Skeletal Demarcation

I tore the cartilage in my knees at some point. It might have been early last year, or even earlier, though it did get much worse with time. The result is, I now have a constant, (thanks to physio,) dull pain in both my legs. There’s something wrong with my foot, too, I don’t really know. Anyways, this leads to an odd phenomenon: I am constantly aware of my legs and feet. I know how they’re sitting. I know how they’re moving. I’m even aware of how they swing when I’m taking a step forward. By extension, I’m now forced to exert a modicum of conscious control over these movements because I can’t be allowed to simply allow my body to follow its regular patterns. So, today I realize that I have to learn how to do something I haven’t had to think about in a long time: how to walk.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve thought about walking before. I even spent some time and came up with a method for maximizing the speed and efficiency of each step, providing that one is willing to put in the effort to move quickly that is. When I drink, I’m often struck with the weird experience of realizing how much like monkeys people look, especially drunk people. Next time you’re tipsy, look around the room and think “monkey,” It’s truly surreal. As an added bonus, I’ve spent some time watching people and how they walk. I’ve noticed trends in walking styles. There’s the “goose-step,” the “shuffler,” the “swing-low,” the “power-walker,” and many more. I have to wonder, though, how much of the damage to my legs came from my walking style and how much of it came from other sources. I know that the human body is poorly adapted to walking erect, but what is the optimal walking style that will allow our bodies to stay fresh and useful as long as possible? Granted, we can’t all be in perfect health all our lives, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to maximize the odds.

There is one last effect of this dull pain. It makes me acutely aware of my bones. Because, the pain is partially caused by inflammation, so I can feel where the nerves fire and where they don’t. It’s not perfectly accurate, but it’s enough to give me an idea of how much I’m a sheet of flesh carefully stretched, draped and folded around a skeletal framework with organs inside. It’s a constant influx of mortality awareness and just dizzying perception. It’s all very strange, anyways. I remember, when I was a child, that I thought I was like some sort of Golem; a furnace-fired creation that was solid pink all the way through and animated by a transient consciousness. Of course, we (most of us) grow out of such child-like illusions, especially when we shine lights through out skin to see the bones underneath. It’s hard to maintain such a perspective in “light” of such pertinent evidence. I was in a car driving back from the lake when I first began to doubt and to wonder if these “cut” things i kept getting were really bad. It only made sense that if there was something underneath, then it might be damaged as the flesh was. A nick off the surface of a fine, contemporary creation is a bit sad, but it’s nothing to break down into tears over.Beneath, though, there lurks a more delicate truth. We are human on the inside.

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