Sunday, April 23, 2023

Maybe I'll Get a Surfboard

After my early rising yesterday, I went back to bed for a bit, and when I got up, I felt I needed to move.  Moving on a bum knee.  I put on music and put on some walking clothes, but before shoeing myself, I did some stretching.  Stretching is something I need to do and promise myself to do and eschew most often. It doesn't build muscle, you know, and it doesn't improve your shape, and always I feel my shape needs improving.  But grace is important, too, moving with grace, and you can't do that when you are a rusted piece of metal.  So I stretched.  

I made up my mind that I would walk up to Country Club College and back.  That would be a mile, twice as far as I've walked continuously since  Thanksgiving.  As I may have pointed out (maybe many times) in previous posts, my walking muscles seem to be atrophying.  Walking feels like an alien activity.  And so. . . I walked.  

Maybe it was something mental.  I don't know.  I was limping less, I think, and I suffered less pain.  I walked to the campus and decided to walk through campus.  And I walked home.  I felt myself a champ.  

Home, I pulled out the yoga mat and did more stretching and included some of my old yoga routine.  Inhale through the nose then gently exhale through the mouth.  Hold the pose for five breaths.  You know the routine.  

I was feeling pretty energized by it all and the music was good.  I showered.  I ate half a grapefruit and a hard boiled egg.  It was time to do something.  I decided not to wear cargo shorts.  I've been shamed enough.  I don't need public ridicule, so I put on a pair of seersucker shorts.  Not cargo, not Chinese.  How can you go wrong with seersucker? 

I'm sure you will let me know.  

I headed to the Boulevard.  Saturdays on the Boulevard are crowded with the hoi-poloi.  They come to eat and gawk.  The world should look like the Boulevard, I think, but it doesn't.  It looks like a developers money-making dream of out-parcels and parking lots.  I can't blame them for wanting to come.  I just don't like it.  

I had a mission.  Williams and Sonoma.  All my glassware has broken in the dishwasher.  I should turn off the heat drying function, but I won't.  I don't want to towel dry everything coming out of it.  So I parked at one end of the Boulevard and set out.  The crowded sidewalks were o.k. with me for once.  It was slow even for a gimp, but it was o.k.  If it weren't for that, I would be the impediment.  And, I'll admit, it was fun to be out in a crowd.  Stimulation.  Lots of it.  But I was no slack-jawed rubbernecker.  Not me.  I've regained something, some sense of being, of confidence, if you will.  Of "cool."  I'll credit Sky for helping me get back on my feet, and Red for reinforcement.  You can't do a thing like that on your own.  That woman at the theater wouldn't have raped me (metaphorically) had it not been for them.  No, sans cargo shorts, I was willing to be seen.  I was The Cooler Kid again.  

With a limp.  

But the limp was getting better, I thought, and I may have lost a couple of pounds, too.  

Still, walking into a retail store was a bit surreal.  I've not done that, other than grocery stores, very much in the past years.  It was like being thrust into the past.  There it was, the old Williams and Sonoma aroma.  You forget about the aromas of retail chains.  They have that figured out.  There was the aroma and the neatly lined shelves full of shiny things.  There were the highly overpriced jars of condiments that always seem so appealing.  


But their glassware did nothing for me.  Wasted trip?  I thought not.  The nice retail women smiled and wished to be helpful as they were trained to do as though they were working for tips.  When I left the store, I wandered some more.  I walked by the jewelry and bridal registry store that my ex-wife now owns, the very place where we were registered oh-so long ago.  Now, she owns a chunk of Boulevard.  Both she and the woman she replaced, the girl I dated before her.  O.K.  Maybe that is why I didn't wear my Chinese boho shorts.  There I was, as I say, thrust into the past.  

The restaurants and bars were packed.  But I wasn't done.  Oh, no. . . no sitting for me.  What was I up to now, a mile and a half?  Two miles?

Back in the car, I headed for REI.  I needed some things and wanted some things and it was possible that I might find both there.  The first thing I saw inside the store were the e-bikes.  I've been thinking of getting one.  But why are they so ugly?  There is nothing pretty let alone beautiful about their designs.  They look like something NASA sent to Mars on the Ingenuity Mission.  They look like something designed by George Lucas, some offspring of R2D2 and the robot from "Lost in Space."  

I moved on.  Being in an outdoor store, though, transported me into the past, too.  Surfing, sailing, camping, mountain climbing. . . those had been my passions.  Anything outdoors.  Anything a bit further than the masses.  My blood ran warm.  

I tried on some clothing.  Oh, yes. . . shorts.  Not cargo shorts.  No, no. . . "regular" shorts with invisible pockets and unhindered silhouettes.  Boy oh boy, I was on a roll.  But pal. . . the cash register was a shock.  Do you know how much clothes made in China that are not sold by weird Chinese brands cost?  It is outrageous.  Fortunately, REI is a co-op and I am a member.  I had dividends and a discount and saved $47!  AND STILL, two pair were well over $100.  My god, what I will do for the women.  

From there, I headed to the big bike store across town, the biggest and oldest one with the most brands.  And again--sticker shock.  The price of a bicycle is crazy if you buy one of the good ones, the ones made with special materials so they are light and sturdy.  But that is not what I was looking for.  I wanted an e-bike.  I want to be able to go places without needing to park the car.  I want to feel the wind in my face.  And I can't bring myself to buy another Vespa.  

A fellow came over and asked me if I needed help.  Sure.  Tell me things.  There was an e-bike that looked like a bike.  Just one.  The rest looked weird like the others with the small tires (why?) and the space age shapes.  But here was one.  For some reason, though, its specs were not as good as the others.  It had a twenty-five mile range--maybe--depending on the assist mode you chose.  The good thing, though, was if the battery drained, you could ride it easily.  There was no throttle on this one, either.  You had to peddle and choose how much assistance you would get.  Hmm.  The ugly ones had throttles so you could choose to peddle or not to peddle.  Well, I said, this is a conundrum.  I've just started looking, I told the informative fellow.  Thanks.  

By now, I was all outdoor/hippie jacked.  The world was for exploring, and I could do it in my new shorts.  I needed some upscale hippie shirts to go with them, you know, the kind of thing Matthew McConaughey might be seen wearing in Cabo.  Ha!

I was almost home when I had an idea.  I would go to the old warehouse that used to be a giant fish market, the one that still carries its name in big, faded letters across the front but which is now a home goods/plant store that hosts special events in the back of the giant structure.  It is a beautiful place that is like a secret.  There is a coffee shop inside.  I've only been only once before.  It is not in a retail area and is easy to forget about since there is no signage at all, just a big, stand alone warehouse.  It is like the places I used to find in Berkeley long, long ago, down by the water in what was an industrial area just beginning to transform, magical places that miraculously popped up out of the blue.  

I wandered around just looking.  The rooms were well stocked with indoor plants, the kind I have on my mantle that want to die often.  There were those and cute pots and little household items.  There was a German family there, too, a mom, dad, and a son and daughter.  They looked so healthy and so beautiful and so relaxed.  They intrigued me.  I wanted to follow them for the rest of the day.  But then I remembered that I was feeling intriguing myself, that I was not a gawker, and I paid attention to the wares, and being all hippie cool, I made a purchase.  

You know, all those retail fragrances, I had to get something for the home.  I bought a bottle of scented diffuser, silly boy that I am.  I'm sure to start buying flowers on Saturdays at the Farmer's Market, too.  

When I got home, I made a plate of olives and cheese and crackers and almonds and poured a glass of wine.  That is how I felt.  My knee was starting to get tight, but how many miles had I put on it so far?  Yea, man. . . I was moving.  A bit later, after I cleaned up, I went to the liquor store to get some sake and some more wine.  I'd made up my mind that it would be a light meal that night, a sushi night, and so during my obligatory visit with my mother, I called in a takeout order, and by five, I was on the Boulevard once again.  More walking.  Look at me, I thought, just moving.  

Inside the sushi place, I got mobbed.  Where had I been?  The sexy waitress that my Tennessee boyfriend likes was chatty, said she hadn't seen me or my friend for a long time.  I would have to report this to Tennessee, of course.  "She was asking after you," I will tell him, "with lust in her eye."  Ho!  He may be vainer than I.  Outside, ganged up at sidewalk tables, sat a gaggle of high school kids with their boba tea from the little shop that just opened, village kids of the privileged, cute and sophisticated but still teens nonetheless, hyperactively hormonal, leaving a distinct aroma in the air.  It was spring.  The sap was rising, the creeks were flowing.  Good god, life was abounding.  

Back home, I chose to sit inside to eat as it was nearing ninety degrees and getting muggy with the false promise of rain.  I made a little tray in front of the television and put on some trekking videos.  I silently followed a fellow on the Torres del Paine eighty mile trail.  Oh, yes, I thought, that is what I want to do.  It goes from campground to campground with little places to buy meals and beer.  It looked absolutely lovely (link).  

Tuna kobachi, sushi rice, and miso soup.  A bottle of sake.  It was getting dark. I watched some more stuff, a film from the Patagonia company about the evils of fish farming (link).  Then I watched other Patagonia films.  I was in form.  

Saturday night.  A small bottle of sake.  Sushi.  I would have some scotch.  I always have scotch after sushi.  I haven't had any for nine days.  I am not in a program.  I can have a scotch if I like.  Or two.  Goddamn, man. . . yes.  The doctor said I'll live longer if I stop drinking.  I told her it might only seem that way.  Oh, brother. . . oh sister. . . 

A knock on the door.  The tenant came down to show me a worm, one of them, that are lying around the grounds.  I've had a couple of them curled up in the kitchen.  They look like small millipedes.  They are not harmful, I think.  We must be in part of their reproductive cycle.  

The Tenant has been hosting many of the films at the big film festival this past week.  She told me about it, about John Cusack and the like.  I've been asked for years to do what she does, but I have no desire.  She likes, I think, being recognized as an authority.  I understand.  She now has co-authored two books on Asian film, so good for her.  

When she left, I was feeling pretty buzzed.  My legs were already sore from so much walking that day.  It had been a good day.  Maybe, I thought, there is hope.  I closed my eyes for a moment.  You know how that goes.  When I came to, I got ready for bed.  I decided to take some ibuprofen and some Tylenol.  

I slept through the night.  

I am going for a walk now to see how it goes.  Further.  I will get ready for the Torres del Paine.  I think I will get an e-bike.  I believe I'll get interested in things again.  Today, I'm making another seafood stew.  My mother will come to dinner.  Perhaps others.  There will be plenty, no matter.  

I feel ready for wide open spaces.  Maybe I'll buy a surfboard.

* * *

A little burned hippie avocado toast for breakfast.  

And some traveling music.

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