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Lifestyle Experimentation

Posted by Dirck on 8 July, 2014

Following up on yesterday’s hint (dare I say titillating innuendo?), I should go on to say that this dabbling in alternative lifestyles was not limited to a single avenue.  Let’s start with the one I find most distressing, now that normality is sweeping back over me.  Normality as in “how I generally conduct myself,” that is, as “in much the same way as the majority of other people in the local population” is not something I’ve even claimed– this first example proving that quite nicely.

1) Sports 

I have been… gosh, I hesitate to even name it… I have been actively paying some small amount of attention to sports.

What makes this all the more radical a departure from my own version of normal is that, thanks to a protracted and painfully ill-thought-out decision to replace the local sports stadium with one that is very slightly larger, my power of not caring about sports had as of a month ago reached an all-time height, depth, and/or breadth.  Were there an Olympic medal handed out in not giving a damn about sports, I’d be in serious competition for the gold.

In fact, for all I know, there is and I’m so trained for it the fact has escaped me.

However, like many regular folks, I like my family.  My father and brother are very very excited!!! about the World Cup,…

VERY excited.

VERY excited. (identities concealed to protect their family)

…and rather than spent our regular outings sitting in a corner with my arms folded and a small stormcloud hovering above me, I’ve taken notice of how team Netherlands is doing in the sportings.  They appear to have done a bang up job of running around a lot, pretending to be hurt, pretending to not have done that terrible thing that other guy is pretending happened to him, and standing in lines while adopting a posture which suggests they’ve forgotten they have clothes on.  And they embarrassed the Spanish team on the first match, so everything henceforth is gravy.

Hup Holland and all that.

Hup Holland and all that.

2. Fitness

I don’t ignore fitness as much as I do sports, because I intend to join in the family tradition of living to a ridiculously old age.  However, Regular Job and parenting conspire to keep me from doing much more than fifty push-ups or lunges in my coffee breaks and dead-lifting an increasingly heavy boy.  During the vacation, however, I got an opportunity to go out for a couple of rather long, brisk walks.

The maternal grandparents bought my son a bike.  He’s just about worn the tread off the training wheels.

I don’t have a bike; I did, but it was stolen from my yard about a year before the boy appeared in the world and as I haven’t been able to afford a shed to hide another in, I never replaced it.  Now I think I’ll have to commit to both bike and shed (which means no more breakfasts or lunches for a couple of years), because with tiny 16″ wheels and the drag of the training wheels, son can easily outdistance me.

Getting the bike is less about keeping up with him and persisting a little longer in the particular sort of hover-parenting we’ve afflicted on the lad.  Rather, it’s to prepare for the day in the all-too-foreseeable future when he trundles off out of sight, under his own power, to some undefined location with a pack of his similarly mobile friends, and we know nothing of what he’s about for hours at a time.  I don’t know if my heart can take that unless I get a lot more exercise than I’m currently enjoying.

I do, by the way, endorse the notion of his getting out from the continuous parental scrutiny, even if I go pale with terror at its actually happening.  I spent a lot of my childhood in that state, back in the ’70s when there were still residual hippies in the parks and unseatbelted funny drunk driving was shown on television.

3. Shaving

I started the vacation with a shave.

It was creepy.

I come from a tradition of beard.  My father, as you see above, has one, and it was very nearly responsible for his death in 1959 when he was mistaken for Fidel Castro (he was, I’m pleased to say, an authentic beret-wearing beatnik).  My wife likes a beard on a chap, as part of the whole portfolio of robust manliness she finds attractive– I am fortunate in this, as I’d have to get all my ribs removed to get the gracile “swimmer’s build” that’s all the rage these days.  Not shaving saves a powerful amount of time each morning; I crop my hair very short every month or so, and spend just about zero time pondering myself in the mirror for weeks at a time.

However, every five to eight years, I’ll shave.  I do this primarily to remind myself of why I don’t bother; it took an hour to knock down what the trimmer left, and used vast amounts of water and blood.  This was followed by a couple of days of friends and family members jumping and then saying, a hand pressed unconsciously to chest, “Say, that sure makes you look younger.”  My son pointed and laughed a lot.

It took me longer to get used to it, because they’d see me every time I walked into the same room.  I only got a brief glimpse when passing through the bathroom, and it was a full week of startles.  You see, not only am I very used to having a beard, I also look rather like a particular celebrity.  Thus, every time I stood up from the toilet, I was suddenly confronted with…


Honest.  Except I’ve got a small mole to the left of my chin, and a chicken pox scar in the upper forehead wrinkle.  And my ears stick out a little more at the top.

There is also the loss of absorbency.  People ask “how do you stand that in the summer?”  I wonder back, how the persistent shaver deals with his whole jaw feeling vaguely greasy at all times?

The non-beard look does, in honesty, sort well with my preference for vintage modes of dress, but the discomfort and inconvenience doesn’t make it worth the effort.  I have let the beard return, and it has almost gotten through the far side of the Shabby Hobo sort of facial fuzz that seems to be big these days.  Thanks be to Hirsution, greek deity of hairiness!

4. Slacking

Vacation, right?  Actually, this is a post-vacation thing.  I learn upon bringing my Shabby Hobo face back to The Regular Job that the main reason for using a different colour of ink each day has vanished.  Apparently the accounting department was beset with enervation at the prospect of having to store the documents they have been having my department generate each morning since time immemorial, and which got written down in a calendar according to the business date each report reflected.  Since we’ve been wondering since time immemorial why the accounting department wasn’t doing this whole process itself (consuming a full half-man-hour each morning!), I’m not too upset at the passing of the task.

However, it will probably see me reduce my in-use stable of pens a little; possibly as few as three in a week, and I might even stick with one for couple of days in a row.  Slacking for me, but for you folks, a measurable increase in the amount of dull that my impending return to the fiction writing will bring.  Sorry.

Today’s (and possibly tomorrow’s) pen: Sheaffer Sovereign II
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Lis de Thé


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