Play

I rarely rest, except for of the so-called planned variety. I don’t rest my brain, my body, or even my emotions much.

Before I came to South Africa for my first 8-month stint that wound up becoming a tad longer, I had heard stories of spring wildflowers stretching as far as the eye could see, and I resolved to go see them. I never did, and I’m busier now than I’ve ever been so I figured what the heck, I’ll go see them this year and continue up to see my lovely friend Aliwiya, who I met in Cape Town, and who now lives in Upington.

I'm not in Kansas any more!

I’m not in Kansas any more!

Long trip, but although I’ve never read Jack Kerouac even, I love to drive, I love the open road and the space it gives you, to see a place, and this place is a magical, special, fantastic place.

Some people run long distance and claim they get clarity of mind through the moving meditation. I get bored with running. But I can drive all day! This is why I also hate driving at night or on a boring road (I-89 in New Hampshire, for example). I like stimulation.

Anyway. I had meant to go out an earlier weekend but then I changed it to suit someone else’s schedule (work first …!), but finally I did go. Before leaving, however, I firstly had the pleasure of a great breakfast at Tasha’s with Carla. Ahhh Tasha’s, a little piece of Gauteng in Cape Town. No but really, you look at the clientele and you may as well be sitting in Sandton. Two girls in their gym clothes didn’t quite fit in, but then again, Carla and I don’t quite fit in anyway. Not that we care, especially.

THEN I got to do something that I had been waiting for literally for a year, which was to go play with the new tech being developed by my friends at HealthQ. And by play with, what I mean is be guinea pig for. They made me race up and down the street which was probably more fun for me than for poor Nicol who had had three hours of sleep the night before, and had to run with me!

But what I was really looking forward to was putting their device through a CrossFit workout, and to see the results of said workout. Haven’t seen the results yet, but I was there for them, not for me. I did design a workout specifically to cause metabolic failure as soon as humanly possible. It was originally going to be burpees, running, and dumbbell push press but then to keep the geographic area small I modified it to be just burpees and dumbbell thrusters in small enough sets that I could always keep going at a very high pace.

The problem was, I was actually too effective at designing the workout because by about one minute in I wanted to die! You just can’t go at that pace for too long. I did well though at going into that pain cave where you don’t know what’s going on around you. AMRAP5 of silent pain.

Then I took a rest and did it again for another two minutes and this time … oh my word the second minute was probably one of the longest minutes of my life!!

These boys are always posing!

These boys are always posing!

I guess I was right with what I told Rick a few weeks back – CrossFit is my ‘me time.’ And qigong is my parasympathetic ‘me time.’ But I should really just chill out on a hammock reading a book. And maybe one that’s not about physiology or Olympic lifting or macroeconomics or behavioural psychology. Yeah, right! I’m not even fooling myself here!

Afterwards I stayed around for another two hours or so chatting. I did know better, because winter nights are short and I dislike driving in the dark, but … I was enjoying myself.

Finally I did hit the road and one thing I forgot about was that driving on the South African national highways is really not relaxing! The roads are quite narrow often, and then you have to be constantly overtaking slow-moving vehicles. So you can’t just zone out and look at the scenery … you have to be constantly on your toes.

Which I guess is a metaphor for this whole country. Everything is a metaphor, everything is everything.

I overnighted at a guest house in Springbok and the next morning was something like an extract from Twin Peaks. But I did learn something – apparently if you don’t rest your brain you can go mad. Not sure if this is true. But it sounds like it could be.

So, resting! Loving the beauty of the Northern Cape, and the warm embrace of loving friends. Carla said it well: when people are similar, they know it. And we embrace our time together. Aliwiya may be like J, where I will see her once or twice a year but when I do, it’s quality time.

Everything comes down to that. When you run, run. When you rest, rest.

When you play, play.

  • “I suppose I don’t need to move to Joburg. If I ever miss it I can just come sit here!” – Ellie
  • “When people are similar, they know it.” – Carla
  • “I like these kind of ‘no filter’ relationships.” – Carla
  • “You stop when you’re done. Or when time runs out.” – Ellie
  • “I did say that, didn’t I? I’m beginning to regret I said that.” – Ellie
  • “There goes the lawn.” – Nicol
  • “It’s an unwritten rule of parenthood that if you send your kids to UCT, they don’t come back.” – overheard at breakfast
  • “I’m an athlete. My drug is dopamine.” – Ellie
  • “We’re all being groomed for something.” – Aliwiya
  • “And the worst thing is that the ones that suffer are the children.” – Aliwiya

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