Nothing: Part 12

This is a sequel to Part 11 and refers to the whole business of nastiness…eventually…after several detours.

A dulled duration of a long commute yields to some strange digressions in thought. I was sitting in my window seat, soporific or alert and lucid in turns. My legs had been crossed for a long time and the knee that bore the brunt of the other leg was now screaming in protest.

It made me think of the stairs and escalators that were still part of my immediate future and how much I was starting to detest them because they bothered my knees. I am not in chronic knee pain. But I feel the sudden painful twinge when I am going up or down stairs. Maybe it started when I decided to climb all the way down the Eiffel Tower and perhaps it got worse when I was expecting but it certainly feels like something that’s here to stay. It’s where my fabric is starting to tear or unravel.

It’ll slowly worsen, become chronic, transform me from a brisk and fast walker to a hobbler. Unless I can find a way to stem this damage…knee braces, stretching, joint supplements, exercise…whatever it takes.

Hobbling is absolutely the worst possible future image for myself. I think of old images of Indira Gandhi running up and down the stairs even at an advanced age. Well…that’s where I’d rather see myself; running not hobbling.

I thought about the part of me that’s remained unchanged while everything around me changed, aged, transformed, matured. There is something core and something essential within that has remained the same. I know it and I feel it.

I have grown up and landed in a time and a place where being resigned to one’s circumstances and giving up is passé. I owe this core, essential, unchanged and pristine part of me a ‘vehicle’ that is in perfect working condition. I’d rather cruise to the finish line in a Bentley than in a rusty Chevrolet station wagon; the one my first employer had me cruise around in for the longest time.

It isn’t a selfish, narcissistic or vanity laced desire to keep oneself in good shape for as long as is realistic. It is a decision for which our future generations, who end up bearing our burdens in more ways than one, will thank us.

Which brings me to how this connects with the last post which talked about the draining nature of negativity and nastiness.

This rage I sense all around me, road rage, Starbucks’ line rage, subway rage, bus rage, cars raging at pedestrians, pedestrians raging at cars, bloggers writing nasty posts, blog commenters being vicious…all this and more in many ways appears to be like a twinging pain in the knee, the major load-bearing joint in our bodies.

It cannot possibly be healthy, it signals an unraveling of society. It indicates some sort of coming apart at the seams. It makes me feel as though we’ll all be hobbled if we don’t attend to this, if we don’t eliminate this toxicity from within.

And there are others who feel the same way. Like Nick Bilton on a blog in the Technology section of the New York Times today, where he talks about the nastiness in online interactions and people often forgetting that the person at the receiving end of the nastiness is a living and breathing human.

Maybe the real world nastiness I sense, absorb and sometimes reflect, is an extension of our ever-present online personalities?

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