Thursday, July 12, 2012

My mind is like... (Project 190, Day Three)

I can't think of an exercise I dislike more than swimming, and the reason is because I can't listen to music or read comics or watch the news while I swim.

There is almost no time in my life when I am without background noise being pumped into my skull.  There are sometimes 2 or 3 different sources of such noise at once.  As I type this right now, I am listening to Pandora and there are some people outside my office chatting, and I find that to be a little too quiet.  If I could get some construction going on nearby, I'd feel better about it.

I listened to a Radiolab recently that talked about how at the basic cellular level in our bodies, all activity is essentially random: if you could listen to your cells working they would not be doing anything in a rhythmic, careful way.  Instead, all the cells in your body are just firing away randomly {I realize this is not scientifically accurate but neither was the so-called Higgs Boson discovered recently so science is apparently whatever you want it be now} and somehow that random activity translates into a heartbeat and nerve impulses and a desire to eat corn dogs but nobody's sure how the static-y, white-noise of your cells becomes a regular biological rhythm.

My brain I think is like that: It's full of random operations all running around at the same time.  If you were to want to depict my brain in real life, you would get a roomful of 2-year-olds playing tag, only none of the kids would really know what the rules of tag are and none of them would be playing the same version of tag anyway, and at least three of them would want to be somewhere else.

The background noise, music, podcasts, reruns of Monster Bug Wars, serves I think as a kind of filter that, while not organizing the two-year-olds, at least manages to make some sense out of things so that from that chaos a pattern emerges, that pattern being "A coherent legal argument" or "an interesting idea for a story" or "the lyrics to that one song by Dinosaur, Jr."

Swimming doesn't present enough background noise, and so I'm left alone with my thoughts bouncing off my heads like so many made-up Higgs Bosons that don't exist and at the same time I'm left with nothing to focus on but stuff like "My god, how is it possible I've only been swimming for 6 minutes??" which is what I thought after I checked the clock when I had swum 10 laps and was exhausted.

I at least was momentarily distracted from the rambunctious uncontrollablenness of my mind, and the increasing ache in my arms, by the other guy in the pool, who, after seeing me swim two laps, stopped swimming his own laps, and got out to pull the chair of his stuff closer to the pool, apparently so he could guard it.

Seriously: There was a guy in the pool, swimming laps when I went in, and he had his stuff, a shirt and towel and sandals, on a chair in the far corner.  I went to the opposite corner and put my own shirt and Crocs and phone on that table -- I'd forgotten to bring a towel, except that in that sentence "forgotten" actually means "Remembered but was too lazy to go back upstairs and get one," -- and started swimming laps, and on lap two, the other guy got out and pulled his chair of stuff right to the edge of the pool where he was and left it there while he continued his laps, so he was obviously wise to my plan to act as though I was simply an innocent lap swimmer when really what I wanted was to get myself some free used sandals.  ("A real swimmer probably would have had a towel," I bet the guy thought, seemingly wise to my plan but unaware that when I'd wanted to go back and get a towel at least 7 of the two-year-olds that make up my mind had vetoed the idea while the rest of them had started chanting the recipe for Big Macs.)

In the end, I swam 20 laps in about 13 minutes and then got too tired to go on.  But I've always believed you have to work out for at least 20 minutes, so instead of just quitting at 13 minutes, I stopped swimming and walked laps around the pool for the last seven minutes, which I hated because I can't stand people who walk in a pool.  The only real exercise to do in a pool is swim, and everything else just looks and feels stupid.  The only reason I didn't get out and walk the track instead was that as dumb as I felt being one of those people who walks in a pool, I'd have felt dumber being a soaking-wet guy walking around the track, and by then Mr. Overprotective Of His Sandals had left so I had the pool to myself.

(If you are missing my usual posts on this blog, then YAY for you because you are a fan, and also I'll start posting about other stuff as I get more time, but these Project 190 posts are going to be every day, so I hope you like them.)

Today's workout:  Swimming for 13 minutes and then walking around like a sap in the pool.
Latest weight: 254 pounds.
Today's inspirational song I listened to while working out:  Nothing.  Didn't you read the post? Here's that Dinosaur, Jr. song:

I used to rollerblade to that song when I went to UW-Milwaukee and was all skinny, so it's got some good memories.  I'm pretty sure the song is not supposed to make me feel good, though.


Andrew Leon said...

I don't see any significant difference between these posts and your others. They are all things that you think, and that's what this still is, so it's all good.

I used to always listen to music. All the time. I discovered, though, that when I became "serious" about writing that I could no longer listen to music all the time or, even, much of the time, because it's distracting. It's upsetting.

Liz said...

Isn't there a way to listen to music at the pool? Underwater speakers or something? I know I saw it somewhere.