Sunday, September 4, 2016

Imminent Blobfish, Hanged Man Sestina, The Rebellion that Wasn’t

Over this annoyingly hot, sticky summer, I’ve had chronic sinusitis, allergy-related asthma symptoms, and just general physical ennui. I’ve gone swimming a total of twice in three months. I’ve tried to get a good walk in at least once a week, but even that’s been touch and go. My attitude towards exercise has been “eff it”, and during this long bout of inactivity, I have felt my body slowly enmushening. (”Enmushening” is too a word. I just made it up.) Today, I decided to go to the gym, probably more out of a perverse sense of wanting to know just how out of shape I’ve become than from any real desire to exercise. Well, folks, it wasn’t pretty. I made it about fifteen minutes on the elliptical, crashed out after twenty crunches on the balance ball, and managed a few lackluster pumps of four-pound weights before my biceps started burning. Ugh. As much as I hate the thought, I have got to start exercising regularly again. Just taking the stairs at work is not cutting it. The problem is, I can’t get over the absurdity of living in a world in which we have to actually trudge off to a set location and pump our arms and legs on a machine in order to keep our bodies in some semblance of condition. It seems like such a perverse, existential waste of human energy, and I feel ridiculous doing it. Also, for me, it’s all tied up with this slightly guilty idea that because my job doesn’t depend on my physicality, it’s not a “real” job, and that I’m directly a part of The Problem, The Problem being some indefinable, vague notion that we are not physically designed to sit in chairs all day long staring at screens and that my job isn’t really real. All I know is that life is weird, and that I have to renew my gym membership before I transform into a blobfish.

For the first time in many years, I started writing a formal verse poem. I’ve been a obsessed with the Tarot’s Hanged Man card lately, and decided to write a poem about it. But it needed a little oomph, so I got the genius idea to turn it into a sestina. And now I  remember why I stopped writing formal verse: It’s a royal pain the arse. Especially sestinas.  Good lord, I have no idea what I was thinking. I spent all yesterday working on it and pulling my hair out in chunks. It was a marathon effort to get five stanzas written, and now I have to write the last six-line stanza and the final three-line stanza, and it all has to come together brilliantly or the poem won’t work and frankly I’m just miserable--and loving every minute of it. 

Buddy is now in the regular habit of jumping off the deck into the tree and clambering down into the walkway that leads to the yard. Consequently, Mr. Typist and I are now in the routine of going outside to retrieve him and put him in Lockdown (meaning he is plopped into the bedroom for all of ten minutes, with a toy. We’re not monsters.) Buddy knows damn well he isn’t allowed to jump off the deck, but that doesn’t stop him. However, he displays a remarkable lack of personal will and rebellion when it comes to getting caught. He never fights it when we march outside and instruct him to get back onto the deck. He just obediently turns around, climbs back up the tree, and jumps onto the deck to await his punishment. He doesn’t run away further into the lawn, or crawl under the dumpsters to hide, or otherwise try to subvert our authority. It’s as though is attitude is, “Oh, well.  I’m caught. Nothing I can do about it. I guess I have just have go in now.” He sees no other possibilities, which is a good thing. We don’t need that creature wreaking havoc indoors and outdoors.

In honor of Buddy’s half-rebellions, here is the latest in the Simon’s Cat series:

--Kristen McHenry

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