Cyber-Gish | Kiffin's blog
So there could be a number of reasons why I am running so lousy lately. Mostly that fun and relaxing two week vacation in Crete has a lot to do with it, but that has been awhile ago. Compared with my time before the vacation and the time I ran today there is a difference of nearly two minutes. How is that possible?
Here are a number of reasons why I think that this is so:
With time and lot of patience (and eating a little less and getting a little more stressed) I will be back up there soon before I realize it.
It feels like any moment now I will get hit by that lightning over there. I can feel it in the air, getting closer and closer. I predict the future, attract it towards me with my pending thoughts of doom. Shouldn't be doing that.
The bike trip back home is not even ten minutes, but all it takes is a split second. I know that. Huge and elaborate capillaries of light, sparkles really, are spreading out across the darkened sky as the rains falls like it has just begun and will never ever stop.
That's right when the bolt from heaven comes down in a wink and a flash, neatly striking the base of the tree trunk just to the right of me, a surgical swipe through the air.
What a tremendous BOOM it makes! The concussion and blistering heat blasts in my face. Shredded bark and broken twigs float down upon me and have this funny electrical burned-up smell to it, mixed with blue ozone.
I am now pedalling faster and faster towards the safety of my own home, and I can hear the huge tree falling to the ground with a tremendous triple crack and then a thumping crash. A distant echo of the lightning flash which struck it down not ten seconds before.
Nature can be brutal and wonderful at the same time. What are the chances of experiencing such a miracle and living through it to write about it later? Life goes on.
So you just got back home, and already you are preparing for the following day. Just try and relax and enjoy the moment, will you.
Believe it or not, you can look twenty years younger within five days. The question though is the following: is that really what you want?
I was seriously considering taking advantage of this unique offer which I discovered quite by accident in my email in-box. Their many claims that years of scientific research had resulted in this amazing breakthrough seemed convincing enough for me. And then of course the before-and-after pictures were beyond belief.
To top it all off, this offer was absolutely free, and with a money-back guarantee!
However, upon closer introspection I realized that perhaps this looking twenty-years younger thing would not be the best approach for me. I wasn't that old now was I?
I could see it before my eyes.
This guy would walk into work and everyone would look at him in complete amazement. This guy would be me. The kind fellow colleagues would raise their heads, look in my direction and wonder to themselves and out loud: Who is this kid?
Looking younger is not all of what it's cut out to be.
Alright so he hates it that he is getting older. They have been telling him this from the moment he was born, and they repeat it each and every day in which he awakes and finds himself. Older and older and on and on with little or no hope of this inevitable process relenting in any way possible. He thinks, again. Imagine that the real truth is already "that while he might be assuming he is aging, the complete opposite is what it is all about." There is this small wrinkle in time which everyone (including he) has forgotten about, passed right over like a bird in flight. A lofty escape from fright. An oversight. All of which puts him in an awkward position when the time of truth finally arrives. And then what is he expected to say, admit, describe? As if he ever could make any sense out of it at all.
Every year around this time of the winter season, when the air becomes extra dry and the temperature suddenly drops from one day right on to the next, the skin of my hands and fingers gets all chapped. Cracks and crevices form at various and unpredictable places, especially on or near the knuckles or places where the proper bending and stretching of skin is required for normal motion and gestures. In Dutch they call such a crack using the word "kloof." Interestingly enough, the word "kloof" also means canyon, chasm or rift which is a good description for the microcosm fissure which has formed various painful chaps and chapping points on my hands. Sometimes it gets so bad that these "kloven" open up even deeper and start to bleed, thousands of desperate red blood cells oozing out and escaping to who knows where. I look closely and inspect the situation, almost as if I am flying in my own personal Cessna airplane, arching low along the flatlands and then at a slight angle along the places where the cliffs open up. Yes these are the many cracks of my hand which are opening up, and I am gazing down into the canyon of my skin. The microscopic world has much in common with the amazing beauty of nature's uncertain landscapes.
The C.G. Jung page has been redesigned and it looks really impressive. Just the right balance of colors and graphics that would make even Mr. Jung himself feel very pleased.
Not only is there a good slew of articles and papers, but the discussion forum is also an interesting place to visit.
Among others, you have the following forums from which to choose:
An interesting essay you might like to read is called On Life After Death by C.G. Jung.
Highly recommended, so please visit.
One could say that it is "almost" too cold to go running this afternoon. However, even if the temperature is barely hovering above freezing, we do not want to feel even slightly daunted by only one of nature's many ways. One of many many ways, just one really. There he goes like a dart piercing the icy air like a spear, the coolness left behind as if this was all meant to happen anyway. As the heart beats and the humid air condenses right in front and then passing by it will just not quite get dark enough upon his return. A good time for pizza you could say.
Alright, so I go rejected again. (Hey, I am over-qualified again...) No big deal. And now for something completely different. Took my jogging route counter-clockwise this time around. Quite an interesting new perspective on life, health and happiness, I have to admit.
In many respects the older one gets the slower one becomes. Not true for the running and jumping and skipping antelope who is yours truly. You see, I set an all time record this afternoon. Not bad for someone my age who tries to pretend that he is still a young-buck athlete.
That's how long it took me. Normally my afternoon lope through the countryside takes me somewhere between twenty-four-and-a-half to twenty-six minutes. Why all of a sudden the big spurt of acceleration and the tremendous energy? How did I completely blow away my previous record of twenty-four-and-fourteen?
(Then again, what are the odds that the very moment I crossed the finish line, the driveway of my house, and hit the stopwatch, that the hundreds of seconds froze exactly to "00" right in time? One in a hundred you might say, but I say not.)
The turnstile into un-reality. The black-hole taking me to nowhere. Whoosh and then there it was again. Don't die of a heart-attack or else.
How did it happen? Don't know, but it feels good anyway.
Sometimes when I am running, my mind runs amok and starts thinking up the weirdest things. Maybe it has to do with an overdose of endorphins or a lack of oxygen or a combination of other physiological changes to my body, I don't know.
This afternoon I kind of lost touch with the world around me, running all alone in that vast and expansive countryside, flat as far as the eye could see, way off over there into nowhere which was the horizon. And in a flash I thought of something which seemed like a wonderful idea at the time, but later upon deeper reflection was in fact a disturbing thought. How could I think that?
--- Suppose I ran as hard as I could until I got a heart-attack and died, right then and there. Then I would be lying here in the middle of nowhere lost as an unknown being and to be engulfed by nature, that movement of nature which continues unabated as if nothing can change it. ---
Everyone would be rid of me. It would be the ultimate escape. All would be gone and I would be free at last. The ultimate freedom.
Then my last thoughts would change things, but too late. They would be that I should have never thought of that in the first place. Stupid. I would regret it, wishing that I had never wished it to happen at all. Please do not let me die here in the middle of nowhere, forgive me. Stupid me.
When I crossed the bridge, that is about the usual point when I awake from my running reverie and start thinking normal thoughts again.
Crazy world we live in isn't it?
I realize that it has been more than a week ago and perhaps this may not be news fresh off of the press, but better late than never. This is a video which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that yes I did in fact complete the ten kilometer Bloemendaalseloop in just three seconds longer than forty-nine minutes. This is a pretty large video (2.5 MBytes) so it might take awhile before it is downloaded and you can play it. Please be patient.
This film was created using my Sony DCR-TRV19E Camcorder together with Pinnacle Studio DV (Studio 8 with 1394/FireWire capture card). For a larger view of the same video, please click here.
The almost world-famous Bloemendaalseloop 10 kilometers run has been completed by yours truly in a stellar (are you ready for this?) 49 minutes and 4 seconds (and without stopping, believe it or not). Not bad, not bad at all.
As the Bloemendaalseloop marathon approaches quickly (it will be taking place the day after my birthday, and I have signed up for the medium 10 km contest), it is important that I run each and every day in preparation -- as well as sporting in the evenings at the Living Well fitness center for my overall cardio-vascular condition.
However, as it had been raining the whole day, I kept putting off my daily run forever. In fact it has been raining the whole darn week, maybe even the last two weeks, I don't know it seems like that.
Not now, maybe later, another time, in an hour or so, just postpone it, procrastinate.
Until I finally thought what-the-heck what does a little moisture matter anyway, it's not that bad at all. I put on my running attire, stretched and took a couple deep breaths before stepping outside.
Lo-and-behold it had stopped raining. So I ran the thirty minutes and the whole time it did not rain even a single drop. After I had cooled down a bit I walked back inside the house.
Lo-and-behold it started raining again. The second I went inside and was engulfed by the house. Was that a coincidence or not, some symbolic gesture, a spiritual message sent down through the impossible ways of nature?
All it meant was that you have to dare the circumstances once in a while. No matter what reality they may proclaim, or irreality I should say. Go out and dare and do not care and you might just be surprised how things really turn out.
Gotta go running, gotta go running, running, running. So what if it is raining a little bit? Now a little more and then later a little less. Sooner or later that is. A little bit more and a little bit less. Or not even. Moisture is good for the skin, and the smell of all that wetness inspires the mind, splatters droplets upon the way of thinking, and they even say that sometimes enough of that miraculous substance on your forehead can also stimulate hair growth. Do I really care? Now is the time to go for it, now or never. See you in a bit, a bit. As if I really need it.
So they say that the weekend is a time for fun and relaxation. Even if the future remains uncertain and there are many unseen potholes in the road ahead, I must pull over once in awhile and think things out. In the end this means NOT thinking at all, if you know what I mean, just sitting around at the side of the road doing nothing particular.
I hope you do not mind.
The ultimate form of fun and relaxation means completely forsaking all resemblances of mental hocus-pocus for the sake of something which is ultimately better.
Or so they say.
When you think about it logically, expression is the key. Interaction with the surrounding world is a form of expression. Turning inward and contemplating all those spiritual concepts weaving complex patterns in your mind is another form of expression. Just going to the nearby grocery store to do your shopping is an expression.
Without one kind or other of expression, the human form becomes a non-entity.
This is a picture of the poor unwanted tooth that Marlies got yanked out recently. It was necessary to remove this (bizarre-shaped) tooth because it was deformed and cramped the rest of her teeth too much, making them crooked. You see, this tooth never formed into a proper shape. Instead, its growth hesitated and then stopped half way as a spindly cone-shaped thingy. It looked like a miniature shark-tooth for some reason, kind of scary to look at, if you looked really closely. So it was good to have this fluke of nature extracted and removed from her life forever. But being the boringly sentimental person that I am, I felt a need to record the event and give the poor tooth some form of everlasting life on my web log. The tooth extraction episode took place a week ago now. Since then, her ever-tightening braces have shifted her teeth and moved them closer together. You can barely see (a slit) anymore that there used to be a tooth in there at all. Life goes on.
In the article Einstein and Newton showed signs of autism, the author claims that even the most famous scientists can thank their genius on a mental handicap which is both restrictive and expansive at the very same time. You see, Newton "hardly spoke, was so engrossed in his work that he often forgot to eat, and was lukewarm or bad-tempered with the few friends he had." And then, let's have a look at Einstein who was "a loner, and repeated sentences obsessively until he was seven years old. He became a notoriously confusing lecturer." Does this qualify one for autism? Well, then I guess I am autistic also. The chances are that you also qualify to jump on the band-wagon. Welcome to the club.
So one would imagine that by now I should be able to remember which toothbrush belongs to me. Or not? For someone who claims to have a knack for details and enjoys a nearly perfect photographic mind since birth, how could such a trivial thing as a lame toothbrush be so difficult? As if just the color would not be enough of a distinguishing factor, a natural characteristic. Was it the purple or the blue one? The blue one. Wait, there is a dark blue one as well as a transparent blue one, which one is it? You see, there had to be an absolutely unique and overpowering factor which in my mind at least would cause my brain to recognize, reach out and grab the correct artifact without an inkling of hesitation. So what I did was this: take a strip of black electrician's tape and wrap it around the base of the toothbrush in such a way that the correct utensil stuck out enough for me in the mixed up crowd of six plus toothbrushes that there would be no room for confusion. And the amazing thing is that it works! So from now on, the very first thing I do whenever I buy a new toothbrush (who cares what color it is any more, the design and/or shape of the bristles) is rip off the plastic wrapping, open up the box, cut off a strip of black tape and wrap it in place. Solidly and unhesitatingly in place, parallel and connected and taut so that it stretches just enough to be able to withstand the moisture common to all bathrooms and to remain affixed indefinitely. The toothbrush acquires a sense of professionalism that does not quit, and the friction of the tape in the palm of my hand feels amazingly good to the touch, as if by brushing now everything works much better than the default state of mind. To imagine that toothbrushes are not the highest form of spiritual awareness is a risk I am not willing to take. You never know, so just in case.
This is what my dear dentist had to tell me that morning. "You see, you can compare it to a porcelain teacup which has a very small crack in it. Perhaps it could be that the crack is very, very small and not visible to the human eye, but it is there nonetheless, I can assure you. As time passes and you keep pouring yourself yet another cup of tea, the crack will get bigger each time the teacup is used. Now, you could choose to do nothing about it if you feel it does not bother you, but in the end the crack will get big enough that a piece of the teacup will break off altogether. It is up to you really." But that is not my question, in fact I had not even asked a question in the first place. Also, I never drink tea and have never been a real tea drinker type of person. Typical how dentists do not listen very well to the patient. They just go off into the clouds on these weird tangents trying to explain such complicated matters as cracks in teeth by comparing them to porcelain teacups. As if I am some moron, who cannot figure things out if they are described in adult terms. By gosh, I went to the university and have a diploma to prove it. I will have to bring a copy of my diploma with me for my next dentist appointment so that I can show him the proof. How dare he treat me that way! All I had said was that this pain I was having in my bottom right molar had started in the first place when he had replaced the original filling. At the time he claimed that it was getting too old and turning blue along the edges which meant it was time to replace it before something more major came up. Ironically, by actually replacing this filling, rather than preventing potential problems as he claimed, it had caused a major problem, namely this aggravating pain I had been having for the last two years. But the dentist would not listen nor admit that perhaps his previous treatment could have ever possibly caused this pain of mine. Could even be just a mental thing for all he could care about. No, I was certainly mistaken. I had later on more than likely bitten on something really hard, a seed or piece of bone or walnut shell, and this is the cause of all my misery. He held up his forefinger and thumb to my face holding the imaginary piece of whatever it had been. I could almost see it he was so convincing, at least he thought. When I tried to explain things chronologically using facts and events and dates, he did not want to listen. Instead he went on and on about this porcelain teacup episode. In the end, I just let it happen in order to avoid a major conflict. When I left I stopped by the reception and made an appointment to have my filling replaced and this (mental) crack of mine fixed. Life is like a teacup, isn't it?
So the question which has been burning in my mind for the last few months has been whether or not to donate my organs when I die. I have been thinking about it seriously for some time now, vacillating between an insecure "no" to an enthusiastic "yes." When I think about it rationally it makes perfect sense, but when I let the emotional side of me take over, there are a number of bothersome doubts. What if this or what if that or should I this.
All of a sudden it hit me. Who am I to decide whether or not I should donate my organs? When I came into this world, God gave me with all his pureness of love this wonderful body of mine, including all the organs and tissue. Nothing less than a blessing from above which I should appreciate with every fiber of my being. Realize that when the time comes I should thankfully and freely allow the less fortunate others to use vital parts of myself to give them a better life. This is truly a miracle. This is not for me to decide, how dare I think that way! So I have become a donor by filling out the required donor registration card. Let's just say that not a single viable organ or tissue of mine has been forgotten.
Every viable part of me is ready to enhance life and spread the love of God. If you are also thinking about becoming a donor, then I can recommend checking out the Foundation for Donor Information site for more details.
Everyone knows that Sunday is officially the so-called day of rest. So that is exactly what I decided to do. Just rest and rest. In order to make this seemingly distant goal appear even closer than it normally should or ever could be, I made a symbolic gesture, one having to do with restfulness in its very essence. That is, I finally fixed our creaking bed which has been making so much noise lately that sleeping became a challenge. It has been getting worse and worse after all these years, and with the many countless episodes of kids jumping up and down on it, the squeaks and peeping sounds have only gotten worse. Took the whole bed apart and rebuilt it, tightening each and every screw as well as I could without breaking the handle off of the screwdriver. Working hard but also pretending to rest since it is Sunday by the way. Once the mattresses were put back on top of the bed frame, I hesitated and lay down ever so gently to test it for good measure. And it worked, not a single squeaky noise-like sound. Now slumber will be as silent and restful as it was always meant to be.
You could say that I kind of blew my stack pretty bad the other day. Now that I am of sober mind and can look back on the episode like a distant and objective observer, I feel a little bad that it ever happened in the first place. How could I have allowed this to happen? Shame on me, I seem like such a nice down-to-earth kind of guy, but that can be deceiving. However, at the same time I understand what went wrong and believe that it was destined to happen one day sooner or later. That was just the day it was supposed to happen, always going to happen no matter what. All that energy and frustration building up inside, hot steam needing an escape, tension ready to snap and bring down everything else with it. Too bad I had to fork out a ton of euros for repair costs, even more to come next year when the glass people finally come by. That is my punishment. The law of retribution will always catch up with you and level you from behind, even if you do not expect it or if you are foolish enough actually to think that you can escape the throes of nature and its balanced ways of keeping everything even and fair.
You see, this is how it went. I was having one of those busy and frustrating days, feeling overly chaotic. Like I was not getting any where useful, kind of hanging around, but at the same time in continuous motion the whole time. How was this possible? Like those dreams where you are running a race and your two feet are stuck to the ground and cannot move. The day had been non-stop in and out and throughout, with so much to do and arrange, and even more to do after that. I had risen extra early that morning to get up and running while I could ahead of time. Check out all my emails and filter through the lists of potential employers, send off another handful of applications (only to get rejected again after a couple of weeks but that's life), clean the house and take care of the kids, fix certain fixtures over there and other broken objects over here, do the groceries. All the while that the wife and mother was away so that she could bring home the bacon. Sensitive subject, so I will not go into the details. Men are kind of weird in that regard. The perennial bringers home of good old bacon.
So what does my wife say when she gets home? I am not sure at the time if it is intentional or it just slips out, but that does not matter. It happens and that is enough to launch me into the land of no return. Some (snide) remark about how I have nothing else to do the whole day and why I had not done this and/or that also. Just cannot figure it out. Like here I am without work so I have so much free time to do everything and ontop of that even more than everything, including the stuff I just happen to forget about because I am caught in the spin cycle of chaotic incompleteness. I had kindly asked her earlier on a number of occasions to "please" not say that again because it upset me. Please think about it will you? But she had forgotten about the tinderbox of a husband she had been stuck with the last four months. She went on and on diatribing as if it were completely normal. "I just cannot figure it out..." she mumbled while she shook her head, "...you don't have that much to do."
As if slamming the front door wasn't hard enough to get my non-verbal point across, I decided to slam it a second time really really hard. As hard as I possibly could. Actually I was so enraged (almost crazed) that I could not have decided, it just happened. With one quick swinging arc of nearly one hundred and eighty degrees it just happened. The glass in the door shattered all over the place. The lock was all bent and messed up so badly that the door would no longer shut properly. If that had not happened and shaken me awake, I probably would have kept on slamming the door again and again and again. Hey Dad, what's that guy doing over there?! C'mon little Herman let's get out of here and go back home where it's safe.
The locksmith came this afternoon and fixed the door so that it can be shut properly. That was sixty-five euros down the drain what a waste. Before that, the guy for the glass came, yanked out the splintered pieces the best he could, glued a glass sheet ontop of the shattered shards just for safe-keeping, and hopefully by the end of January someone can come by and replace the mess. My wife told the kids just to say that someone kicked a ball there by accident. As if some kid's ball could generate such collateral damage. I tell them just to tell the truth, that their crazed father slammed the door too hard by accident. So what happened to the door? I guess I just shut it too hard (shoulder shrug).
So how do I feel about all of this? Not good, because it was a waste of time and energy and money. Bowing your cool is not very cool at all. Bad father, bad husband, shame on you. You must be alert and on your toes day in and day out so that you provide a constant role model for your children. Someone they can cherish and look up to. In that regard I failed, and my image was shattered just as badly as that glass in the door. And what do the neighbors think? To be honest, I could care less. I did get my point across though, but I could have done it a better more civilized way.
Too bad the kids still think that I am crazy. Maybe I am. All that broken glass all over the place.
Although it is now freezing outside, I am still going to rough it out and go running. The die-hard that I am. For the first time this year, the temperature has dropped down below freezing. But I refuse to let such trivial matters like the temperature prevent me from remaining fit and keeping my dashing and youthful figure intact. I better go before it gets too dark. I might accidentally step into a pot hole and end up breaking my ankle. That would be a real drag. As there happens to be alot of water in the surrounding area, e.g. canals, lakes and ditches, the moisture has condensed just above the ground. The laws of nature interact and give the world an eerie and mysterious look. Like some painting which is slowly dripping upside-down. So here I go, I will disappear into this magical world of thick white mist, and maybe I will never come back. Never ever. When and if I do get back, I will see if I have enough energy left over to finish off this entry with the final and real results. Yet another adventure in my unpredictable roller-coaster life. Give me about forty-five minutes please...
For some strange reason, every evening before my Sunday tennis match with the neighbors, I always get a bad case of the farts. In Dutch the nice way to describe this ailment is to say you have a case of "winderigheid" meaning "windiness." Having to fart during an important tennis match can be quite the disadvantage. It is not like I know these people that well that we can fart together on the same court and just laugh about it. So I just hold it in the best I can and play as if there is nothing wrong. At times it just slips out, especially when I make my stellar diving attempts to return a near ace. Or I can do it tactfully by wandering to a so-called strategic position at the back corner of the court and let it loose. My intestines begin to rumble and the excess pockets of air coalesce to form a veritable balloon of extraneous gas which has to be emitted. Therefore emit it with gusto, but as politely as possible. If you stand close enough to the net, you can use this tactics to form a cloud of gas which nearly knocks out the opponent on the other side. Or better yet, a smoke screen behind which you can volley unpredictable balls or slam them straight at the gagging enemy. That is most probably why we won last night, so farting does not have to be that bad after all.
Well, as it turned out, being sick today was just the right medicine for me. Lying in bed, I had time to recover, think about things, relax and do nothing, watch an occasional film or talk show on the television, and read some more Krishnamurti. As I am getting sicker I am getting better at the same time. Purge all those poisons from my system. To recover from the ills of every day life it is often a good idea to get sick first. Like today, not that I had much say in the matter. It just happened. Most of the time this is the body's way to grab your attention, and it will do each and every person much goodness to heed to these warning messages and do nothing for a couple of days. Hopefully for my interview tomorrow afternoon I will not talk too much like some snot-ball kid sniffling all over the place and hacking. Just call me the hacking professional on his way onwards.
If we keep our eyes looking ahead of us we will get nowhere. If we look around as we walk we will bump into many unexpected objects. Some might be pointed and dangerous while others are soft and soothing. By not looking around, the path remains pretty predictable, but at the same time we never suffer any unforeseen objects which just happen to get in the way. However, there is a fine line between watching everything and focusing on those relevant objects within reach. Some kind of middle path or balanced existence or whatever you want to call it. So where do we go from here? Well, that is pretty much up to you.
There was this little girl sitting across from me. I estimated her age to be around three or four years old. Her grandmother was sitting next to her, and the little girl kept repeating grandma this and grandma that about every ten seconds or so. Hey grandma look over there, grandma I wanna do this, grandma can I have some more now, grandma I am thirsty again, hey I am hungry grandma, no grandma not there but here, and on and on and on. The grandma was amazingly patient, and for each request and/or question she gave a casual, relaxed and respectful response to the little three year old. Very very patient with a loving tone of voice. This was pretty impressive, especially since it was obvious that this had been going on the whole day during the quaint visit of this truly "adorable" granddaughter. Maybe she had even spent the night before at grandma's house. No no grandma, yes yes I mean no grandma. Grandma, gran-nan-an-ma-maa (the little girl started singing quite loudly and somewhat falsely but that does not matter). That little girl was a non-stop bundle of energy and noise and movement. She would mumble to herself, get really loud, and then mumble again looking out the window. Why did this scene seem so appropriate at the time that I now feel an urge to record it here? Well, recently I have felt very relieved that my own four wild-and-crazy children are now old enough that they no longer require such unending attention. Just listening to this energetic little girl was driving me (completely) wacko, so I could imagine what a strain that would be on an older mind beyond the sixty years mark. Some day I too would turn sixty years. By watching this scene and thinking about it, I realized that I had not yet completely escaped the throes of childhood stuff. You see, some day (hopefully) my children would have their own children, and then sooner or later I would be sitting next to my own version of a grandchild listening and being patient. Just like the scene right across from me. At least I hoped. If my children had children, if I lived that long, if they didn't end up leaving and never seeing me again, say moving away to Australia or America. Life as a grandparent would be fun, but less demanding than being an actual direct-parent. I could be patient and respectful and not worry how this child of my child was, because my new role would be a happy-go-lucky type of grandpa, a type of meta-parent. Much much better. That would be fun some day.
Had that weird concentration problem again today. It seems to be getting worse at times and it is worrying me somewhat. What happens is this: when I try to read a book, take part in a conversation, watch a video on the television, listen to a presentation, or even explain things myself at a meeting, my mind wanders so badly that I completely lose track of what I am doing. I fail to follow the gist of a discussion or forget what I was doing. Like time spinning away and not realizing it. This feeling reminds me alot of how I used to daydream when I was a child sitting in class, but it is much worse. Getting worse by the week. A normal daydream you can overcome by trying deliberately to chase it away through the extra efforts of concentration. However, now no matter how hard I try to focus myself this does not help either. In fact, if out of desperation I try too hard, then the flow of concentration just slips away even faster. This leads to panic and the fear that I will not understand what people are saying which compounds the obstacle worse than it should be. Is this psychological or is there some other source of this mental setback?
Later on in the day I saw two magnificent swans perched on the grass next to the water. Behind them and in a perfect semi-circle were their five offspring, no longer little chicks but grown adolescent swans with grayish feathers slowly turning to white like their parents. Renewed life coming into form ready to replace those who had created them and some day would be no more. This reminded me alot of how the weird concentration problem comes into being and takes gentle control without me realizing it.
Now that we are preparing for the upcoming trip to America, we need to gather all kinds of reading material to keep us occupied during the long flight to California. My family is sensible and thrifty in that they go to the local library to check out a pile of books to take with them. This is normal behavior. However, I am the oddball because I have this strong aversion to library books for some strange reason. I cannot stand the idea that someone else has already perused through the same pages with their grubby fingers which have been who knows where. Or that the very pages I am touching have been breathed and/or sneezed on, had food particles dropped on them, household pets sniffing them, etc. Just thinking about it disturbs me immensely. A book which is slightly yellow feels to me like it has been urinated on. I can only deal with the fresh new smell of recently purchased books that have never seen the light of day and are completely sterile and hygienic. This makes it a more expensive habit for me because the only books I read are brand-new, either purchased at a dependable bookstore or ordered via Amazon. Cracking the pages open for the very first time, feeling the newness oozing out and inhaling the perfume of virgin pages is what turns me on. Not a crease to be found, not a single unwanted mark, and me the reader exploring this wealth of whiteness all my own for the very first time.
Let's see now, how many joints of my body can I crack? A whole lot, that's for sure. Well, there are my eight fingers and my two thumbs, that's ten, two extra low dull cracks per thumb and three additional snaps for each finger (two sideways and one downward), that's twenty-six more thus thirty-six total. Then come my two elbows, two knee caps, twice the metacarpals of my feet, two big toes and the other eight toes, that's sixteen more joints bringing the total to fifty-two cracks. My back at three places, fifty-five. And then there is my neck, three (sometimes four) wonderful release cracks like a machine gun going off. Sixty-one (sometimes sixty-three). There are also a number of micro-cracks sometimes available by twisting my pinkies and/or ring fingers a certain way. Okay, on average ten extra micro-cracks totaling to one good full crack making it sixty-four. Sometimes sixty-five that is. That's a good many cracks per cycle. Over a good day I can repeat this sixty-four crack cycle perhaps let's say eight times bring a grand total of five hundred twelve cracks. On occasion I can even crack the cartilage of my nose, does that count? Make that five hundred thirteen cracks total then. Hard to believe that there are some people out there who rarely have a single crack in a day nor in a week nor rarely ever. And then when a finger is accidentally bent too far back and cracks, these people scream in subdued pain and disgust as if cracking one's knuckles is a terrible thing to let happen.
So what is knuckle cracking anyway? According to the article Do people who crack their knuckles get arthritis? it says:
"The mechanism by which clicking noises can be produced by extreme pulling, twisting, flexion, or extension of joints is well established. When a joint is deformed in this way, the pressure in the joint space decreased, and a CO2 filled cavity forms in the synovial fluid. The pressure in the cavity is lower than that in the surrounding fluid, so the fluid quickly rushes into the cavity. This sudden implosion of the cavity is thought to be what causes the distasteful cracking sound. Interestingly, tiny bubbles of CO2 remain in the synovial fluid, taking about 15 minutes to be reabsorbed. This explains why a knuckle cannot be recracked immediately."
Each crack feels really really good, as if I am addicted to some cracking drug, but the pleasures last no more than a second or two, including the after effects. Crack, yes, all gone, for a time at least. For each joint that cracks one has to wait around ten minutes before the next time it can be cracked, but the longer you wait the better the crack. The first crack is always by far the best, with each following crack less fulfilling depending on how long you wait in-between cracks. Stop that, stop cracking your knuckles! Sorry, I cannot help it. I am tensed up inside, I am restless, I am insecure and so it is necessary to crack every single possible metacarpophalangeal and interphalangeal joint in my body that is even remotely possible to crack. When I was around ten or so I learned for the first time that I could crack my fingers. What a major discovery that was. Almost as good as the day I first learned to burp on command. Slowly this cracking urge spread to the other parts of my body. Something one is born with and in adolescence comes into fulfillment, you might say. When I wake up, especially from a long deep motionless slumber, my stiffness thaws and then explodes with all kinds of random cracks whichever way I move, twist or turn. Like an ice-breaker crackling through the frozen sea of the morning. Crack, crack, snap and pop.
This is proof that I am not exactly what you would call a gourmet. Each morning when I wake up I make my way downstairs to make myself a cup of coffee. While the coffee is being made, dripping through the filter to fill up the pot slowly, I prepare two slices of wheat bread with butter and jam. Clapping the two slices together into a slightly skewed sandwich, I produce the healthy breakfast meal that gets me going in time. Sometimes I just stand in front of the sink while I am eating, trying to lick away the excess jam coming out the sides and threatening to fall on the floor. Or I will meander my way to the back window and look outside at nature while I chew and swallow. So why does this make me a gourmet? Well, after I finished my healthy meal, slurped down my coffee and took a shower, I was dressed and ready to go to work when Thea stopped me. "Didn't you notice anything (different)?" She asked me with a slight half-grin on the left side of her mouth, the word different coming out between right and left parentheses. Hmmm, I had to think but for the life of me I could not notice anything (different). "That bread you ate was for the ducks!" You accidentally opened the bag with stale bread, that bread was more than a week old." Hmmm, hadn't even noticed. Tasted just fine to me. What does this say about my food preferences. Probably not much more than the fact that it is the quantity and extra substance that matter more to me than the actual taste. Do I have taste buds or quantity buds? I am not a true gourmet, but rather someone who bites once and chews once before swallowing, someone who chug-a-lugs his drinking cup without a blink of the eye. Kind of embarrassing this whole episode but that is the way I am. Stale bread is good enough for me. And the ducks.