Currently feeling the ravages of age (44 and fuck you too) yet only recently getting panicky about it, I came up with a singularly brilliant if not so original idea- I’ll work my way back into shape! Today! Now to be fair to myself and honest with everyone else I’m actually in very good physical condition considering my age, drinking and smoking habits but raging maniacs like me are rarely satisfied with “very good” so I decided to shoot for Olympian heights. Results follow.
This is Kurodani Temple, an absolutely beautiful oasis of serenity at the end of my street sitting on the top of the hill. Because I decided I needed some cardio but vehemently despise jogging I figured I’d cleverly split the difference by trotting up to the top, skipping my rope and running the stairs at Kurodani, saving myself the mind and body numbing boredom of a sweaty marathon slog. Strictly as an aside how the hell do those jogging lunatics keep pounding the pavement day after day anyway? Good God, don’t they know that exercise doesn't have to be boring? And please don’t mention “runners high” because if you need to alter your state that desperately then stick to Mary Jane kids, it’s easier on the knees and back. Back to my point- A leg blasting trot through Man and Natures beauty was my idea anyway and seemed a not half-bad one to me.
The good news is that it was a brisk beautiful end-of-winter day, I was not struck by any motor vehicles nor attacked by any animals (domestic or otherwise) and I returned home in more or less one piece. The bad news is just about everything else. Where to start? I’m now fairly certain that my jump rope is broken because for the life of me I couldn't seem to get it going for more than 20 seconds or so despite repeated attempts. My body felt as light and springy as a load of bricks as I struggled up and down the stairs with almost all the grace of a piano mover then, at the last, I rolled my ankle running on perfectly level pavement (and when I write "running" I mean moving at a pace that is ever so slightly faster than walking) then basically had to limp my way home where I now sit with my feet elevated, feeling worse than I could've imagined about the state of my deteriorating body. In less than an hour I have certainly aged more than 10 years and who says time travel isn’t possible? Ain’t life grand?
There were, however, (as there so often are) interesting flashes from my 22 minute journey through time. An old couple walked past as I was futilely flailing my rope around and complimented me on my skill, “Jozo, ne” (“pretty good, eh”) and I thanked them before I ran off at the limits of my Japanese. A film crew was shooting a period piece inside the Temple and I collected a random chuckle at the whiplash visual of actors dressed in Edo Period Kimono finery sitting inside their 2006 minivan smoking 2007 cigarettes and drinking canned coffee from the vending machine squatting next to a Temple that was built more than 800 years ago. And a lovely young school girl walking by with a trio of friends dazzled me with her innocent, curious perhaps 9 year old smile as I pounded past them in sweaty ankle twisted agony. I managed a wink back at her as I limped by and her smile got brighter and lovelier still, chastely beaming her purest love. Where are all the 19 year old girls smiling at me? It’s like an alarm goes off if I’m closer than 10 feet to them. 29 year old girls? They’re hunting husband material and I don’t fit the criteria. 39? I stink like poverty. Well by the time my little schoolgirl crusher comes of age I’ll most likely be in my grave and she’ll be breaking hearts everywhere. Oh mysterious life, you are my master.
But you know what? I’m gonna rage against that dying of the light.