Monday, August 6, 2012

Mountains.

Just now Brendan asked me, a look of slight concern in his eyes, "are you ok James (I actually think he said Jamesy, but that makes me sound dickless).  You seem like you're losing your mind a bit..."

I replied that maybe I was.  I mean, last night, I spent a good thirty minute period in which I was fairly certain, no, sure, that I was the fourth man in Great Britain's pursuit team.  I tossed and turned in bed, unsure of what to do, knowing that we had already won gold, but also being overwhelmed with some sort of omnipotent expectation.

I should, I suppose, offer as backstory the fact that on Saturday I ate some dodgy indian and have, thus, spent the past two days vomming, running for the toilet, or wandering the house believing I am a member of the gold medalist pursuit team.  

So I can perhaps blame the delicious veggie curry for my immediate insanity, all drool filled fitful sleeps, and inane facebook statuses.  What I probably can't blame the curry on (or maybe it was the roti?) is my general change in attitude in the past few months.

This isn't a James cracks the sads post.  At least, if it is, I'm trying hard for it not to be directly about me,  per se.  Anyway, Rolly has solved my problems by telling me I should go to LA to visit Tom Singer.  He thinks that would set me right.  He may be right, and if I had more than $220 dollars to my name, I might even give it a shot.

But anyway.  For the past two years, where I was in inverted commas 'training', I developed for the first time what I'll call, for the sake of convenience, a SPORTS VIEW OF LIFE, or, SVOL.  This essentially entails living and viewing life through your chosen sport.  It involves doing the sport, preparing for the sport, eating for the sport, not to mention all the things you end up not doing, for the sake of the sport (think drinking, eating to excess, going out, etc.).  

It should be stressed that this way of looking at things has absolutely no correlation (in fact it may be negatively correlated) to your particular skill or aptitude at the given sport.  I could provide you with a long list of elderly gentleman who have dropped several k's in wind tunnels.  By the same token I could think, just off the top of my head mind, of the young kids who, and I quote "just race pushies a bit" who are currently racing the National Road Series and beyond.

So I was pretty caught up in SVOL.  Not addicted.  But pretty into it.  This, in turn, leads to a particular  kind of, not so much outlook, as lack of outlook.  Not much going on upstairs.  Brain function reduced.  Creativity zilch.  Just look at my blog in 2010/2011.  Pretty dull reading, for the most part.  That's another offshoot of SVOL.  Anything you end up writing (it might be the same for artists and musicians but it seems to me those cohorts are less likely to become entranced with sport.  This may be a gross generalisation) is usually about SVOL.  Thus, as your entire entire life revolves around this, like, one thing you love, the ability (at least in my case) to think creatively, imaginatively, outside of dogmas, becomes harder and harder.  Then, as the fatigue sets in (not fatigue from a hundred miler.  Like, real fatigue.  Fatigue that comes about because you've ridden your bike with no respite for a year and half, without the base to back it up), you find yourself utterly unwilling, unable, to write a short story, let alone some shitty blogpost about how you are tired.

But that's finished now.  At least, for now.  I can't promise I won't get caught up in the 'just gotta get another fix' outlook that is low grade amateur racing.  Back on the bike, I can feel its allure, even after a month of very easy pedalling.  But, still, the spell has been broken.  With it, it seems, my old mindset has returned.  I'd almost forgotten it existed.  Where the SVOL me is focussed, willing to make sacrifices, dare I say...happier (this is complicated and would require a footnote in normal circumstances...I don't necessarily mean happier in it's pure sense, more in a 'life is simple' sense), the non SVOL me is a bit more erratic, much more creative or imaginative, and perhaps, a bit more up and down.  Take right now for instance.  I'm lying on the couch, under a blanket, eating a boiled potato.  It's cold and dark outside.  A year ago that would have meant 'holy shit it's getting late I better turn in for the (insert distance) ride tomorrow morning.  Now, I look out into the dark and see lots of different things: of my still latent kind-of-fear-of-the-dark, of my suspicion that the night is still kind of evil, that I am, in some fairly strong, metaphysical sense, entirely alone.  One thing is for sure.  None of my thoughts are SVOL related.  It's taken some time.  After a few months, the fatigue that I had accrued slowly lifted until, about a month and a half ago, I suddenly felt like my old self.  Switched on, brain connecting dots it once would have passed by in a haze, a sense that there was something stronger, something more to connect to in the world, beside just the sports bubble.

This is kind of a double edged sword.  On the one hand, I am reading a lot, writing a bit more, and generally feeling more involved with, I don't know, 'arty stuff'.  On the other there is a tendency for me to focus more on the dark outside the window.  But it's this kind of stuff that reminds me of when I was a kid/youngish adult.  That fear of darkness as a kid.  Like, pure darkness, where you can't see your hand in front of your face.  Bushes moving at night for reasons you're not certain of and care even less to investigate.  Strange, semi-autobiographical pieces of writing that teachers mark well, but also include a proviso: ie. what the hell are you on about?  In short, a slight sense of alienation from the rest of the world.  Not in a negative sense necessarily.  More in the way you view the world.  A slight removal from it.

SVOL means you are very much caught up in the HERE AND NOW of both the world and yourself.  You don't really have the time, or the mental facilities, to look outside and wonder about stuff.

But, here, right now, I am looking outside.  It's pitch dark and I can't see a thing.  And the wind is blowing. 






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