Saturday, February 08, 2014

A Boor Who is a Bear 

Here I am, hurtling in place, laying across down filled cushions.

The Sochi Olympics have begun and with every shot of an athlete hurtling over snow mounds with the Caucasus Mountains in the background I am reminded how much I would rather be sleeping bear-like. Recently I was looking at the symptoms of Seasonal Affected Disorder (S.A.D. for short), and if it weren’t for the vagueness of the description, I’d say I have it in spades -
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning: check. Why limit it to morning? I could sleep anywhere anytime, and I doubt I’d wake up until May.
  • Lack of energy: check. So… much… effort… typing this.
  • Difficulty completing tasks: check. I can barely finish this sent…
  • Inability to concentrate: well, the television and the insides of my eyelids have my complete attention. Does that count?
  • Withdrawal from social activities: I may have passed on a couple of opportunities to step outside because it involves stepping outside.
  • Decreased Sex drive: No comment (I could just say I’m “going through the motions” but that already reveals too much).
  • Compulsion to eat – especially carbohydrates: Are bread, potato chips, mashed potatoes and French fries carbs? Cheese and crackers? Wait? Is everything a carb now?

  • Diagnosis
  • A pattern of these symptoms occurring at the same time of year for at least two years in a row but not at other times of the year. Hello? Every winter of my adult life just called and it says I’m bumming them out.

  • Treatment
  • Despite having read about sciencey treatments involving light therapy, I’m pretty certain the cure is called mid-March, often celebrated by drinking until you vomit green beer or by travelling somewhere sun-filled and warm.

“I will wipe my whiskers and untuck my shirt and avoid bending over in public until the spring arrives.”
I have written before of my well-developed ideal winter sport, Couch Luge, and I am moved to say that I continue to excel at it. But every time I bend over to tie my shoes, squishing my belly like it were a cushion on my lap, I think, wouldn’t it be nice to be lightweight and peppy again? Sure it would. Of course it would, but it ain’t gonna happen. It’s not just about it being cold outside. In fact, it has very little to do with temperature at all. I excel in the cold. I am a cold demon. I run faster and longer in the cold. It has to do with there not being any sun and the ground being covered with a treacherous combination of ice and a form of slush I like to call “snow lard” because it is as if the ground has been smeared with some kind of grill grease. Tuesday I rode to the pharmacy after work and I was properly attired and comfortable but holy hell I almost went earthward a few times. Pavement kisses aren’t my idea of romantic. It’s odd but fishtailing on loose gravel or sand on a bike is kind of fun, but fishtailing for several feet while your front tire has zero purchase is harrowing. When you slide off slushy pavement and onto the mini-glaciers on the side of the street, that is a recipe for banged-up-balls, my friends. A couple of times the bike went out from under me in a such a cartoon fashion that I was left standing there with my bike in my hands wondering what just happened. If you’d just seen me standing there you would’ve thought I was picking up my bike from the ground when in fact it was closer to some kind of circus trick that I was standing at all. How I did not throw my back out will remain a minor miracle of spinal contortion.

The most common running routes in Toronto

While contemplating building a sort of flame thrower that heats the asphalt ahead of me as I ride, I noticed that some enterprising bloke has mapped the shared online data that amateur runners post. The wholly unremarkable and unsurprising pattern is that most people prefer to run near water and parks. I too would fall into this category if I were in fact running or if water and parks were visible behind and beneath swaths of snow. Yet looking at the map, seeing routes I use to frequent made me really miss running. In fact, I think I miss running more than my flatter tummy and maybe even more than biking. I still can’t see myself out for a jaunt until the ice recedes and the sun rises so until then, pass the chips, and the dip, and don’t skimp on the cheese, and I’ll wash it down with a highly carbonated and carb-filled beer. I will wipe my whiskers and untuck my shirt and avoid bending over in public until the spring arrives. I’ve just realized that unlike myself, before bears hibernate, they pile on the weight and emerge from their hovels fashionably emaciated. I’m the other way around. I’m thinner when winter starts and through the hibernating months I atrophy and put on weight. Lucky bears.

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