Monday, April 8, 2013

quietly observing in april

About six weeks ago I read Donna Haraway's A Manifesto for Cyborgs and I didn't really care for it.  I felt like it was your typical "humans are turning into machines" and "technology has gone too far" boring argument.  About a week after that an older coworker of mine (who happens to be undeservingly pretentious) was complaining that the younger generation is addicted to technology and we are incapable of interacting appropriately with one another because we have programmed ourselves to communicate technologically rather than in person.  At the time I rolled my eyes and walked away, but a few days later I was walking home from class, plugged into my phone, that this comment infuriated me.  I stopped dead in my tracks and took out my headphones and looked around me.  I was surrounded by people walking around campus and it was completely quiet.  Almost every single person had headphones in connected to their phone/ipod/whatever.  ...and what's wrong with this?  Nothing.

This started a "stop hating us for living the way we do" argument within me.  Yes, we feel empty without our phones.  Yes, we are more comfortable texting or e-mailing.  Our generation has created a lifestyle where we want answers.  We want answers, and we get them immediately.  The internet is not only our playground, it is part of us.  It's hard to find someone of the millennial generation (and the one younger, too - what are they called?  do they have a name yet?) that doesn't have a Facebooktumblrinstagrampinteresttwitter account.  I mean, Jesus, infants know how to "slide to unlock".  In fact, employers say it's odd if they come across an applicant that isn't part of social networking - 'what is wrong with them?'  We all have a small space on the internet that we pay so much attention to, create, edit, publish to, and update that it is us.  It is as much a part of us as is the food we eat, the liquid we drink, and the emotions that rave inside our veins.  It defines us, it explains us; it helps us understand ourselves and it helps us understand you.  ...Not to mention how much it helps us understand the world outside of us (which we forget exists, more often than not).  With a world like this you can't stop, you can't turn back and you most certainly cannot delete (and I mean literally, because 'everything stays on the internet').  I could not (cannot?) figure out why people are hating us for moving forward with technology.  You started progress and we are keeping it going, with everything from the world in our pockets to equality within the human race.

Then I watched Surviving Progress.

There is such a thing as 'bad progress'.  In fact, at one point in the documentary it describes our 'progress' as not progress but a broken record.  The Industrial Revolution was progress.  The iPhone 4S?  iPhone 5?  Not so much.  We're in a state where we are repeating and editing our progress that we once made.  We are not actually moving forward, we're stuck.  While we were busy defining and redefining our lives around machines (that are somehow getting smaller and smaller) we have thrown nature into reverse.  We are literally killing the world we live in, and no one gives a shit.  I better stop there for fear of becoming hypocritical.

I was on a run last Wednesday and it was sucking.  In fact, running had been sucking since January.  I was with the Urban Herd (group run) and we were going up Oakland and it was taking forever (of course).  Once at the top, though, all in one instant, everything clicked.  My hamstring pain left, my heart rate slowed, my feet moved faster and everything unlocked.  It was like one hundred little white dots bursting into three million little sparkles.  That is exactly what that moment was like, and I finally thought wow, I'm running again.  It's here, it's back, and I'm back.  Finally.  Effortlessly I surged to the front and found Joe again and he looked over and smiled and said "welcome back".  Somehow, the Truppster always knows.

That happening, I always wonder why people don't run.  But it's not for everyone, and I too hate it more often than I like to admit.  But there are moments like that where no one would trade it for the world, and it's worth it.  I also started to wonder how people would want to sit inside and watch TV instead of being outside.  We had a string of sunny, warm days proceeding that and I realized that, for the most part, they don't.  On my walk home from class there are teams playing all sorts of sports int he IM fields.  Not organized sports, not WMU sports, just whatever the hell they want, whenever the hell they want.  There are people who go for a run that don't regularly run.  There are people just sitting outside on the grass talking to each other, or reading, or on their computers, or on their Facebooktumblrinstagrampinteresttwitter account.  The point is, even though we are at one with our technology, as human beings we still (for the most part) cannot part with enjoying the outdoors.  Shit, I've seen many people drag their couches outside just to drink in the sun.  We still really like being outside.  We're not a lost cause.  Stop treating us like one.

++In Training for the hundo:

Like I've previously stated, shit is finally starting to click.  This past week I did lower body weight training on Monday, ran with Katie on Tuesday, upper body weight training on Wednesday, ran with Katie Thursday and then went straight to a spin class with Gayle after that [side note:  zumba is a damn joke, spinning is not.  It was more effective than a hill workout and in less time.  At one point I was pretty sure I was going to die.  Going again this week for sure.], Friday I took the day off, Saturday I took Cohen to the arbs and ran around for about 3-4 miles, and Sunday I did spur-of-the-moment 30 miler.  I did the first 20 at Custer, alone, and then went to Al Sabo and did 4 by myself, and waited for Dirty Herd to start at 4, where I did 6 more.  I've never been so mentally low before as I was after the first 4 miles at Al Sabo.  I almost just got in my car and went home, but I had a sneaky feeling Joe would pull me through the last 6.  I had a miniature breakdown, told him I can't fucking do it and who the fuck am I kidding with 100 miles?  He told me I could do it, and that I know I can do it, and I'm supposed to be feeling this way.  I just did a 30 mile run on a whim.  I had doubled my longest run since December (a 15 miler with Katie two weekends ago) and it was my longest run since September (which was the 50 mile).  The most important part is, that today, I'm not even sore.  I have a slight hamstring pain, but it's pretty dull.  Quads feel great, glutes feel great, calves feel fine.  My feet are getting the all-too-familiar pain from last fall, and I'm finally looking for new shoes.  Debating La Sportivas.  It will be awhile until I can afford them, so until then my busted-out 110s will have to suffice.  This is training.  And I had forgotten what a roller-coaster it is.


  1. Don't buy some busted old La Sportivas, that's sooo 2012, try something fresh:

    1. Timmy Olson shoes? I'm not try'na pin a bib through my skin. And I hate to be that person, but those are sooo ugly. I was thinking Helios.