Sometimes, I can’t tell if I’m rich or poor, broke or breaking even. I’m lousy with numbers but that’s not the only issue; I also don’t know what day it is. Unless I write everything down and cling to my date book with the kung fu grip, I could be in trouble pretty often. Fortunately, people want things and don’t feel shy about issuing demands. These demands come in all sorts of forms. A few weeks ago, my neighborhood was turned upside down for the better part of a Friday night. On the next business day, the borough plastered every foyer in the apartment complex with nervous letters about “the animal incident.” Residents who had contact with “the animal” were ordered to turn themselves in to the Health Department for rabies testing.
The number of things I don’t know is not decreasing as time passes. No, letters like this force me to conclude that there are as time passes an even greater number of things I do not know, as more facts I would not have imagined are revealed. This seems counterintuitive. Recently, I figured out that with five lines of instructions I could program a 200 CD player but it was only possible because a teenager paraphrased the manual using very small words.
Two Sundays ago, I firmly believed I could not run and learned I was mistaken. I ran a few hundred – let’s modestly suppose – feet further than I thought I’d ever run again. This had a profound effect on my psyche. I began to wonder what other assumptions were limiting me. Once, it was true that I could not run and it remained true for more than twenty years. In all probability I’ll never run a marathon, but my limits have changed. Yesterday, I found a solitary stretch of road in the park and ran further than before by picking a marker of some kind and running to it, then picking another, and another, a few times. For other people, this distance would be nothing. I was thrilled. Half an hour later on the street above the park, I ran two short blocks toward home just because it felt so good to run.
I doubt I will ever balance a checkbook – I do wonder what appears certain but simply isn’t impossible. Spring is an excellent time for wild ideas.