Friday, May 11, 2012

La absurdez de 'footing' / The Absurdity of 'Footing'

Exercising is a terrible. But it doesn't have to be.

Like all of you - excluding the perfection-chasing, overly-enthusiastic yuppie types - going for a run can be a harrowing prospect. The only thing that's worse is THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU HAVE TO GO FOR A RUN LATER, after all of your appointments, prearranged commitments, job interviews, studies, and the other things we have to do to oil the rusty, crushing gears of our monotonous lives.

Let's face it, it's difficult to try and squeeze some exercise into our busy days, especially as we hurdle meaninglessly along towards the unknown; unto the looming, Sartreian void which is death. This is especially true if you work with children or if you spend seven hours a day in a cubicle.

So let's be realistic, when facing the rising tide of the existential absurd, it's hard to find time to jog.

We all know the situation. You're sitting there, at school or work, or on a park bench, or in your bed, and you're having a great time. You're in the moment. You're zen. And then, all of an sudden*, you realize you should probably be exercising. You realize that you're fat. You realize that the only way you can avoid being a bad, fat person is to exercise.

Here's the thing: remember all of that snarky shit I just said about the ghoulish penumbra of this life's flat and meaningless existence? Well, you know what Camus said, about laughing in the face of the absurd? The Spanish are right on top of that. While they might not have read the Stranger when it was assigned to them in school, and maybe they didn't even read the back cover, but like any good work-avoiders (and the Spanish might be the world champions...if the tournament is mañana**), the Spanish have definitely at least read some quotes from Camus to put into their slapdash, last-minute essay. And one quote they definitely took note of went something along the lines*** of "the only way to combat the malaise of life is to laugh in the face of the absurd".

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why the Spanish have decided to call the act of jogging, "footing". This is roughly pronounced "foo-teen", and the correct way to use it in a sentence is to say, "Voy a hacer footing", i.e. "I'm going to do footing".


As you can imagine, as a holier-than-thou native English speaker, full of spite that I am, I cannot in good faith utter the sentence "Voy a hacer footing" and continue my life as a proud, self-confident human being. It's too much.

But wait.

You know when you think about have you have to go running later today? Because you're a fat, bad person? Which you actually aren't - this is the real media conspiracy: making us think we're fat. And screw you Fox News, because your network is the worst about it. Your female anchors are way too hot. Are all hot women conservative bitches?

I digress.

So you know how you dread - hate - abhor - obsess over - dread**** - hate - thinking about going running? I have a suggestion for you. Next time, don't think about going running. Don't even use the mental language "going running", or "va a correr" or "vai correr", or whatever your native brain language might be.

Think about choosing to go do a little footing instead. I guarantee you that, while you still might not actually get off your ass and do anything, you'll at least laugh about how badly that word was translated - invented - in Spanish. You need to at least laugh at that.

Also, once you do get off your ass and get out there (because you ultimately will, once it dawns on you that have nothing better to do and because life is meaningless anyway, you might as well move your legs across various terrain in a repetitive pattern for ten to twenty minutes), remember another thing:

If you are like me and are paranoid, and always think people are analyzing and criticizing your running form and communicating it to other pedestrians using telepathy, you have a responsibility to society - when footing - to immediately start to feign like you are running through the Marine obstacle course at Quantico. You must jump over every park bench, run along the side of any retaining walls (like you are adeptly avoiding unseen pursuers along a building ledge), and you must act like the tiles of the sidewalk are truck tires at the NFL combine, there solely to test your foot speed and agility.

Hey, this isn't some bullshit running. Fuck running. This is footing. This is serious.

*In Spanish, a way of saying "all of a sudden" is "de golpe", which means "of a smash", or "of a hit". This is a cognate of the French word "coup", like in "coup d'etat" ("blow to the state") or "coup de grace" ("blow of grace"). This is a fucking awesome way of saying "suddenly".

** "Mañana" means tomorrow, and the Spanish know better than any American procrastinator that tomorrow is a much better time to do things than today.

*** I also did not look any of this up. I kind-of-sort-of remember it enough from like, something I kind of read a while ago. This is a blog, not a fucking research paper.

**** I said dread twice. It's a good word. It rhymes with "dead". It sounds harsh.