August 11, 2006

Left Leg First

This morning I put my pants on, left leg first. It felt weird. Surreal, even.

For the better part of thirty-nine years I've woken each day and put my pants on right leg first. That's approximately thirteen thousand one hundred and forty consecutive days of shoving my right leg in my pants before my left. And then today it all changed.

I know what you're saying right now. Who cares, you're thinking. I really can't give a flying frittata how he puts on his pants in the morning. In fact, I'm surprised to hear the little such-and-such can even dress himself at all.

Well, before you fall off your high horse and break a barnacle, why don't you stop interrupting me for a change and let me continue.... jeeeez.

OK, where was I.... Oh yeah, my pants.
It felt so weird to put my pants on differently that I got to thinking about it quite a bit today. I started thinking about the repetition in our lives. How we go on day after day, year after year, living our same habits in our own same ways. It becomes so incredibly incessantly monotonous until we virtually become numb to the feeling of our everyday activities.

Have you ever been riding your bike down a long road - or driven down the highway - and had your mind wander? Where all of the sudden you come back to reality and for the life of you, you can't remember the last ten minutes of your ride. Isn't that scary? Now what happens if you get to middle-age, and suddenly you can't remember anything interesting that happened in the last ten years of your life. That'd probably be a bit scarier.

Prior to my Ironman USA extravaganza, a fair few Ironman racers told me to stay in the moment and enjoy the experience. At the end of the day, they said, regardless of whether you have a good race or a bad one, what you'll remember most are the feelings you had throughout the day. So there I was on race day, plugging along at my pace, and continually trying to remember every single feeling that I had at every single second. I wanted to catalog every emotion of every mile so that in the future I'd be able to relive those feelings at the snap of a finger.

The thing is, by the time I got to race day I had already logged in so many endlessly monotonous training miles over the previous months, that my mind had already been conditioned to not pay attention. So while I was out there chugging along through the hours at the race, I had to learn how to do things differently. Instead of letting my mind wander, I had to force myself to stay in the present. In a way, I guess I saw the same experience from a different perspective. And that, in itself, was a wonderful experience.

So then I started thinking, maybe this is the answer; maybe sometimes we just need to get a new perspective to truly appreciate the everyday. Perhaps when I brush my teeth next, I'll start with the top left quadrant instead of the bottom right. And maybe tomorrow I'll once again put on my pants with the left leg first.

But I doubt it.
It felt really weird.

[Editor's Note: These are the types of things you think about when you are stuck in Los Angeles traffic. I really need to stop driving on Fridays.]

[Writer's Note: There really isn't an editor for all of this nonsense. If there were, he wouldn't allow half the crap that comes out of me to make it online. I sometimes just call myself the Editor. It makes me feel important. We all have to have fantasies.]