December 4, 2012

Requiem For an Injury

I don't know when it became normal for my roommates to talk to their TV, but it is. And I don't mean to say that either of them are talking to the programs or characters; no, they address the TV itself. They tell it hello, and then say "ON", and on it goes. I don't recall when that became what I was used to, but I do recall not having a remote control as a kid, having to get up to change the channel. I recall thinking that that was cruelly difficult, since I wasn't always sitting right there, and sometimes I was busy eating. I remember thinking that technology would rid us of the need for physical intervention, and thinking that that would be a wonderful world. I remember thinking, and thinking that thinking was all anyone should ever have to do.

I don't know when that changed, or how, but here we are. I am twisting my foot about, trying to manipulate it in a way that does not hurt, and failing. I would like very much to stop thinking about it, to get moving on it, to lose myself in the rhythmic contractions of quadriceps and hamstrings. It is nice out, the kind of nice that you want to bottle up and save for vacations, or weddings. It is the kind of nice that should be experienced, which is not the same as merely noticing it, or feeling that it is there.

Experience, I've realized, is not about knowing, or thinking. It is doing and feeling and living, and you cannot ask for these things by name, cannot call them down from the sky, cannot turn them on with a word. You cannot say "RUN" and then do it, wake up to find yourself sitting on your floor, embracing your foam roller while the brown rice cooks. Experience is the moment you are in, this step until it's the next step, downhill until it's up. You walk up stairs and your calves quiver and you smile because the rice is done and you have beets to put in it.

But I'm not going to run tonight, not going to have that experience. Instead I am going to drive to my gym and spin on an elliptical, going nowhere. I will plug in headphones and listen to shrieking and screaming vocals about vile things and I will think that I should go faster and harder so I will. I will sweat the same and breath the same and my muscles will sort of twitch in the same pattern but no, no it will not be the same. The air will be nice but the kind of nice that feels like maybe you did bottle it and then forgot about it and now it's kind of stale but you should probably use it anyway since it's bad to waste. I will walk up the stairs and not touch my foam roller and eat rice cereal because I don't feel like cooking and I will not put beets in it since that would be gross.

I will go to work in the morning and stand on my feet but not think about them. I will grab a tamper and tamp because that's what you do with a tamper. There will be microadjustments and the whole damn ritual; golden bronze espresso will trickle like syrup and I will pour milk in it in ways that people seem to enjoy and their happiness will become mine, their smile reflected on my face. I will not care about my foot which will be fine in like a month anyway, and I will experience people and there will be words between us, words that are not "ON", and I will think a lot about all of this.

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