Monday, June 25, 2012

I Hope We Don't Change Too Much.

That's my left hand up there, and apparently you can't tell too much about me in the present day from my left hand. According to some streams of palmistry the left hand represents what you were born with, your genetically predisposed personality traits, the nature rather than the nurture. On this hand you can see that the worry lines are deeply etched, the relationship lines permanent and unflinching, the heart line serious and unbroken, the small finger stretching wildly away from the other three. Make of this what you will. I don't believe any of it anyway.

Strangely, as a cyclist I have next to no superstitions. I don't have to put one shoe on before the other, don't need my stuff laid out in a particular way, don't have a lucky pair of knicks. Sure, I have a routine before a race, places where I like things to go, but this is more about ease than anything else, and if the routine is thrown off I won't bat an eye. What I like most about racing is that purity of focus, how you're not thinking about anything else while you're out on the track. In fact, here's an excellent summation of what I'm thinking during a race:

Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Waitwait. Waitwaitwait. Waitwait, Waitwait. Ok. Ok. Ok. Yep. Now. Now! NOW! NOW!

You will note that there's no room there for me to wonder whether or not I'm wearing my favourite pair of socks. If I spent three seconds thinking about whatever stupid superstition I have, I'd likely miss the move and my race would be over.

But in my regular life a few little things sneak in. Whenever I forget things at my house, and have to go back to get them, I always stop and wait a little bit. I'll be standing there, having just retrieved my phone or keys or computer cable, just waiting. Because there's a slim chance that this twist of fate may mean that I've somehow avoided some catastrophe that would've occurred had I continued on my way. If I had've remembered my phone, had it been snugly in my right hip pocket where it always is, I would've kept driving to work up Victoria Rd at 8.22am and probably would've had a car accident. But because I forgot it, and had to go back home to get it, I was driving up Victoria Rd at 8.27am instead, and missed that potential accident by five minutes. The act of just going home, however, isn't enough. I always wait a little bit, just to make sure.

I'm also suspicious of folks who claim to "have a feeling" about a particular situation in the future, about portentous signals or signs of foreboding. But I will go months, even years, without accidentally cutting myself (or deliberately, for that matter), and then all of a sudden I'll be covered in bandaids, a series of clumsy accidents resulting in bloodletting. Going back over my journals, times where I have been cut and scraped and grazed have nearly always coincided with times of dramatic upheaval, of serious things changing. The more blood drawn, the greater number of cuts, the shorter period of time in which they occur, the more significant the changes.

The other day I dropped a table and it clipped my knee, leaving three tiny lines of red. Later that night I was doing the dishes and was a little too enthusiastic with the blender blades. Minutes later I walked into the living room to change the music and stepped on a needle and thread that FJ had dropped while sewing. An hour or so further on I dropped a glass on the edge of the dining table, ruining our Tom Boonen tablecloth and slicing my finger open. The laundry basket was heavier than I expected post-wash, and as it fell from my hands it clipped the knuckle of my thumb. The dry air has wreaked havoc with my hands, and shoving my fingers into my pocket to retrieve my wallet tore some of the skin around my fingernail away. I started to worry about blood loss, so sat myself down to some sweet black tea.

Sipping at the Irish Breakfast, I begin to worry about what the future had in store. I still don't know. But I know that something big is coming. Well, perhaps I feel like something big is coming. I might be wrong, and another superstition might be disproved. I'll let you know.


Spiro said...

you have a Tom Boonen tablecloth?

brendan said...

don't you?