Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Running Like a Calvinist

This is just a silly thought that reverberates through my head sometimes when I run...

My Grandmommy, God rest her soul, was a true Southern Gentlewoman. There was not a single point of etiquette with which she was unfamiliar. I was always instinctively on my "best behavior" with her, and it was not uncomfortable, but rather a sort of security. Knowing how to act in situations, not due to mere personal experience, but because Grandmommy said that it was correct, was actually comforting.

Lessons learned ranged from where to place the silverware when setting the table to how to place the fork and knife on the plate when one was finished with one's meal. Cover your mouth when sneezing, yawning, or certain points in chewing. Sit up straight. Don't point. Never, never, never put catsup on your steak- even though Grandfather always did. (horrors!) Please, thank you, yes Ma'am, no Ma'am. Always write Thank You notes- always; a rule which, were she to have lived into our age of email, would still stand inviolable.

Don't spit in public.

Oh Grandmommy, I'm so, so sorry.

Since I began the Couch 2 5K running program 8 weeks ago, spitting has become a subject of question for me for the first time in my life. Now, the beginning runs were not a problem here. But once I began running for 8 minutes or more at a stretch, I began to feel the uncomfortable need to spit. Having been raised to be a Lady, I refused to do so, even on the lonely back roads when nobody but the chipmunks might witness such a breach of feminine bearing.

And then I came across this briefest of passages in The Institutes of the Christian Religion, (Which, yes, I am still reading- finally into November on the schedule!).

In discussing "The discipline of the (Roman Catholic) clergy and its degeneration", John Calvin tells us, among other things, that, "In the time of Cyrus... it remained a religious custom that no one should blow mucus out of his nostrils, but was permitted to suck it up and feed within (to the point of putrefaction) the noisome humors..."

In short, Calvin says, "Spit it out!"

I am a Calvinist. When needed, while running, I spit. (But only when nobody's looking)

Sorry Grandmommy!

1 comment:

avalarue said...

Well! I am super sure the Episcopalians would NEVER approve!

However, a good Baptist might just blow that mucous into her hand and very quickly transfer it to a handy tissue from her pocket. If done in a rapid manner, Grandmommy would never catch on!

And I am very sure that Grandmommy would have passed you up on her bicycle anyway!

You keep runnung, girl.