I’m a happy guy when I’m jogging. If you knew me years ago you’d think that was a ridiculous statement, but two days ago I ran in the sleet falling in the Metro DC area. I put on my put my tech toy, the modern version of the Walkman that shall remain nameless but starts with i and ends in pod, and played a dozen or so tunes I first heard on Chuck, a few others (like Oasis’ Wonderwall) that I personally associate with the show, and I don’t want the music to end. I just keep running, watching scenes from the show in my head. I’m up to five miles now (8k, easily), a couple or three times a week. Not bad for an old man with a granddaughter. And if you follow me below the fold I’ll get around to explaining what this has to do with Chuck.
Interesting thing happened when I started this, not quite two years ago. I lost some weight; 38 lbs. to be exact (that’s over 17 kilos to the rest of the civilized world). In other words, I pretty much got a whole new body, or at least one I hadn’t seen in a long time. We’ll call it a good, used body. Besides being able to run far longer than I ever thought necessary before, there were some other fringe benefits. Oh, the smiles I got at work – smiles that came from the most interesting people 😉
And seriously, it was a transformation that changed more than just the way others looked at me, if only temporarily. I found it changed the way I looked at others, the way I looked at their particular obstacles and struggles, and it changed my relationship to them. It had to. Achieving a new level or developing a new talent will do that to you, like any change in your circumstances will, and it doesn’t matter if that change is positive or negative. You see things differently.
This was not the first time such a transformation had occurred in my life. When I was about 40 and recently divorced, I bought a Les Paul and got into a rock-band with a few wanna-bes, and had a great time living out a fantasy. Bought a red sports car too. Oh yes, I was ridiculous, and probably annoying. But do you recognize these symptoms, my friends? Trust me on this, you learn a lot from the experience, the hard way. It may be the school of hard knocks when all is said and done, but the first time change is thrust upon you, it does impart a little wisdom for use the next time it happens.
I noticed a built-in contradiction in my experience, though. When you go through these changes or change yourself, the people you are closest to, your family, friends and most especially your spouse, don’t treat you differently at all. They know the “old you” every bit as much as the “new you”, and treat you well, regardless. To them, you haven’t changed in any but the most superficial ways, and true enough, you haven’t.
I start to understand Chuck in terms of a mid-life crises. He’s the same, but he isn’t. Now he’s accomplished and not sure what he wants to do with his new-found abilities. The world is his oyster. If only he liked oysters.
The people around Chuck are treating him differently, and some, like Awesome, even treat him with more respect. But not those who know him best and care the most, like Ellie and Sarah. In fact, their biggest reaction to his change in attitude has been annoyance, and Chuck himself is almost twitchy with impatience. He’s the one who doesn’t understand who he is; not them. Indeed, we understand him better than he understands himself at this juncture.
And if there’s one thing that Chuck needs right now from Sarah, it’s patience. It feels like he needs it from us, too.