Saturday, May 14, 2005

Okay, not so much about fencing.

This post began with a great deal of sarcasm and included a silly proposal for a new product "Mask Time" which would make me instantly wealthy. However, since I'm quite happy with my humble life as it is now, I'm scrapping the whole idea. The results are that there is nothing redeeming in this self-indulgent post. But I figured - what the heck - I've been at a loss for words lately.

Everything builds up to everything else until it's all a precariously balanced microcosm upon our shoulders. And as much as we'd like, we're not John Galt and we can't shrug off responsibility to steal off to a guarded utopia. There are worries and joys, failures and reward and usually they must all be dealt with at once. Usually I deal with them in the car, as I spend so much time there, and devote the rest of my time to numbing distractions. But the niggling little world on my shoulders is always there, flicking me in the back of the head. That is, except for one instance. Donning a fencing mask provides two luxuries which can't often be afforded in a normal grown-up world: insulation and tunnel-vision.

For precious minutes, one is allowed - encouraged - to ignore everything but whatever is directly in front of them, directing attention to a single purpose. For entire minutes at a time, there is no work, no love, no frets...True, there is the occasional violent poke, but it's a fair trade I think. You are spared these fleeting moments to be selfish and live in the moment.

I know. I'm stretching the limits of metaphor here with this little jaunt down Optimism Lane, but it has been mentioned to me that fencing fills a niche in one's life. At first, I readily agreed. I have a mountain bike that has never been on a mountain. I have skis which are still pretty from their first tuneup. I have rollerblades with fewer miles on them than a three-toed sloth on Lithium. (Here some might say that what I have is too much disposable income.) But now I have a jacket, no longer crisp with newness; a foil with the bell scratched all to hell; and an arm covered in bruises. But fencing hasn't filled a niche - I have no niches, my life overflows for lack of niches - fencing creates a niche. A pleasant hollow space 14 meters long and 2 meters wide where I have only one thing to worry about - myself.


Anonymous said...

Fencing in the moment...I think Charles Selberg coined the phrase "knowledge into action", but it's really the zen concept of beginners mind. You reach a point where you have all the tools in your arsenal and apply them our sports culture we might call it being in the zone. At least that's the concept as I know it....... You are a great writer.

Anonymous said...

Oh Courtney, that's a nice thought: creating a niche!
Me thinks you need a dog.

Courtney said...

Heidi - I quite agree that I need a dog. Right now my work schedule doesn't allow it, but maybe soon. I could train her to pack my fencing gear for me.