It felt arthritic. He massaged his hand as if he was shaking off the pain from someone stepping on it. In between the fingers, the palm, the knuckles… they ached. Pulling on the fingers, digging deep into the tissue between them, shaking his hand erratically like a limp wristed _______, something felt off. There was a hematoma-esque bubble there the night before, but with all the exercise, combat sports, and constant clumsiness of just bumping into any inanimate object that jumped into his path, there’s no telling what the root cause was. The Ahnold from Kindergarten Cop shouted, “IT’S NOT A TOOMAH!” inside his head.
“Fuck it,” he said simultaneously with a shrug. There’s no need to be a hypochondriac. Throw some dirt on it and carpe some motherfuckin’ diem.
Rolling out of bed, feeling the aged and slick wood below his feet, pulling the heat from his freshly unblanketed toes, there was a moment that required some mixture of motivation, discipline, and the small victory reward of having coffee. The importance of following a ritual of habits each morning was equally seen as a task but a foundation for a healthier life. Meditation, stretching, cold shower, journaling, followed by coffee and a trip to the local fitness facility. This same system of habits was also responsible for creating slight instant dread subsequently causing his slumber to last longer than necessary. He knew that 8-9 hours was what his body required based on his level of physical activity, but knowing that the hardest part of his day was his morning, it made it easy enough to slap that snooze button.
“9 aaaaaaaaamm?!” He let out a sigh of disgust and shame. But fully rested shame and disgust… at least there was that. Garfield would be proud.
The routine set the tone for the day. He was out the door with his coffee in hand by 10:15. Not the early rise he kept hoping for, but the quality of the time he’s awake for is what he’s convinced himself what matters most, not many waking hours he has.
The grip on the steering wheel sent a wave of dulled pain up into his chest, similar to that of a warmed butter knife running up the forearm to the bicep and then being pushed into his shoulder. Totally normal he thought. It was nothing that a great playlist couldn’t take his mind off of. Eagles of Death Metal? Tool? Twiddle? He rattled off a few as he perused Spotify.
Headbanging off beat to his place of sweat, he forced himself through a workout that was meant to improve strength, mobility, and stamina… but instead tested his ability to use turkey and stuffing as a fuel source. It was a slow 90 minutes, but it got done. The victory was in showing up today, it wasn’t in setting a new personal record in the kettlebell swing. And that one girl at the squat rack had an ass that made him feel like a bitch… worth the trip for that alone.
Was the pain from inflammation of the foods I ate? It’s moving around. It couldn’t have been impact if now the OTHER hand hurts.
There was now a small bubble on the back of his left hand. The right hand was initially the one that had what he thought was swelling. Immediately he reached for his handheld computer, commonly known as an iPhone, and searched the web for any such answers he could find.
Arthritis at age 36? Doubtful. Excessive heat? It’s the end of November in New England. Pregnant? Excited for the incoming ads for “cooling gloves,” diapers, and dick pills. The dick pills don’t even work.. I would know.
With a quick shake of the hands, some deep breathing, and stretching his wingspan hoping that it would relieve him of the mystery pain, he was back in the car and off to his next destination – LUNCH. His love for food was only superseded by his love for thinking about his next meal. Something about the fantasy of the meal could be far more satisfying than the actual meal itself. The anticipation and excitement of eating was really enjoyed. This sounds very much like many other aspects in life whether it be finally having a drink, the act of having sex with a new partner, or eating a piece of pie after eating clean for a month. The suspense of it all was far greater than the actual act… and in terms of portion, it was also more than it should have been. An egg too many, an extra slice of avocado, or maybe it was the 30 almond crackers he had afterwards. Either way, it was overthought, overdone, and a metaphor for much of how he seemingly lived his life.
The pain was bouncing to his extremities, the feet must have been feeling a little left out. The location of the pain could be compared to that of a bouncing of a pong ball. It felt like something needed to either get out or find a home to lay dormant in. Dormancy felt like a better idea to him. At least then he’d be able to avoid it, just like some of his other problems. If I just ignore it, it’ll go away. If you think about it and give it power, it’ll stay. It never meant to rhyme, just like the puns are never intended.
What a totally rational thought process. If you don’t want to jump the hurdle, just turn the other way. The hurdles will magically disappear. Why hadn’t anyone thought of this brilliance before?
The past weekend, he had taken his female half out to the Berkshires. It was time for both of them to just “get away,” as they call it. Their small city definitely was unlike New York or Boston, but it was a city in it’s own right. The bars filled up at night, the patrons got loud when they drank, and the parking was always a nightmare. And always the cigarette butts strewn across the sidewalks. How were they not trash? Why is that NOT considered littering? Some fucking kind of people that wander our cities are the real pieces of trash…. *steps down from soapbox*
The Berkshires would be different: small town folk, people of the Earth, and silence. They knew that if they could climb a mountain high enough or drive far enough, they’d hear nothing but nature and its’ creatures. Did you know that chipmunks make noises that resemble an aboriginal tongue clacking when they’re alarming the other chipmunks about aerial predators? They had no clue until the little guy on their mountain started going a little bonkers when the hawks started peaking out. No, they didn’t really piece 2 and 2 together, they actually just googled it later at dinner. National Geographic posted a nice video on this a couple years ago.
The hike they enjoyed together was one that brought them a little closer to nature but also offered that serenity that they were looking for. When they reached the top, the wind would shear, but the boulder-ish rocks they laid upon offered them the collective warmth that the sunshine had given for the day. When they peered north, they could see Vermont and to their south was Connecticut. New York wasn’t far either, but trees blocked the view to the west. One misstep and it was certain death, but one step higher and you could see it all. Hawks flew circles around the mountains. First it was one or two, but before you could see them take a full lap, there was 7 or 8. Hawks fly in packs? Or are they gaggles? Or is it a murder of Hawks? Maybe it’s just a flock of Hawks? I hope so, the rhyming opportunity there is far too amazing.
After what felt like hours or a full day, they made their descent back to the bottom of the mountain. Something special had taken place up there, like taking a mental and spiritual shower. The thoughts of the hustle and bustle, the hunt for the next paycheck, even the constant nagging thought of the next meal – gone. It seemed to float off with the hawks, unlike any of the chipmunks, thanks to their ability to communicate in differing alarm noises.
Each step down the mountain felt lighter than the last. Is gravity stronger or lighter in terms of elevation? Lighter at the top, right? It seemed there was still space in his mind for thoughts of zero impact on his actual life, probably knowledge that he got in 3rd grade that escaped him like helium from a balloon post graduation. As dumb as they were, he enjoyed them more than the stressors that looped in his mind before
Sunshine seeped through the treetops leaving blowing shadows on the carpet of fallen leaves and pine-needles. Birds chirped but he wondered if they were actually birds or was it chipmunks listing off lottery numbers. Occasionally someone passed them along the trail and they were met with a meaningless “How’s it going?” with no real intention of getting to know how the stranger was actually doing. In fact, it would have been quite rude to sit there and actually spout how they’re doing at length. No one really cares, but “Hi” always felt empty of enough syllables.
Moments before being able to sit in the car and revel in such a beautiful sequence of moments we had both shared as lovers/partners/best friends, he put one foot in the car and immediately smelled that which could be commonly referred to as a “land mine.”
Good thing this dipshit loves to wear toe shoes. Why would he have stepped on it with his heel? That’s right… it was as if he stepped in chocolate mashed potatoes and wanted to use his toes to put it on his Thanksgiving plate. Think of the portion size.
He tossed back yet another edible and grabbed an over-fermented kombucha (fermented to the casual 7.2% abv) while hopping over to the bench with a pack of car wipes and the most durable twig he could find. The rubber bottom of the shoe was a patented as having MONSTER GRIP. The mother fuckers had a MONSTER GRIP of a massive pile of shit. Considering that the soul of the shoe looked like a 5 year old wanted to paint it in the color “poop,” it appeared as if the patent was worth it. *crack…. gulp*
Between continuously wiping the shoe on the nearby fall grass and slapping it against the platform like the irresponsible dog owner that couldn’t be bothered to clean up after his pet relieved himself in the middle of a well-traveled trail, the poop moved came off similar to that of a stuttering kid at a spelling bee. Fast forward and both the dogshit and the kombucha were gone.
He one-legged-skipped back to the car refusing to put his foot down to the wet and shitty ground. It was bad enough his hiking shoe was covered in some animal’s digestion, but at least that foot was going to stay dry and unsullied, gahddamnit. Luckily, his laziness paid off this eventful afternoon and NOT unpacking all his belongings worked out for him. He grabbed those dumbass sauna sandals and wore them with the toe socks he was wearing like he invented the new version of high school hip. Slides and regular socks? Fucking retro, nerds. “TO THE HOTEL!” he shouted with a cramped and pointed pose sitting in the passenger seat of the Toyota Camry. They were staying in a tent. It wasn’t a hotel… it was someone’s tent in the middle of the unknown woods, on Halloween… with goats.
A recipe for a totally normal and relaxing evening in the Berkshire mountains. There was always some satanic lore wrapped around goats, but they they knew it was all nonsense. Goats are cute!
Turns out… they should believed it…