Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sleepless Long Nights

There’s a Bertrand Russell quote that says “Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do.” I couldn’t agree more. I love tumbling ideas around in my mind, working them like rocks in a rock tumbler… polishing and modifying them, improving their clarity and my ability to share them with others over time. Hell, I have a bachelor’s degree in, essentially, thinking. The only time I really DON’T appreciate my rock tumbler brain is when I’m trying to sleep. :/

I think yesterday’s overactive brain activity started at the gym. I was forcing myself to run 10k of ladders (building up and down with and for speed) on the treadmill. I think that with running, once you’re in decent shape you can likely run for quite awhile, as long as you can keep your mind engaged. Beginning runners don’t realize how much of a mind game running is. They jog for ten minutes, “get tired,” and assume it’s just because they are out of shape. Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t really out of shape people who really do tucker out after ten minutes, but I’d venture the argument that most people can probably maintain a really slow pace and run a 5k even if they are out of shape as long as they stay mentally engaged.

I have a variety of things I usually do while I’m running to stay mentally engaged on something other than the relatively monotonous physical task at hand. First, I always listen to music. I believe I read somewhere a few months ago that the best music to run to has a tempo of at least 120bpm. I have a playlist full of such upbeat songs which really help when I start to feel bored. The only thing I have to be conscious of as far as listening to music goes is accidentally lip-synching. Many-a-time I’ve found myself lip-synching obscenities on the treadmill followed by looking around guiltily to make sure no one was watching! Second, I try to consciously focus on my surroundings. If I’m running outside, I obviously check out the scenery, look in shop windows, etc. If I’m running on the treadmill, I try to position myself on one of the machines that has a good view of the door of the gym. I people watch people coming in and out. Doing this, I’ve decided that I really want a pair of red Hummel track pants to wear to the gym. Third (and clearly most dorkily), I’ve found myself doing mental academic exercises while I run. I’ll do long division or multiply large sums. I’ll create and work out logical proofs or set up a pseudo-LSAT game. Dorky, but it works and keeps my aging mind sharp. ;)

So anyway, after my 10k workout of ladders and long division, I headed home. Libby came over and we finished off last night’s Paradis ice cream and watched ‘Small Miracles’ because it is one of the only movies (ahem, VHS!) that my landpeople own that we hadn’t watched yet. If you haven’t yet seen Small Miracles, don’t bother. It’s a pretty lame movie starring John Travolta. He seems to acquire super intelligence as well as telekinesis, impressing everyone in town and striking fear into government officials. We later learn that his super-intelligence is just coming from a malignant, octopus-like tumor wrapped around his brain. Oh, and even though the movie takes place in the nineties, some people drive trucks that look like they are from the 1950s. Weird.

After that brain drain of a movie, Libby and I somehow got onto one of my favorite conversation topics: religion. I think I like talking about religion for two reasons. First, I think it is an intrinsically fascinating topic to study and discuss. Second, I don’t think I know or am passionate enough about politics to discuss them ad infinitum the way I can religion. Our conversation went as many conversations about religion between non-believers usually go, until we got onto a subtopic I had surprisingly not put a lot of thought into: The Holy Ghost. Now, the Holy Trinity concept in and of itself is pretty strange, but aside from that, what exactly is the Holy Ghost/Spirit’s duty as a member of the Holy Trifecta? “The Father” presides over heaven and stars in the Old Testament. “The Son” stars in the New Testament and seemed to pay his Trinity dues during his time here on Earth… But what about that mystical ghostly spirit? Will it be starring in The Modern Testament? The Newer Testament? The New, Improved, High-Tech, and Self-Cleaning Testament? And what’s it doing now? Just being an essence that inhabits all of us? Are we infused with Holy Spirit the way we’re infused with scents in upscale retail establishments? Can you be allergic to Holy Ghost? “Stop infusing me with Holy Ghost!” was Libby’s most quotable saying of the evening.

Then we got to talking about omnipotence and Hell. To us, Hell seems similar to Freetown Christiania, which is a squatter colony in Copenhagen. The government has been threatening to kick Christianians out for years, but have yet to follow through. I bet they could though… How come Hell isn’t like that? Yeah, I know Satan is a fallen angel, yadda yadda yadda, but God is supposed to be omnipotent, which is more than Satan can say… Couldn’t God kick Satan and all the squatters out of Hell? (Yes, I understand squatters is a tricky term to use, because I think squatting usually implies desire to be in the place and most people (supposedly) probably don’t want to be in Hell…) Is Hell the original squatter colony? Bevar Hell! Lots to think about…

By this time it was getting late, so Libby headed home and I decided to head to bed because I had an early meeting today at work. Unfortunately, after lying in bed for an hour, I realized that the ‘sleeping’ part of 'going to bed' (the other part is the lying in bed part, obvi) just wasn’t happening. To my tired dismay, my mind churned with thoughts. I thought about how people have particular habits when doing particular things. I thought about how interesting it is that you can have completely, utterly mixed and confused feelings about other individuals, ideas, and future plans. I thought about other things that I don’t really feel comfortable blogging about… Suffice to say it was a long, sleepless night.

This morning I woke up tired and bedraggled. I knew it was going to be a long day when I was in the shower and I quickly glanced at my roommate’s shower gel sitting on the shower ledge. At first glance, I thought the bottle of teal gel read “Occam’s Razor.” ‘Hmmm,’ I thought, ‘Occam’s Razor scented shower gel… that’s interesting. I wonder what CVS thinks unassuming simplicity smells like…?’ I looked at it again, intending to pick it up and smell the simplicity, only to realize that it was actually called “Ocean Breeze.” Ugh, today is going to be a loooong day...

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