Thursday, July 22, 2010


Why are we constantly at war with our bodies? Or, if such daily skirmishes are not out-and-out battles, there is still enough of a remnant of mental shrapnel lodged within our fragile psyches to make us believe that a firefight has gone on somewhere between our brains and our limbs.

This morning I awoke at what I thought was my usual time, my correct time, one that operated according to is own reliable rhythms since my alarm clock fell to the floor a few days and thus was rendered, as the Greeks say, kaput. After my run I realized, while flipping on the TV: It's an hour later. I've lost an hour. An hour has been stolen from me, by myself.

For a moment or two I felt a sense of acute violation, if not actual betrayal, the way a wife must feel when coming across an unfamiliar scent on the collar of her husband's shirt. I've always relied upon my body to wake itself when necessary; I can't remember the last time it's failed me. (This 'it' referring to a strange and squishy conglomeration of blood and cells, neurons and veins that, apparently, from what I'm told from television, makes up the sum and total of 'me'.)

Not that my day has been rendered completely moot. Nothing much has changed. True, for the first time in four months I took a train that was later than my normal departure time; the faces of the people across from me were uniform in their sleepy, reluctant gazes. My legs felt slightly sore from my early jog, and my throat thirsted for chocolate milk. These are familiar, almost welcome sensations.

But a wonderful, wicked sense of bitterness crept out of my soul and into the world. I almost wanted to punish my body for failing my pride. Not sitting down would wound my limbs. Refusing to drink would inflame the ego of my thirst. Perhaps I could teach my cheeky body a lesson, punish it for sleeping in that extra hour. Within me the spirit wants to play a dangerous game of give and take with the flesh that houses its essence.

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