As I picked myself up off the dirt, dusted myself off and looked up, I caught a glimpse of a trendy girl no more than 15 watching me. Her mouth was open and eyes gaunt, like she’d just been punched in the stomach with a duck mallet. I don’t think she was prepared for what she just witnessed. I get that a lot and carried on. A few minutes later, the same happened again and I was picking myself up off the ground once more. I didn’t make eye contact this time, but I knew I was being watched. Eventually, compelled, she spoke as I walked towards her direction to go up the steps once more.
“How long have you been doing that?”
“No I mean in years”
I thought for a second whilst continuing up the steps “about 2/100,000ths of a year”
I got a blank look out of that impressive slice of quick thinking on my part, and she knew I was joking around, but didn’t a) show any sign of humour, and b) give up questioning.
“No, when did you start?”
So much within me wanted to say ‘about 1 o’clock’, but thought I should stop. Someone very intelligent once told me, ‘a joke is only funny if people laugh’. So I gave in, and gave out the answer she wasn’t expecting…
“only 28 years”
Now bear in mind she was early teens, anything longer than 2 (days? months? years?) is commitment to her, and also bear in mind that her already opened mouth was either taking in oxygen, expelling oxygen, or devoid of any life sustaining activity. My ’28’ left my mouth, floated across the park, entered her ear canals, triggered off a few million neurological connections and, whichever way you look at it, made all her internal organs in her stomach and chest contract so tightly that she physically ‘deflated’ into a heap of shattered bones and flesh wrapped in Primark Summer Sales items.
Oh and she mouthed to her mates my word ‘only’ in full HD quality 120fps slomo.
And there we have it. Another brain fried, soul destroyed, understanding of time hacked to pieces and a belief in dedication truely exposed.
People who have yet to dedicate an immense amount of time to something, or perhaps haven’t had the upbringing that instilled ‘patience, persistence and longevity’ into them from a young age, very often can’t comprehend how long it takes to learn a new skill.
They may witness you for a brief moment in their lives, either in passing or at an event or competition, and to them its ‘new’. New in their life, and their world of observation. A lot of people spend their whole lives trying to stay upright, on 2 feet and avoid hospitals and causes of concern from family and friends.
We’re not all like that. Thank god.