Walrus

OK today I am getting my arse in gear. I’ve spent the last few months talking to myself and anyone unlucky enough to be with me for more than five minutes about just one subject, my lack of focus and my lethargy/borderline miserableness doing anything about it.

I moan about needing to do stuff ( which stuff exactly remains a mystery to me) and then moan incessantly that I am doing nothing whatsoever about it. Quite frankly the whole thing is more tedious than listening to Piers Morgans political insights or another interminable discourse from the Prime Minister on Brexit & quite frankly I’m sick of it all.

So today I’ve decided to do something about it, starting from tomorrow. 

So Wednesday begins & I wake at 6 a.m. sans alarm clock ready to face the day, 

I can feel a new determination coursing through my veins, yep, today is the day.

I leap out of bed ( a bit slowly it has to be said ) and head to the kitchen to make a triple espresso with full fat milk. 

After all a rocket needs fuel & I am channeling my rocket-mode. Then coffee in hand I head to the garden for a fag, caffeine & nicotine, that’s what I need.

It’s a strikingly beautiful morning and the sunrise is spectacular. What a fabulous day I think to myself, this is a sign if there ever was one. 

I finish my cigarette and then head back indoors, feeling a bit  dizzy and really rather cold. Maybe I will just go back to bed for a little bit, the bed is cozy.

7am, this time I get out of bed with a bigger leap. Right. No more pissing about. 

But first I think I should have one more coffee and one more cigarette, then I’m ready.

This time I race to the kitchen like a man on a mission, whistle up another strong coffee, roll another cigarette and positively rush out into the garden to smoke it.

Fag duly finished I head for the shower. Normally I run the shower for a little while so the water heats up first. But today I decide this is too namby-pamby, I am channelling my inner warrior, throwing caution to the winds and just stepping into the cold. It’s bloody freezing, but this is the new me. No messing.

My shower takes longer than usual, as to recover from the cold I have to stand there under the warm water for a while to recover from the shock. I decide that cold & hot and the change in temperature must be good for my circulation. 

I dress and head out on my bike to find some breakfast. The smallest of hills on my journey and my breathing verges on hyper-ventilating and my legs feel like jelly. 

Fuck me I am unfit, why is it so hard pushing these pedals around?

I want to stop and get off and walk but figure if I can’t get up this little incline then I should give in all together. Eventually I make it to the top of the hill without cardiac arrest & then it’s plain sailing along a flat section, then a run down hill from Kensal Rise to Harrow Road. This is fab as the bike doesn’t really need pedalling at all and also has the added advantage that should I see anyone that knows me there is the distinct possibility that they might think I’m remotely fit. Despite nobody really giving a tinkers cuss this for some bizzare reason is important to me.

By the time I reach Portobello  Road I am whizzing along & all the traffic lights are green as I pass them. I park up & lock the bike and go for a wander. I contemplate the culinary options, healthy choices? Yes that would be best, but then my inner man thinks it might be a long day and some calories under the belt might be good. 

A few minutes later I am sitting with a large fried breakfast in front of me.

I wolf it down and afterwards find it somewhat difficult to walk back to my bike as the sensation of masticated sausages,bacon,baked beans, fried eggs & black pudding slurping around my ample belly is rather uncomfortable. 

By 12.45 I am at my local  Buddhist centre, for a lunchtime meditation class. I have been coming here off & on for almost five years and never once meditated ‘successfully’. 

Now I know that the point of meditation is not for it to be a ‘success’ or some competitive exercise but my keenly honed powers of perception convince me that I am shit at meditation. All I seem to get out of it is stiff joints and the occasional panic attack, this I am pretty certain isn’t what is supposed to happen. But nevertheless I am convinced that there is something in it, so I keep trying, from time to time. 

Today its time to try again,  I am fifteen minutes early so I have time to get into the zone. 

But instead I spend the time checking out the other arrivals. I’ve always found that my best meditation classes have been those where an attractive woman or women are also attending. ( again of course I realise that you are not supposed to ogle other people in the class, but in those moments of joint pain and stress which inevitably arise for me during classes I find it quite soothing to check out other meditators).

Anyway there I am waiting for the call to meditation when on the other side of the waiting area I spy a woman carrying a large flip chart, she sets it up in a corner of the room and pins up a large picture of a Buddha outlined in red pen.

My inquisitive nature takes over and I want to find out what she’s up to so I mosey over. It turns out that she is giving a series of lunchtime talks, todays she tells me is about Amitabha Buddha, I am none the wiser, but all the same intersted.

She expresses concern that few people are coming to the course today.

This I take as another sign, normally the phrase everything happens for a reason winds me up something rotten. I hate it when people come out with everything happens for a reason, what sanctimonious clap-trap, quite often shit happens for no reason whatsoever. But today I am channeling the everything happens – here I am in a Buddhist centre and If I join the course she might feel a little happier & I might learn something, win win? Oh there I go again, its not about winning is it, its about participation. 

I ask if I can join her talk, she smiles and says yes.

Amitabha Buddha sounds right up my street, for a start he’s the Buddha associated with the West, tick, then also he is linked with sunsets, I love a good sunset, and then he is also rather a decent chap to help you deal with hungry ghosts – man I have my ghosts, loads of them, all hungry.  Today is really turning out well.

An hour later I leave the Buddhist centre convinced that Amitabha and me need to spend time together. But quite how he is going to help me I dont know. We will work it out.

After digesting my fry up I head to the sports centre for a swim. Swimming I reckon is the best way for me to start ( once again ) trying to get fit. I’ve joined a local community sports centre far less posh than the others I used to be a member of ( and conspicuously failed to use ). 

I need realistic, sensible goals and focus. I find this wanky acronym, SPORT – I think it might work:

Specific, Positive, Observable, Realistic, Time-focussed. Thats what I need.

I get changed and head to the pool on the way I catch my reflection in the mirror, where did I get that belly? No that can’t be me? OMG it is. 

As I get poolside its full of noisy kids, along with a bunch of parents in a watching area. I try to pull in my stomach, fail rather miserably and get in the pool as quickly as possible. 

I decide on twenty lengths to start with, no point in being over optimistic. One lane is roped off for lengths, the others are for kids having swimming lessons. I begin to go up and down, in a laboured sort of way, after a couple of lengths I become aware of a lad next to me in the classes lane. He is no more than seven or eight but streaking though the water like an f’ing Dolphin, whereas I am more like an over bloated walrus. At this point I decide I am not going to have some little kid swim faster than me and so I try to keep up with him. He’s a fast little bugger and I really struggle. I have this rather strange idea of maybe injuring the little shit so I can overtake him. I decide that this is not very pleasant. To feel less like an old walrus I make a mental note to get a haircut and trim my whiskers at the next opportunity.

I eventually do my twenty lengths and creep out of the pool back to the changing rooms. 

The showers are full of teenage lads, the only cubicle free is the disabled shower, irritated I end up using it.

I cycle home in the dark,  uphill again, only now its freezing cold and it starts to rain. This fitness lark is hardwork and all of it is going to be uphill. Never mind.

I arrive home and have dinner, brown rice & smoked fish.

How good am I?

When I finally go to bed I put a notebook and a pen by the bedside table, I’ve decided to write down my dreams when I wake up, I am sure it will be enlightening. 

I switch off the light ready to go to sleep, secure in the knowledge that I am beginning to take care of myself at long last.

Fifteen minutes later I switch on the light again, head to the kitchen and uncover the chocolate stash. Gorge myself then try to feel a little better about me by deciding  I will do better tomorrow.


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