Tuesday, August 26, 2008


You can ask any person of my acquaintance and they will tell you that I have always strictly adhered to the law of gravity (except when in love), and am a close follower of inertia (both the at-rest and in-motion aspects, particularly the former).
F = G \frac{m_1 m_2}{r^2}
My physical orthodoxy was demonstrated to the max a few nights ago when, as I was on my way home after a long day of work in the office in the big city, curving up the mountain road on my motorbike in that deeper kind of darkness that follows a long day in an office in a big city - plus I'd spent an hour after that at the bookstore because there was a discount sale on English language books, so my head was full of tome-ish stuff, as was my backpack, and the air was full of even darker darkness than my usual return time - a concrete telephone pole took advantage of these conditions to leave its usual location and surprise me. Reality often does this. I clearly remember being surprised at the sight of an immovable object only a meter ahead, gleaming in my headlight, in the microsecond before I faithfully displayed my strict adherence to physical laws and further lowered my opinion of telephone poles.

No doubt there are a lot of people who deeply appreciate telephone poles, since there’s no disputing taste, but personally I never could stand the eyesores, even less so now that for me they're headsores, backsores, shouldersores and ribsores. Always right in the way, all that ugliness strung out over the everyscape just so we can chat at a distance and see after dark, watch reality on tv and so forth.

I'm not being a curmudgeon here, or a grouch, grump or even a fogey, all of which you do best when you're older, so I meet the age requirement; fact is, I disliked telephone poles even when I was young, because they were almost as everywhere then, and they were just as ugly, the old ones splintery and smelling of creosote (they used wood when I was a kid; remember wood?). They ruined the scenery just as they do now, standing right in the middle of the picture, elbows sticking out in rank disapproval of these pointless esthetic yearnings of ours.
\  d={gt^2\over 2}
Anyway, in said strict accordance with the laws of gravity, inertia and centrifugality I traversed the appropriate mathematical arc through the pure mountain air while the motorcycle continued to unite with the pole. Following my brief calculus demonstration I found myself flat on my back there in the mountain darkness, the motorcycle headlight illuminating my sprawled body as it gasped for air, like being pinned there in the dark by the eye of god on a solitary mountain road with that What is the meaning of life question hovering there at the basis, what is reality after all - one is never so alone, yet so integrated withal, as at such moments - so after lying there on the road not thinking at all of Jack Kerouac while relearning to breathe and restructuring an appropriate degree of accepted reality, working various joints this way and that to determine the extent of my integrity, I at last was able to stand up, hobble over to and hop onto the still running motorbike, which now wouldn't turn right or very far left, and managed to drive it upmountain the rest of the way home, which to my good fortune was straight ahead. I'd have a hell of a left-body Charlie horse tomorrow (landed mainly on my left shoulder).

Which, 4 days later, is still the case. Plus a couple of cracked ribs and a subluxated collar bone, all taped up and strapped together. At least I can type, once my right hand lifts my left hand onto the keyboard.


Anonymous said...

Oh! Are you OK, Bob-san?
I didn't imagine something like this happened to you after the sale of the bookstore which I let you know!

I wish your quick recovery, Bob-san!
I hope I can see you on Thursday at the office!

Iwakura Ken said...

Under current circumstances as detailed in recent postings, I'd check that all-too-innocently misplaced pole carefully for simian fingerprints...
PS: Meanwhile, at least you have a good supply of clinic waiting-room reading material on hand.

Harold/AQ said...

Damn poles; you can't trust one of those things as far as you can throw it.

Anonymous said...


Since I just discovered your great writing, sure am glad you can type while recovering. . .

Wishing you a speedy, full recovery from far away in the piney woods of the Florida panhandle,


Anonymous said...

The pole hasn't hurt the prose, Get well soon.

Mary Lou said...

EEK!!!! sur it was caused by a MONKEY? tricky little critters they!

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, Robert! So glad things did not end up much worse; though I know your pain must make you feel that it couldn't have been any worse.

Feel better soon!!

Martin J Frid said...

You will be fine. Great poets somehow always live to tell the tale.

Gesshu Soko, died January 10, 1696, at age 79

Inhale, exhale
Forward, back
Living, dying:
Arrows, let flown each to each
Meet midway and slice
The void in aimless flight --

Thus I return to the source.

Mage said...

It must have been considering that leap in front of you for months. It then must have been given some opening....a gap, and there it was. Now, I too suddenly found myself missing the use of a usual part of me, and all I could do was laugh while emitting the usual sounds of agony. Hope yours is less every day.

Anonymous said...

The propensity of Japanese phone poles to occupy the same space as speeding vehicles, and for the Japanese not to think this weird (the road I walk home has one that's all of two feet into the lane) makes me go hmmm.

Hope you're fixing up good, Bob. In the meantime, enjoy all the pretty colours. All those purples...