Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hypothetical Miles

"On His Way", by Jean-Jacques Sempé on this week's cover of The New  Yorker Magazine

The miniature cartoon man greeted me from his stationary bike as I sat down on mine. I have not always embraced mechanical contraptions for exercise, but when the weather in unpredictable and the sidewalk are littered with ice, I enjoy the predictability of a machine where I can close my eyes and zone out as the miles pass me by. Some days I could take it or leave it; other days I need the hamster wheel to think, work through ideas, burn off some steam. After an hour I can move on: go to the grocery store, run an errand, visit my sister, go home. And I can do all of it without wondering if I'm going to lose it when someone crosses my path.

Teaching often feels like a roller coaster. I'm twisting and turning, unsure of when things will slow down--let alone stop. Sometimes it feels glorious, and sometimes I just feel sick.

When the painting on the cover greeted me as I cranked up the resistance to settle in for an hour of methodical predictability, I quickly opened to the inside cover to find the title: "On His Way", it read.

I suppose.

Where am I on my way to?

I am on my way to reading a whole bunch of papers on "A Person That has Impacted History." Based on yesterday's questions, I'll be reading papers on everything from Metalica to Marilyn Monroe to Stalin to Wayne Gretzky to George Washington, who--as one student discovered while becoming momentarily confused--is different from George Washington Carver.

I am on my way to four nights of a grad school class, coupled with the first week of track and a full day of teaching.

I am on my way to another weekend of skiing, assuming this week's weather prediction for four days of snow comes through.

Indeed, me and the man on the cover of this week's New Yorker Magazine have much in common: an evening content to pound out hypothetical miles, because we both know that life moves on regardless of whether we make any physical progress during a workout.

1 comment:

  1. Holy cow friend! You are a busy busy lady!

    I bet some of those essays are pretty classic though! ;)