Mad, motivation, music (48.2021)

Birthday week! A shorter working week and a trip out of London (which I’ll write up separately). But this week’s observations:

World’s Gone Crazy: At a time when we should be very concerned about melting polar ice caps and global warming all contributing to climate change, I find myself slapping my head at the stupidity of commercial flights to Antarctica. Yes, an airline has had the brilliant idea that along with transporting scientists and scientific equipment to Antarctica, they can also bring a number of tourists along with them. What. The. Very. Fuck. I despair for humanity sometimes, and this is indeed one of those times, and I can’t help but think it would be much better for the planet if most of us humans did die from Coronavirus or some other virus.

Running flat out.  You do it as a child but not as an adult, running just for the sheer enjoyment of feeling your limbs moving as fast as they can go in an open space, just for the joy of that feeling. If you  run as an adult it’s for fitness or for sport or (for a more mundane purpose) to catch the bus. Not so much for the joy of movement but only for necessity. I was running in the park when a little burst of early Kylie Minogue got me all revved up and ready to run. Fast. I only ran flat out for about 100m (and I don’t think Usain Bolt will be troubled by me anytime soon) but it felt so good! (A little less good for a few days after when my muscles expressed pain from the shock of sudden exertion.)

It was good to get out after a day in the house shielding from frozen temperatures. Even if the running track was a little muddy. It was warm enough for my hands not to turn ugly pink like on my last run. And I sweated enough to know I had done some work, and on the walk home my lungs felt clearer, with a day’s worth of housebound junk cleared out of them.

Foreign words I came across an address at work this week: Chemin des Delices. I always associate the work Chemin as something to do with fire but it turns out it means “path”. Chemin des Delices is path of delights. Wouldn’t you like to live on that street? “I live at number 52, Path of Delights.”

But it seems my mental association of Chemin with fire is due to the term Chemin de Fer, which somehow I thought had something to do with a fireplace but it in fact means “Railway” – the path of iron. (Not as pleasant an image as the path of delights.) I should know this, as I know SNCF is the abbreviation for the French National Railway (Société National des Chemins des Fer). Learning a language is never easy and when you get a wrong association in your head it can be very hard to shift it. Like in Spanish. I still confuse the words “cansado” and “casado”. One means married, one means tired. Some might say if you’re married, you’re automatically tired. I even tried a trick to remember it – “you can be…” but what? I forgot that too. I’ve just checked and you can be tired, in case you’re married. But will this stick in my head next time I need to use any of these two words? Probably not.

Spotify says. My 2021 Spotify roundup has landed, and unsurprisingly, this year I have listed to a lot of Scritti Politti, especially “Boom! There she was“. (I didn’t realise that particularly, but I know I listened to the album Provision a lot, and that’s the opening track.) That’s the curse of listening to things on repeat while I’m working – my top five list will always have at least two versions of the Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in it because the Brandenburg playlist is my go-to playlist for when I’m working. (This year there there were three Brandenburgs in the top 5.) And as far as I know, I only listened to ABBA’s “Under Attack” for one afternoon but that added up to 40 repeat listens (!), to make it my no.1 song of the year. Number 5 on the list was Nina Simone “Ain’t got no – I got life“. Unsurprising, as that song features on my Kicking my own ass playlist which has been on heavy rotation this year. Of course, songs from my Workout playlist also feature heavily in my top songs of the year. Do I need to find new songs to run to? No! I don’t need new songs when Kylie Minogue “I guess I like it like that” still makes me put on a burst of speed.

Virus Anxiety. The Rise of Omicron (yes, it does sound like an Avengers movie) has put everyone on edge again. Just when we thought we had a handle on how to feel about this ongoing virus/pandemic siuation, there are all kinds of BE VERY AFRAID headlines about the new variant which is EVEN MORE TRANSMISSABLE than the previous ones and we should be on the alert and get vaccinated / boosted. However in all the information I’ve read about Omicron (and I will freely admit I haven’t read much) there has been nothing about whether this variant is more deadly or comes with more severe symptoms. If it’s just a transmissible new variant, but no more deadly than previous variants (although by being more transmissible it could potentially be caught by more people, and therefore potentially be more deadly), then I can make a series of judgements in my head about how to react.

Already wearing masks in crowded spaces? Check.

Washing hands and testing regularly? Check.

Booked in for booster jab? Check.

Anything else I can do? Not really.

Give me some facts to make the ground solid underfoot and I’ll be fine. But to throw all the cards into the air without any supporting explanation feels like pointless scaremongering and unsettling everyone for no reason. We are 21 months into this. The amount of energy I have left to feel anything about this ongoing pandemic is very low right now.

I don’t have any answers. Do what you can to stay safe out there readers.

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