Log: Hills

Worm Date: Act II

I celebrated my birthday last week. Well, not exactly celebrate. My birthday happened. I was present. As in alive. I never really celebrate birthdays. I’m not even really against birthdays, though I think people having ‘a birthday week’ is fucking pushing it – it is called a birth DAY and if you can’t respect the time of the people around you, at least try to respect the agreed upon meaning of words. DAY! BirthDAY! If it was a ‘birthday week’ we would call it a birthweek. We don’t. There is a reason. You get a day. One.

Aside from that, I’m just sort of broadly indifferent to birthdays.

I’m never even quite sure what is even being celebrated on a birthday. That I was born? Me and every other person ever. So what? Doesn’t really seem like a thing to celebrate. That I’m still alive? I’m probably getting to the age where that is some sort of accomplishment but, by the time you hit that age –if not before– still being alive seems like a thing you should appreciate more than once a year. A good time to do this is every morning, before the day hits you, but also every night, after you’ve gotten through yet another fucking day. Just don’t celebrate it too much or too often — that can be fatal. Getting older? Doing that constantly. It seems more of less unavoidable. Unpleasant? Yes, but that’s the point.

On the whole, birthdays just seem morbid. They’re dress rehearsals for funerals. And that’s fine but I don’t see why it has to be so cheery or why I should have to attend my own. Before I ended up on the other side of this planet, my friends used to insist on my presence. I seem to recall floating the idea that for my thirtieth birthday, they could have a party, if they insisted, which they did, but I would rather just send a cardboard cutout of myself, and stay at home. They objected to that idea. I had to attend. For some reason. Sadism, probably.

I do like cake though.

I didn’t have a cake.

Aside from that, I’m continuing to progress through school while trying to figure out how exactly to navigate this new era of everyday life quarantine, while it lasts.

Day before my birthday, I went out to buy a bag of rice with my wife and, on the walk home, we actually stopped in a cafe to have a coffee. It was our first time doing anything like that since Valentine’s Day. (On that occasion my wife cleared her throat in public and made a complete spectacle of herself. That sort of noise has been a bit of a DJ scratch, plates fall, party stopping thing to do since January.) This went a little smoother.

But it was such a strange feeling. Like, on one level, it’s just having a coffee. On another, you sort of feel reckless, like you’re trying to pull off a back-flip. And, on another, there’s a distinct feeling of sitting on a bomb. A thing like this maybe looks like getting back to normal but, like those empty baseball stadiums, it just kind of shows how dead and gone normal is.

(Speaking of which, KBO baseball is back. I really prefer the KBO to MLB and I have a lot of thoughts on why –so many that it would probably require a whole other blog to start clumsily wading through them– but, long story short, I think the MLB is too skilled. It’s not even really baseball. At no level of baseball other than the majors is there any such thing as a routine play. In the KBO, you put the ball in play, unleash the hounds, chaos rules the day, and you’ve got a shot at a base. This creates excitement. The majors these days, even when it’s not some nightmare of gambling, cheating, and corruption, is some three true outcome nightmare (walk, homerun, strikeout). That might be the best and most effective way to play the game but it’s also really boring. Just fly ball after fly ball after fly ball. Basically, the major leagues are boring unless you’re some connoisseur of skill. KBO is baseball.)

A big part of going outside again is the hills. Busan has a lot of hills and many of these hills are made of hills, and we live on top of a big hill. I came to this city in pretty good shape –running a mile in seven and half minutes– and these hills just kicked my ass. My definition of a long or steep staircase is has been adjusted. But now I’m getting used to these hills again.

Home is up there somewhere.

I also, finally, finished Gravity’s Rainbow and have moved onto something a bit lighter. The collected works of Samuel Beckett. Just entered volume three of the four volume set — the dramatic works. I prefer the novels but this might be because I kind of dislike reading plays. I really like Beckett. Aside from being well suited to the moment, he’s also very funny.

I recommend the novels and I recommend going through them in order but here’s a radio play that he wrote. It’s pretty good work-out music. Perfect for a treadmill.

Aside from this, I’m also continuing to make rolls.

I eat a lot of rice and seaweed.

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