Since there is still so much footage i am sifting through from my visit to Paris this spring, i am never going to get it all out at one time. So i wanted to share some pictures that sit very high on the nostalgiometer and score an epic 10 on the fondoscope, as it were.
As i write this i am currently in the throes of needing a hobby. I’ve been talking about it for some time but, tragically, there are some unfortunate self-imposed criteria that give me ample opportunity to procrastinate. What i need, what i really need, is something wildly exciting, yet on my doorstep. Something complex and technically brand new, yet requires minimum expensive specialist equipment. Something that i can take anywhere with me, yet does not necessarily require a car (but maybe a licence -whoa!). Something that pricks up ears at the dinner party, yet is not pursued by the man on the street. You know, a hobby? I think if i fed these ludicrous demands into some hobby screening database the result would deservedly be Extreme Ironing or some Cross Country Ostrich Farming. I think i need to lower my expectations but, at any rate, i could probably use the ironing practice.
The point is that in my search i have settled for an unsurprising compromise. I run.
I cannot really remember how i started running. One night, when i was much younger and able a night owl than i am now, i put on a pair of shorts and took off in a single direction without any idea where i was going, what my motive was, or what people would make of such a sleeveless wreck wheezing through their housing estate under the cover of darkness. I made this a habit and while i got a lot fitter i didn’t get better, necessarily, at running. I try to run all the time now and how wonderful it is to get into the rhythm of things. I have clothes and shoes, bottles and playlists, and it is all just distracting enough that i only rarely remember what i thought on the first chilly evening i went out: this is so dull.
Despite my wholehearted agreement with others who say running clears their heads, breaks up their day, relaxes them, gets their thoughts in focus, i must admit, so does a bath. And at least in the privacy of your bathroom you are safe from an inventory of headcolds and arthritic knees if not, least of all, kept from committing sartorial sacrilege. See him now before you… forties, bright pink futuristicfabric vest stuffed over a hoody. Mismatching matching neon lime shorts that stop mysteriously skin-tight below the knee. The brightest trainers at one end, bobbing luminous road-safety beanie at the other. A beacon of aesthetic profanity. And in-between? Facial expressions that shift between narcolepsy, disbelief, and the most piercing grief. With mouth swinging wildly agape punctuated by manic inhalations through gritted teeth. All this offset the whole time by limp, dangley arms that throttle back and forth like a tranquillized T-rex. Well imagine this poor man out in the street busy violating the eyes of all and think: Wouldn’t you rather him enjoying the comfort of a bath?
How i feel about these poor people is that, like me, they need a hobby. I don’t plan on getting lost in self doubt here, because 1) i have thankfully never seen myself run and 2) i ran in Paris.
The breathy beauty of the banks of Seine and the wonderful poetry of early morning Paris will have to wait for another post though, spectacular as is. I went for a run with my pal and roommate Karen one afternoon. Neither of us were game really, it was that or a hangover if i remember correctly. I even brought along a roll of film to document the grimness. But, as we searched for some secluded paradise garden, the low clouds gave way to their carriage, and lo : downpour and delight. What we actually had was very real fun with an enormous sense of achievement. We got ourselves hugely lost, with everything brand new, our eyes wide open.
So the next time you run ask yourself “what do you want to see and where will you take yourself?” If you just want a quick sweat with your eyes glued to the ground, why not just walk…or have a bath? Get out and lose yourself.