it.

Later that day, I was driving down to an event at the University of Pennsylvania, when CNN coverage turned once again to the hikers.  Their plane, I learned, had just landed in Oman, and family members and reporters waited anxiously for a glimpse of Josh and Shane.

After several minutes of fractured conversation between the anchor in Atlanta and the reporter on the ground in the Middle East, I learned that the doors of the plane had opened and the two men were running down the ramp and straight into the arms of their families.

Because the broadcast was being streamed on the radio straight from television, there were no real efforts to describe the scene, and so once again I found myself having to conjure my missing sense, to paint a picture in my mind.

But let me tell you, even though the sound bytes were enough to send tears streaming down my face as I drove through West Philly, they didn’t begin to compare to the real images that awaited me when I got home that evening.

Photo courtesy of @AP


12 responses to “Sense-less

  1. Black Knight September 23, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I also followed the situation of the 2 hikers by tv and newspapers. Here the immigrants come daily and we feed and cure them. In other Countries if you cross the borders you risk your life or your freedom. This is a crazy world.
    Treadmill? A nightmare, I prefer wind, rain…….

  2. Kara September 23, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I’ve been following that story too. I’m so glad they are free!

  3. Julie (A Case of the Runs) September 23, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Great that you worked out with her distraction-free, but totally understand the need for all those distractions!

  4. Jill September 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I just can’t imagine what the families of those hikers went through (and the hikers away from their families)…..I cry at the drop of a dime when my daughter moved 30 minutes away, I’d surely be committed if this happened to my family. I guess you deal with these things as best you can, but all I can say is that I found myself shedding a tear when I, too, was at the gym when the two were released and immediately thought how happy their families would be. That last picture painted the exact picture in my mind!! I’m sure having a personal connection to one of them, you were smiling big time :).

  5. Angela K. September 23, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    That picture says so much.

  6. adventureisoutthere September 24, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I am so glad they are free! I can’t imagine the fear they’ve been in wondering how it would all end.

  7. the dawn September 25, 2011 at 11:19 am

    wow. i can’t believe that you know the hiker! how crazy. so thankful that they are free and out of danger!

  8. Sarah S @RunningOnWords September 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    That must have been so intense for you! I’m glad they are freed and your friend is ok!

  9. Johann September 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Unreal! That photo is so full of emotions. Just so wonderful that they are back home.

  10. Coy September 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I can’t imagine for a minute what it must be like to be held in a country like that. I would feel at their mercy in EVERY SINGLE WAY. The fact that you knew one of them had to have amplified that 10 x. I’m glad their home and a picture is worth a thousand words.

  11. RunToTheFinish September 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I can’t imagine doing intervals next to someone on the mill… now do I get competitive in weird ways with people running next to me who have no idea that I am racing…yes 🙂

  12. Tasha @ Voracious Eats September 28, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Stories like this always make me cry, too. What an ordeal they have been through. I’m so glad it has finally ended for them!

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