Quickly I jot here, as this secret agent has a 9 o’clock. But it is not on my autobike that I go. In metric, that’s -1 degree C what I mean? In English Imperial, that’s 30 degrees F that. With the winds kicking up to 15 mph by noon, that’s really F’ing cold.
Last year I rode in the bitter, windy cold 15 times in 3 weeks to teach a two hour class. I didn’t get the feeling to my fingertips or my X and Y chromosomes till mid Spring. Yes, I know I’ve written that before, but it seems that memory goes as you get older. Or maybe it’s just that I have been in the cold too much and have lost brain cells related to processing sounds and reading words properly. So, I have either early onset dementia exacerbated by excessive cold winds on an autobike, or I am just old. Tomorrow I turn 34. I will be exactly the same age my dad’s brother was when I was born. I wonder if he had these problems when he was my age. One bright spot is that the other 12/28 baby in the family has his wits about him and still runs a few times a week and travels around the world in his retirement.
In any case, I am still one of the youngest in my extended family, but at my mid-thirties, I still have the aches and pains brought on by using my youth for good (or at least fun). The knees that bother me are a result of four years of eggbeater treading water and a drunken spill or two. The bad shoulders get creaky in the cold, leftover pain from too much wrenching of my shoulders doing the backstroke or pump-faking the water polo ball. Yes, somewhere I have written breifely about these things before, too. But now that I am in my mid-thirties, I am allowed to repeat myself. Also, not everyone that is reading this knows of the senility from which I suffer. Maybe I should just go back on Metadate and gradually increase my dose until I don’t need that morning cup of coffee or even to sleep anymore.
Sleep is for the weak, and I get weak early in evenings, finding the pillow most nights (except the holidays and the night before the night before my marriage) before 10pm. This often times only means that I am tired and need a nap, apparently, because half the time I wake up before the bell-ringing monks at the Buddhist temple a quarter mile from here. Maybe I should just be a monk.
It is at this time of year that people make their pledges for the new year. I think that’s a bit of malarkey. I think everyone should make their birthday resolutions. And people should be a little more realistic about things. For example, when I was younger, my New Year’s resolution was to do a hundred sit-ups a day to get rid of baby fat. I still have baby fat. Another common resolution was that I would read more and get better math grades. I never read more until I entered university. And my grades in math went exponentially down in high school, starting with “Bs” my freshman year, ending with “Ds” my senior year.
Resolutions are too far-reaching, in my experience. They will not stick. So, instead of making an empty promise to myself and the resolution universe (which will get lost in all the other empty promises floating around the stratosphere this time of year anyway), I’ll make a 33% birthday resolution and start with that. And I make these resolutions as a way test the waters in how to proceed with the rest of my life, thus doing away with resolutions all together. (This idealistic early morning writer looks a little into the future and says there will be times of lapse, i.e. when he reaches the land of beer, bratwurst and cheese, all bets are off). After 1/3 of a year, we’ll see where I am.
But, before that time, on the journey in Asia, I am devoted. I will write a letter a day to a family member when I am on the Asian trail. I will practice the art of caring for my gastro-intestinal region (that’ll be difficult with all the cheap pad thai and Thai beer in the first month, and dal tadka and buttered chipati in Nepal; but excess is what needs to be managed). I will take the time to absorb my surroundings with mostly sober eyes and a mostly monk-like devotion to the experiences I will have.