I know a woman who sprays herself with perfume each time she goes for a run. Afterwards, she takes a shower and washes both sweat and fragrance away.
I know a man whose right hand clenches into a fist when he finds his running rhythm. His left hand always remains relaxed, even when he tries to clench it to make his hands match. He doesn’t know why it should matter to him that they won’t.
I know a runner (me) who was once labelled “WALKER, FRONT” by a member of a sprawling hi-vis unit of high-speed cyclists. To be fair, I was walking – on a narrow strip of path – but I had never considered myself a “WALKER, FRONT” before. Nor did I attempt to ease the gap for them as they had to edge by.
Today, I was running on the same DNA path and heard, behind me, a trio of Sunday cyclists call a friendly “on your right”. I shifted onto the grass and the single man and two women thanked me as they glid past.
You may wonder where I am going with this. I may be wondering that, too.
Yesterday, I was gripped by the current day narrative of skewed narratives, and the abundance of (dis?)information on all fronts.
After trying to understand the latest in Ukraine, I stumbled across a report regarding allegations of a cover up of mass murders perpetrated in Ethopia’s Tigray region. I read on and wondered what else do I not know about? And what could I do about it, if I did?
I took a break from the news, messaged a friend, and then read a quote from a woman who ‘pulled a face’ as she criticised a bullfighter’s performance: “He killed [the bull] badly.” I thought about what might be considered to be a good way to kill a bull.
I thought about a lot of things – a few good, but many confusing and/or hopeless – until I had to tell someone about them.
My confidant advised me to keep things simple.
So I decided to focus on the small-scale of what makes people tick (like the apparently nonsensical notes at the beginning of this post).
And to think about what Oksana of Murmansk, a woman featured in Jim Hayne’s People to People: Russia, wrote (in 1996):
“Be young until you get old.” … Reassured, I settled down to the excitement of a Cold War series (Deutschland 83) with one of my sons. Apropos of nothing he said to me: “Why did no one ever tell me about the birds and the bees?”
“I thought you knew.” I said.
“Well, I do now, mum. I’m fifteen.”
“Of course.” I said.
I didn’t have a clue why my husband and I had never spoken to my son about the birds and the bees. But I didn’t say that. I explained that because my son is the youngest of four, we had probably forgotten or been too busy to tell him. Or maybe we thought we had, or that he’d learn by osmosis from his siblings.
It seems that it’s never not about the narratives, big or small …
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