My friend, I.P. Aard, who works at the National Institute of Running Sciences, was at a conference in Seattle last weekend. She rearranged her return flight to spend a night in Spokane. It always makes me feel good when women go out of their way to spend time with me.
I never met I.P. in person, but we’ve talked on the phone a lot, and I’ve watched videos of her presenting at seminars. She’s considered a top expert in her field even though she’s only 33. At the same time, she is very familiar with my work. She told me she was in the audience at a two-hour seminar I gave a year ago to a packed house in Denver demonstrating techniques to avoid getting hit by bird poop while running.
We went for a run in the morning with a few friends of mine, and I snapped a picture of her, at right, after our run. I spent the rest of the day showing her around Spokane. In the evening, we hung out at my place, watching the new romantic video, “I’ll Meet You at the Beach for an Interval Workout.”
“So, I.P., why do you go by your initials instead of first name?” I asked as we shared a Popsicle when the video was over.
“I just don’t like Isabella that much. It’s too long. Plus, when I discovered I.P. Aard is so similar to “I PR’ed”, I thought, perfect, I’m going with that.”
“I’ve always wondered what’s going on with people’s names at the Institute,” I said. “Last week I was talking to Ayer, and he swears that’s his real name.”
“Ayer O’Beck? It is. Why would you doubt it?”
“Come on, I.P. Ayer O’Beck? Aerobic?”
“You’re right,” I.P. said, glancing thoughtfully at the ceiling. “I never thought of that.”
I.P. took the Popsicle from me and ate the last bit. “So, where am I sleeping tonight?”
“I have a spare bedroom across the hall from mine.”
I.P. raised her eyebrow. “Spare bedroom?”