Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tunesday: "Shadow People," Dr. Dog


In 45 years, I want to be as awesome as the Western bow tie guy at 1:59.

As my second marathon approaches, I find myself thinking often about the training regimen for my first — 2011's MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon (yes, that rainy, cold mess).

During that training period, I ran strictly early in the morning at the lake. Urban legends (Lady of the Lake, White Rock goat-man, the consistently cool spot near the dog park) would lead you to believe that strange things occur out there during the witching hours. I never saw anything paranormal; but there were a couple of foggy late-fall days that made running a little eerie.

Enter this song. Written by Dr. Dog — the only good thing to come from Philadelphia (ha, ha) — "Shadow People" is a storyteller's song. Now, I'm typically not big on listening to lyrics; but this song is different. On one particularly foggy morning, listening to lyrics had my mind playing tricks on me (obligatory Geto Boys link HERE). The fog was thick enough that it was a tossup whether I was better off using my Petzl headlamp or not for my 9 miles.

Deciding I still needed to be seen by others who might be on the trail at 4:30 a.m., I opted for the low-light setting, which afforded me about 3 feet of visibility. In front of me, I could just make out the trail and avoid branches that had fallen. Anything farther ahead looked like a blank film projection screen — the only action to watch was the vapor I was running past. My peripheral vision? Shadows.

Around the third mile, this song came on (the shuffle feature just always seems to know what to play), and I paid attention to the lyrics. You can find Dr. Dog's explanation of the song's meaning (a section of Philadelphia, including a thrift store called the Second Mile) at Sterogum. My understanding of "Shadow People" that spooky morning was all about apparitions called shadow people. Don't get me wrong; I don't really believe in this stuff. BUT, in those conditions, running for 90 minutes in dense fog, I wasn't 100 percent certain I was alone at the lake. _________

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