25 September 2015

Madness, but never real madness

Canon Hill Park

The days tick off at the same weight, 75.2 kgs. I get up every morning and get up at different times, but still I get the same number. Three in the morning or four or five, I peel off all my clothes in the dark — Yoko still doesn't want the light on in the toilet as it might wake the orphaned bird she is nursing back to health — and listen for the beeping. 75.2. Good. Good enough.

Of course, if you feel like you are unstable, you are not unstable. You are insufferable — the sort of white, middle-class, millennial navel-gazing that is the consequence of the screen and digital histories. A guy said to me today that he was getting older, and he was just in his late twenties. Yes, you are getting older. We are all getting older. Saying that to someone older than you is insufferable. There is always someone older than you until you are actually old. Then you are only as old as you feel. My grandfather takes all of his meals in his room now. He can't or doesn't want to leave the room because of the madness of all the old people in the home. He's not old, he doesn't feel it, he says. He's still 17, 18, the landing craft door slamming down and all the bloody water of Normandy.

I still feel fat, as fat as I've ever felt, until just now when I went to the toilet and looked in the mirror. The number, 75.2, is accurate of course, but losing weight, after you have lost weight is hard to judge by numbers. You remember numbers, though. I was 71.5 for a long time. Even 69.9 once, one morning in 2011. That's too much for me, probably. It's hard to tell. Hard to tie whatever it is you're eating now — how you feel, how hungry you are — to that number. It's just a number.

Nietzsche is said to have gone mad seeing a horse being beaten. I'm always happy to think that this is something I won't ever see. The other day, we went to the toy shop and the children were like they had been shot up with adrenaline. This they wanted and then that and then that. I wandered around feeling a sudden rush of regret, thinking of all the boxes here and then in all the stores in the mall and then in the city and then in the country and then in the world. All these toys to be played with for a moment and then thrown away forever. I felt an odd sense of panic, one that you can't explain, but need to get away from suddenly, leave the mall, leave the city, leave it all. Mei wanted something, it was only a pound. She knows that something is good if it is cheap: who taught her that? I did, didn't I. No, no, let's go. Let's go now.

You can feel fat, but have moments of thinness. I did intervals this week, on a time preset called Tabata for some reason. You work — the euphemism for intense exercise in interval training —  for twenty seconds and have ten seconds rest. I did a bunch of different exercises, one including throwing a weighted ball at the ground as hard as you can again and again. The cut on my hand from my fall over my bicycle last week started to bleed and blood speckled the ground, a little more with each throw. The set finished and my heart was racing. I put my fingers on my pulse and took three deep breaths. My heart came back down in a moment, like it had been told to stop, like I had switched something off.

When I lie in bed, dying in 58 years like my grandfather, I hope that my children are around me like birds. And their children and their children's children, all women. I hope they haven't forsaken me like I have forsaken mine. I didn't intend to, of course, but it seems that if you follow the path too far, you can't come back. There is no way back — you just keep going forward. Whatever time you wake up, whatever that number is in the dark. You just keep going forward.
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