Friday, December 16, 2016

Every Move You Make

Sometimes I like to shoot pictures from our balcony, looking down at the activity on the street.I caught a few construction workers headed home from work a few years ago.

We make so many movements each day, activate so many things. These guys poured some concrete or drove some rivets or at least held aloft the Slow/Stop sign and directed traffic. They made ten thousand little movements to get up, get dressed, drive to work, do their job, take a break with the contents of their cooler or something they bought from the food truck.

It fascinates me how many discrete things we do every day. Yesterday, I thought about this and sort of recorded it in my mind.

I tense my ab muscles, sit up and swing my legs out of the bed. I open a drawer and lift out some sweat pants. I grope in the dull light of pre-dawn for my glasses. After a trip to the bathroom, I pull on a polo, the sweatpants, a hat, a watch and pull my tennis shoes off the shelf. I open another drawer and find a pair of socks. I go to the kitchen, turn on the lights (flip three switches), push the on button on the coffee machine. The low water light comes on. I extricate the tank from the machine, grab a pitcher and fill it from the refrigerator spout. I fill the tank from the pitcher, replace the tank and push the button to grind/tamp/brew my cuppa. I unwrap the plastic from out newspapers, flip open the trash can with my food and discard the wrapper. I remove some ads from the papers and pick up a stack of paper and such to recycle from the couch, stack them up with the ads and go to the office and deposit them in the trash can we use for recycling. I check backups on the husband's computer, fire up mine and bring up my country club's page to get to the tennis reservation page so I can make a reservation for Saturday precisely at 8 a.m.

You get the idea. We type on our keyboards, punch on our phones. When I go to tennis, I find my wallet, phone and keys. I make more coffee, unscrew the lid of the travel cup, pour in the coffee. I unlock the door, step outside, lock it with the key from outside. I walk down the hall, punch the down button. When the elevator comes, I position my fob to activate and punch my parking floor. When I get off, I push open the door, and walk to my car, punch the unlock on my car keys, open the door. Inside I pull my seatbelt across and put it in. I put the key in the ignition, my foot on the clutch, and turn the key. I put it in reverse and ease out, looking at the mirror to see if anyone is racing around the blind corner. I drive carefully down the two-way parking drive, rounding corners to floor 5, 4, 3, and then 2 where I wait for the transponder on my dash to open the arm (and the gate if it hasn't opened). I drive to the club, shifting gears, looking for pedestrians, pressing brake and clutch and gas. When I arrive at the club, I slow at the guard house and wave at the guard if he's there, he looks up, maybe, waves back. I find a parking place, hopefully my favorite one just left of the pro shop door, and align my car, turn it off, pull out the key, pull up the emergency brake. I hit the open lever for the trunk with my left hand. I grab my commuter cup, open the door, swing my legs out, stand, shut the door, hit the lock button. I grab my tennis bag, swing it over my shoulder, shut the trunk.

On the court, one makes a hundred little moves besides the actual striking of balls. I twirl the racket a few times waiting for the serve, firming my grip as the ball will be coming. I trot over to a corner where an errant ball lies, nudge it with my racket next to my right foot, raise said foot and bounce the ball so I can grab it. I may find my partner and hand said ball to her, or stuff it in my pocket or use my racket to hit it in a low, soft arch so it will land in front of the serving opponent and bounce a couple of times so they can catch it and continue their serve. In actual play, of course, one performs conplex tasks of running, striking the ball, recovering.

Every day, every one of use, is performing tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of tiny movements. It's no wonder that mistakes are made. There are falls, car accidents, train wrecks. And, of course, all the while, within the bodies of all these people doing voluntary (if rote) action, hearts beat, blood courses, lungs fill with air, cells die and replenish, food digests and, for some, tumors grow.

And we perform, our bodies perform, on a whirling rock in a vast space. It's enough to make one sit quietly in the easy chair and try to work a Friday NY Times puzzle.

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