Just for fun, an added spleen.
(It makes more sense when you know about the digestive system. HMMM, protein and fat take a lot of digestive effort, maybe that’s why carbs kick the ass of other foods.)
I usually skip the weekly photo challenge. Green, however, was irresistible. This photo jumped to mind. I snapped the shot a few months ago when I visited Seattle’s China Town, which was rather disappointing. The shiny Buddha was a good omen. Moments after taking the picture I joyfully feasted upon the “World’s Greatest Falafel”. The meal was a nice ending to my magnificent, haphazard, and completely unplanned falafel quest of 2012.
Yesterday, I saw something that made my soul feel soggy and wet: a repulsively obese woman driving an automatic wheelchair–she could walk, I watched her stand up grab a box of donuts. Her flab oozed over the filthy gray arms of the chair in appalling globs of loose, baggy flesh. The woman didn’t even bother to take the curlers out of her dirty stiff hair. Her nightgown looked as if it hadn’t been changed in weeks and blistery soars around her lips made her brown streaked teeth glisten in the fluorescent light.
The image of that woman infected my mood as I drove home. What disturbed me most was the neglect. To clean my mind and rejuvenate my soul, I watched Gangnman Style for the millionth time. When it ended, I saw this video hanging on the side of YouTube.
To school, I wore a shiny red sweat suit with white stripes running down the arms and legs. Back in the day, it was the raging style. In that boisterous outfit when the lunch bell rang, I darted off to the gym, where I would bust some “fresh” break dance moves.
I could robot well, I could crab crawl, and I could even do front flips. But there was one move that I could never master. It was called the windmill. The break dancers of today still twirl it out because it’s a lovely move. The legs scissor overhead, then they swing down, and when the movement is perfect, they are shifted towards heaven so that the downward motion is transformed into a surging magical levitation, the torso pops a rotation and the cycle repeats. The magical surging levitation was the crucial part of the Windmill that I could never get right. Instead of gracefully swinging overhead, rolling down, then floating up, my knees would just bang on the hardwood floor.
Maybe it was the memory of the thrill of learning to ride a unicycle at age 35 or maybe it was the retro bubble letters I saw on a Web page, but
I had this desperate urge to conquer the dang Windmill.
First stop: YouTube. Break-dance instruction video, check. Makeshift amazon cardboard dance floor on the living room carpet: check. Silly 80s break-dance music: Doug E. Fresh on Spotify: check. Determination to succeed: double-check.
Maybe my mind had never stopped working the mystical timing problem with the windmill break-dance move. But something had changed. The decades of accumulated wisdom all kicked into action, for as soon as I attempted the move, success embraced me with her loving arms and my legs whipped around at just the right time without banging the ground and I, Mister Middle Aged Barefoot Runner, was doing the windmill like a feral teenager full of joy and hope! It was like that day my parents picked us from the last day of school and took us to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and my dad made us yellow painted skim-boards in the shape of rockets and we slide on top of the thin sheet of cool ocean water at high speeds and flipped into the oncoming foamy waves and the sun was out and everyone was happy and it all smelled like sweet Mr. Zoggs coconut surf wax. That thrill filled me as I busted out some delicious break-dance in my living room. Suddenly I was remembering moves I thought time had eaten; I was doing the bronco, back-spins, snap-twists, and of course, the freaking windmill. Someone should have filmed it; it was so beautiful and I was sweaty and barefoot at the end, but there was a smile tattooed on my face the rest of night and I slept well and dreamed of apples.
The next day, my triumphant re-entry into the fabulous world of 80s break dance turned into a dull pain on my side an inch or so from my heart. It got worse as the day rolled on. The following day, I suspected a cracked or bruised a rib or maybe the popping of delicate internal organs; deep breathing hurt as did moving my torso in any direction, but I didn’t care. I conquered the dang Windmill and it was worth it.
HIT PLAY TO HEAR THE EPIC BREAK-DANCE SONG.
Like most Americans who experience the sublime hyper-connected loneliness of living online, I had to peep into Pandora’s Box. But I had no idea that it could be so dangerous. Studies suggest that Facebook is more addictive than cigarettes and liquor.
Picture a young man weeping, his face cupped in his hands.
“What’s the matter?” you ask.
“I just don’t understand it” he bellows.
“Don’t understand what?” you ask.
“I thought my update was LOL-worthy, but none of my friends even clicked the ‘like’ button!” His sobs overtake him.
“How long ago did you post it?” you ask.
He manages to blurt out, “Five minutes ago, but that’s like five months online.”
Many chronic users of social media find the urge to post or read status updates irresistible. Facebook addicts who are placed in rehab, report that they are: fretful, confused, anxious, irritable, insecure, nervous, restless, panicked, jealous, angry, lonely, jittery, and depressed without their social media fix. There is even a clinical term for the disease: Facebook Addiction Disorder.
What are the signs of FAB?
Does Facebook really connect us to each other, or is it yet another “wall” between us?
That brings to mind a wonderful Chinese Proverb:
When the wind rises, some people build walls. Others build windmills.
If you think Facebook is a windmill, you need the cure:
With my previous job, I got so busy I missed the tragic news about Born to Run legend Micah True (aka “Caballo Blanco“.)
It’s odd that someone I’ve never met or spoken to could have such a monumental influence on my life. You wouldn’t be reading this blog if it weren’t for Micha True’s manic itch to run crazy distances in even crazier terrain with the Raramuri.
That’s NOT hyperbole. I’m a barefoot runner because of Caballo Blanco. If it weren’t for him, MacDougal may never have written the bestselling book Born to Run and I wouldn’t have kicked off my shoes to run again.
Since I am slightly Irish, I give this famous blessing to the fallen Caballo Blanco.
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
(And by “God” I mean “universe”; and by “meet again,” I mean “meet at all in the great beyond.” And “Yes!” This is blessing given to the living. But all that crap ruins the rhyme scheme and sentiment. Somehow, I think Micah understands or would have understood, and he would have shown that understanding with a quick nod of his dusty head and a fleeting smile across his cracked lips, before he said, “Run Free, Brother, Run Free.”)
While in the Golden State, I tweeted my shoeless adventures in real time, but since I don’t have anywhere near as many followers on Twitter as I do visitors for this Website, I thought I’d explore the incident that occurred during my barefoot stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge.
I got the idea to walk the world famous suspension bridge from my dad. He twisted his knee lifting a ladder.
He’s not supposed to be climbing ladders to fix second story windows; he’s almost 80. But my dad is almost as stubborn as I am. When I told him I was going to San Francisco, he told me that walking across the Golden Gate Bridge was on his bucket list. I thought to myself, “That’s a damn good idea”.
So the next day, I headed out to the City by the Bay. When I got to the Bridge, clouds fell from the sky, covering the place with a saline haze. But I knew they were no match for California sun. After finding a secret parking spot, I walked past the construction crews with my trusty black converse (excellent minimalist shoes–no heel or arch support). Why with shoes? There was a cop nearby; I didn’t want to get hassled.
At the entrance, I got a few stares as I stuffed my black converse into my backpack. But no one said a thing. Some people didn’t even notice. The pathway was smooth and surprisingly warm. A few carts blasted past me in the bike line honking their horns.
The pedstrian signs painted on the bridge were a hoot. They have a have man wearing a suit and hat with a little girl whose hair is in a bun.
The manic energy of the place flooded my spirit. I skipped the first few steps onto the bridge. The fog was still thick. I couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of me. Traffic blasted near the rail. The close range of the automotive missiles unsettled me. My fate, it seemed, belonged to complete strangers. I favored the ocean side of the bridge–the side that forces person to look down.
When I arrived at the center, thrill of panic fired through me. It was the sensation one gets when automatic writing. There’s a loss of control as something other than yourself moves your body. I gave into the trance state.
I felt myself climb the tiny rail facing the ocean. My eyes gazed downward. No one tried to stop me. There are signs posted everywhere that the bridge is under surveillance, but no secret bridge police appeared and not a single passerby said a thing. An Asian couple stopped, but they just gawked at me. I just stood there on the rail as every jumper has done. I stared at the vicious ocean below. An unforgiving floating shard of glass, the jagged crests sharp, the boulders of water packed solid. It would have been so easy to lean forward just a touch more to drop into the ferocious sea. But as I stood there barefoot in the middle of the Golden Gate perched on the steel beast, a burst of joy overcame me and I laughed loud and hysterically. Effortlessly, I leaned backward and floated down to the side with the white silhouette of the hatted man wearing a suit and holding the hand of the little girl with her hair in a bun. My feet landed softy on the pavement. I walked the rest of the way smiling as the sun evaporated the fog.
“My arms are flung across the deep,
Into the clouds my towers soar,
And where the waters never sleep,
I guard the California shore. ”
—Joseph P. Strauss, Chief Engineer, Golden Gate Bridge
Some Interesting facts about the Golden Gate: