Skip to content

Delia Wilson, Writer Posts

Resolution

During times of crisis I do two things, write and reflect. I dislike reacting only; therefore, after the presidential election I stopped to reexamine my beliefs once again resulting in my last post. So much of what you see is declarations of “if this is so, then this is so” as if life were only a series of directly opposing forces.

As a Buddhist, one of my mantras is moderation in all things – in other words, walk the middle path. Even as a teenager I would parse out the pros and cons and see the middle ground. So after careful consideration I was able to find one and only one important belief where I could not see my way to compromise. I’m going to use that one as an example – not as just a way to promote that belief.

That one issue is abortion. But even as I stand unbudging, there is a flip side to it. My body, my choice. I remind myself of that anytime I see someone with expensive tattoos who seems to own nothing more or who might find certain jobs closed to them because of their ink. I have always used that approach with the topic of sex. Your bedroom, your choice. Your partner, your choice and even your promiscuous (and possibly dangerous) behavior, your choice. I do still remember laws that prohibited certain types of sexual behavior in one’s own bedroom with one’s own heterosexual partner in Georgia. Never the government’s business.

My body, my choice has a corollary – your body, your choice. I simply think it’s none of my business and expect the same in return. In all of that I’m not telling you I’m pro abortion. I have no earthly idea what I would do if faced with that choice today.

That same type of dilemma has existed for me this week following the nazi invasion of Charlottesville. We are all so upset and angry, many of us lashing out at each other if one does not follow the party line. Since I don’t do political correctness very well to start with and do believe in a middle way, there have been some statements that I found that personally rankled me. One adamant statement has been that if you were against removing the statues, you are racist.

I really don’t want to get into that discussion even though I have spent countless hours over months thinking on this topic. I believe there is a continuum of thought – not absolutes here. As a 66 year old Georgia-raised southerner, I have had experiences way beyond that of a 30 or 40 year old that have deeply affected me. It does take that history of living before and after school segregation to find common ground with me and many others of my age group. Then that leads to many different points on that continuum as well.

My stance has brought me into conflict with a number of people I have liked and respected for a long time, especially since last weekend’s events. It is not an either / or dilemma. This is not a time to speak only to the entrenched extreme ends of that spectrum. Especially now. It is time to stop and reflect on where do we want to go from here. What is important for America’s future? Not just that of the South or any particular race, religion or ethic status but the future of our nation.

I have shed tears during my intense soul searching. I have written treatise after treatise in my head. I have listened (yes, I listened to you even though no one has been willing to listen to me) and I have searched my history and my soul. I had finally gotten to a place where I thought I could write a reasonable defense of my stance when my brother suggested to write it and not send it to the two people who know me best here whose opinion mattered to me.

Clarity came with hours. I suddenly knew that my heart was pure. I suddenly saw that the only place where this matters is in my heart. I know who I am; I know how I treat – have always treated – people; I know that I will continue to act according to my beliefs and conscience in the future.

If one gets that reasoned gift at any point in his or her life, then it is all worth it. I do not need to defend myself. I’m all right.

How I’m Staying Sane Right Now

I’ve seen some bits and pieces about how to manage these tempestuous times but I figure some concrete examples of how I manage my life nowadays might add something to the discussion.

I have been extremely immersed in what’s happening politically right now. I found out that Trump had won the election in the middle of the night when the nurse woke me up for fresh antibiotics while I was in rehab. I was stunned but still in such bad shape following emergency surgery to save my life that I really didn’t deal with any of it then.

After getting out of rehab, I was working on gaining strength and still didn’t have the energy to look too closely at the election. Then sometime before Christmas I started writing again. I have been doing a lot of that the past few years but mainly on genealogy and I’ve started a fiction book as well. Neither of those have been going well, perhaps because nearly dying is a life reset? I don’t know.

I was still treating Facebook as an extension of my business at that time. I didn’t want to offend anyone and lose business; I didn’t want to upset friends or family because I have always preferred to avoid face to face confrontation. But then I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. My major first step into the fray was a post on December 21 that I did not make public, beyond my Facebook friends until today. You can read my “manisfesto” here: https://www.facebook.com/Deliawl/posts/10209653356185030

Since then there have been ups and downs. I’ve not been a happy camper in general with healing wounds and worries about my future. The political climate has been discouraging and then at times encouraging (see this post) but most of all it has been wearing. For a while, I would have a nightly mini depression – then to wake up and go at it again in the morning. But I cannot sustain that.

So here are some things I’m doing to make my life better today:

  1. I reconnected with my Buddhism. Reread some passages. Reaffirmed how I want to live my life.  Discussed this with my husband some to help untangle the anger I was feeling which was not very Buddha-like! Acceptance of reality is key.
  2. I write. It’s how I relieve tension. It’s how I know I can be effective and maybe shed some light on things, maybe inspire someone to be better or stronger, maybe reach out to others who I want to talk to. I cannot march or physically protest. I don’t have a physical outlet for my anger. So I have to make the writing work for me.
  3. Letting go of the anger. I can’t stay mad and survive this.  At some point, many of us said “I cannot accept the fact that Trump won” because his presidency seems to be a denial of all important things many of us hold dear. Sorry, folks, he is the president. Maybe he won’t be around for long and maybe he will. I doubt that any of us can do anything about that. Screaming via facebook about his idiocies can help to relieve the anger but it can also hurt. Stop looking at those inflammatory headlines. Stop rehashing yesterday’s news. Don’t forget but don’t dwell. You are only hurting yourself.
  4. Research. Don’t just read a headline. Read the article. Google the same words and see where else has that appeared. Find out who reported it first. Follow those source links – I keeping finding better articles in those sources. I learn.
  5. Find your objectivity. You must have some. You got through school, right? You write papers? You had to be objective at some point before. Recall those lessons.
  6. So being objective is taking something and seeing if you can find definitive proof. Case in point, the cost of Trump’s presidency. You can easily find estimates of what a trip costs or the security at a Trump event or at the “Tower”. Doesn’t matter what you think might be happening, we really don’t know. Estimates. Not real numbers. When the average Trumper thinks Trump either, one, deserves it or, two, that he pays part of his expenses, those estimates are simply not going to convince them of anything. I had to say to my friend essentially that neither of us can prove a thing.  In the end, for now, a non-issue and really not important in the big picture. She and I came away from the discussion feeling good that we talked. That became the important thing.
  7. I still am on Facebook regularly throughout the day but I ignore things that are upsetting. I’m looking at sources first and not following thru looking at some of these websites that simply don’t deliver much in the way of news, slanted or not. I am paying more attention to other types of posts. I got irritated at the wall of art thing but it is nice now to see some more congenial things being posted. I still like the political cartoons when they make me laugh but I’m not obsessing like I was before. Then I turn it off and go do something else. Without worrying over the rest of the nation or the world.
  8. I am able to see some encouraging bits of light – something that you can’t see if you don’t research. I looked at Trump’s speech in Florida. Figured out quickly what he might have been trying to say (and failing miserably) about Sweden and where it came from. (He did actually clarify it later.) Then I read the end of his speech. I did not watch it so I don’t know what it looked like. What I do see is a bit of the unifying America theme instead of the us against them mentality. A bit of a departure for him. Now his behavior and choices may be modifying a bit. He is learning? Don’t know. Willing to allow him growth ’cause he sure needs it. (snark)
  9. And I’m reaching out to folks, trying to talk to folks. To find out what they are thinking. Sitting here and just repeating “I don’t understand why you think that way” is foolish. I believe we have to learn to talk all over again. So I try to find folks who are able to carry on some type of reasonable conversation  – no name calling or screaming about Obama or Clinton. I may not agree with anything they say but I’m now valuing civil discourse above all. I may not agree but at least I can begin to see where they are coming from and be able to talk with them without one of us getting mad and stomping off into another corner of the internet.
  10. I have to believe our nation will survive this and, folks, I am not known to be an optimist. I have realized from the start that many things and many people are going to get hurt from these policies that I don’t agree with. I know people will die if the Republicans have their way with the repeal and replace. I’m prepared for another war. It won’t be the last but maybe it won’t happen. That is, by the way, where I draw the line. You might well find me out there protesting again in that case.

I have a multi-fold mission: inspire, learn, teach and stay sane.

In the meantime, I have a life to live. It’s not easy but life isn’t easy. Things have changed for many of us. Once you accept that change, you will find life will improve.

Acceptance is key to the staying sane part.

That Serenity Prayer that I embroidered many, many years ago works. Accept what you cannot change, have courage to change the things you can and know which is which. Start thinking about about that. Start categorizing your actions and thoughts that way. You might just find it works.

The Memories Are Driving Me

One thing that folks don’t realize how memories drive us and how those form the basis for our present thinking. When we react, we react based on what we have seen before. We know where we came from and where we are today.

These are what come to mind as we weather this administration. I remember civil rights riots and beatings, I remember Nixon and those terrible years of the Vietnam War, I remember being told to love America or leave it, I remember Kent State and those National Guardsmen who killed students, I remember being mistreated because I looked like a hippie, I remember my family’s disapproval of my father, an Irish-Polack Catholic Yankee in 1950s and ’60s Georgia, I remember folks being scorned with nastiness for dating across racial lines. I remember when women had no power, when a woman could not even choose what name to have on her driver’s license.

I have historical memory of Hitler and the Nazis, McCarthyism and other witch hunts and dictators. I know way too much about that kind of history.

I hear echos of all of that today in so much of the rhetoric of our nation’s leaders. We have made great progress as a nation but now I fear for the soul of this nation.

There are many things I will not, cannot accept as normal behavior in politics and government. It is those things that are being called out into the light; it is those things people are protesting. If you ignore this, it will be you who are the victims of tomorrow.

The Enemy is…

Did you hear it? Did you hear what I heard yesterday?

Women.

On the march.

Finally.

It’s about time but it is not just about Trump.

I have spent my entire life trying to push the boundaries for women starting in 1962. We were not allowed to wear pants to school. I and Delores Robinson (wherever she may be today) wore pants to school. No one spoke to us the entire day. No one. At the end of the day, we were told either we wore a dress the next day or we did not return to school.

1969, Agnes Scott College, freshmen Economics class. I looked around the room to see that no one was even raising her head when the professor stated women should not be allowed in the field.  No one.  A male professor at a woman’s college whose president was also a male.

1972, Valdosta Daily Times, Valdosta, Georgia. The sole female reporter who had a master’s degree in journalism was told that she would never make more than the city editor who flunked out of college. 1973, I started as a reporter following her departure. 6 weeks into my job, I was called into the publisher’s office. He spoke about the health insurance plan with his eyes never raising above my chest. The next day I was informed I had to wear a bra because they were afraid I was going to be raped in the pressroom as I walked thru to the vending machines. I was always cautious to wear concealing clothes when in the community as a reporter. Fired one week later in a incredibly nasty fashion as the city editor literally shoved me out of his car. That was not for my safety.

Yeah, I guess I was pretty radical for the times.

2003, Comer, Georgia, a business that I will not name because they did the right thing. I walked thru the back room (shades of Valdosta) to hear someone say “Yep!” as they eyed my chest. My radicalism had turned into necessity: my back troubles simply made it impossible to wear a bra. The company instituted a sexual harassment policy and those involved were counseled properly. But 2003, not the 1970s.

2009, Charlottesville, Virginia, a business I cannot name because of the separation agreement I signed. I watched my coworkers treat the male boss as if he were their sugar daddy. In a flirtatious manner these well-educated women (one with a masters) batted their eyes and cozied up to him in a bizarre daughterly way when they were asking for something. One of those women told him I could not do the job in a successful effort to get me fired. He believed her tale and told me (I was a good ten years older than him by the way so no cozying could happen) he could not believe she would lie to him. She was lying because I was way more experienced than her and she felt I was a threat to her plans. I was.

2013, Charlottesville, Virginia, a meeting. I cannot even remember why we were meeting. Two young educated women with children informed me that feminism was only for radicals. I had no retort. I was too stunned to speak.

2016, women are marching.  I watched teary-eyed. Finally, they were marching.

It’s about time but it not just about Trump.

It is about a female candidate for president who was disparaged for her gender. I even had problems with her because of how I preferred a woman to act. Hilary Clinton stood by her hubby when he embarrassed the country by his actions. She plowed on towards her obvious political goals instead of telling women it was not okay for the president of the United States to behave badly.

I voted for her anyway. Not because she was a woman or a Democrat. I voted against Trump.

He is not the subject of this essay.

Women.

Complacent women, who mind their manners and do what they are told by parents, people of faith, educators, and society figures and who lead quiet, productive, complacent lives.

We still live in a country where women make substantially less than men – especially if they are women of color.

We still live in a country where a panel of nine people discussing the Women’s March on CNN included only one woman.

We still live in a country where I can attend a meeting where men are overwhelmingly the majority. One tech meeting had 65 attendees with only 3 women. Because women are not choosing technical fields still.

We still live in a country where the doctors are mostly male and the nurses mostly female. After my recent hospitalizations, I value the nurses and despair at the male surgeons’ inability to communicate which complicated my care and endangered my health. Thank you, nurses, for the incredible care you give under sometimes impossible conditions. Oh, yeah, and thanks to the head male nurse at rehab who was forced to step in and facilitate my care when staffing levels dropped to almost 0.

We still live in a country where reality TV makes humiliating and shaming someone in public for whatever reason okay, where the lines blur between reality TV and real life. Where “Women are often presented as dependent and subordinate as well as dim-witted and vain.” Where “Apart from being depicted as passive and weak, women are generally much younger and more physically attractive than their male counterparts, displaying them as sex symbols” (http://the-artifice.com/sterotyped-women-in-reality-tv/) Where it’s okay to have a reality TV star as president.

We still live in a country with a Congress populated by only 20% women. Where the numbers improve to a whopping near 25% at the state level.

We still live in a country with women who think all of the above doesn’t matter, that only radicals, deviants and abortion advocates care about these issues. Where some women think a Women’s March is only about pro-choice and not about their own rights.

We still live in a country where men think they can dictate what I do with my body even though we thought that was decided in 1972. If this line offends you, I do not apologize. I also am not saying I would choose abortion but I would choose to allow a woman to make up her own mind. It is none of my business. (and I moved this to the bottom to avoid people who would stop reading at this point – three more lines, just keep going)

Complacency is the enemy, has always been women’s enemy.

Trump is a blight. But Trump may have broken the complacency. I think he has bitten off more than he can chew.

Prove me right.

Kinhin

(Walking Meditation from Japanese Buddhism)

As I climb out of my car, a fetid wave of dog poop flows over me: I have parked next to the trash cans at the trailhead. I thank heavens for responsible pet owners who trash the poop but I walk quickly to pass by that bit of nature after I start my iPhone app to record my walk statistics.

Just a few steps brings me past the playground equipment on the right as I spot a blue fisherman’s soft-sided creel on the picnic bench. Then I hear the river; it’s loud enough to overwhelm all my senses but there’s also hints of a floral scent from hidden wildflowers that nudges me for attention. This is the closest to the river I come in my walking mile and I tend to slow down to absorb it all, the sounds, the smells, and the sight of the rushing water glinting irregular patterns of mosaic-like reflections.

This is why my daily walk takes place in this park – several miles from my safe neighborhood where walking is not just possible but easier. All my senses are engaged but there are other advantages to this path, the people and the dogs.

Immediately around the curve I meet a sweaty, panting runner. She doesn’t have the breath to speak but I nod and smile at her anyway. A few more paces and the river sounds start to fade and I can now hear the distant rumble of traffic. That noise is overlaid by the cicadas and the bird song which becomes a soothing backdrop to my walking meditation.

I reset my brain, check my pace and speed up. My tendency to linger here is not good for my total time nor my goal of building strength and stamina after my surgeries this year. I hit my stride at a solid 18 minute mile. I’m congratulating myself on my exercise ethic as the path curves and I see a delightful tableau: father, mother, a runners’ baby carriage and a dog. All jogging. My heart just sings as the running basset hound, ears a-flying, skin a-jiggling and a-wiggling, smiles at me. And I stop.

The family graciously slows to let me greet the happy dog. Later I come to realize I have no earthly idea what the humans looked like. But that loose-skinned, big-footed dog was a riot of colors, brown, white and tans. His smile is forever imprinted in my brain.

Again though, I forget to pause the exercise app so my displayed pace takes a dive. Oh, well, another unreliable set of stats but then again I’m only keeping track so that I can see my progress in total miles.

The paved path narrows and curves into a sandy area near the water. It’s reminiscent of a beach walk where the sand drifts over everything. I remember the week before when days after the rain this area was a muddy mess with no way to avoid splashes. At least the dried mud has been shoveled off the asphalt at some point but the pinkish dusty soil now is all sliding back over the path. Footsteps and bike tracks show how many folks have been drawn towards the water’s edge in this pseudo beach stretch.

Mimosa blossoms and purple wildflowers curtain glimpses of the river and the opposite shore. All of sudden my eye is drawn to an unnatural hot pink and loud green across the river. Above the grey and black rocky river edge, women runners in varying colored shirts create visual interest – I’m not fast enough to capture the scene as I enjoy the artistic composition and forget to raise my phone and use my camera app.

Exchanging morning greetings with the next fellow walkers, I feel like I’m a part of something – not alone. I get to greet another dog, a bouncy, but leashed, golden doodle who tries to stop to greet me as his owner bikes on gently dragging him past me. I frequently speak to dogs even though the owners aren’t interested in me. Since I don’t remember the humans anyway, maybe that’s appropriate!

I start looking for my turn around point. Was it that tree I reversed at last? Or that curve? Wait, there’s the dead tree that looks like a double tree rising straight up. I go on past for a few more paces to increase my distance from yesterday. Now heading back, I have to remember to keep up my pace. Even though it was mild when I started out only ten minutes ago, the heat and humidity is rising fast as this weekend may be the hottest of the summer. I don’t like sticky and my breathing gets shorter but I work at writing in my head as I walk in distraction because my brain is now in a place to do that.

But look, there’s still some blackberries left and I pause to munch a bit on the riper ones that are sweet but small. I’m reminded of my years in the country where blackberry thickets grew insanely well on the edge of our property. Dang, sure would like some over ice cream. Cook them down a bit in the microwave and it’s such an easy treat. Oh, well. Motor on.

Snatching a crushed Coors can off the path – ‘cause I can at this slow pace – I spot the parking lot in the distance – my goal is in sight. As I reach my car, I check my distance and yes, a bit further than yesterday. I exchange my purse for my walking hat in the trunk.

I sit briefly, swigging my lemon water, enjoying the relaxed muscles and the feeling of a job well-done. As I’m leaving the parking lot, I hear a voice in the car with me. Oh, rats, once again I forgot to turn off the phone app, skewing my stats even further. Still, I walked further than all the days before.

Now I’m ready to go to work, thinking my walk did me just as much good as a kinhin does at the Zen temple.  Meditation in motion but with human and dog interaction in nature. My preferred kinhin.

Back to Writing

Not that I ever stopped. In fact, I’ve spent the last two years immersed in a large project which resulted in a genealogy-based book. That really got me ready to do more writing. I’ve missed the short essays and bits and pieces I used to indulge in.

So I’ve started an autobiography which may just wait for years to be read and a fiction book based on one of the Wilsons in my genealogy.

I also joined a writers’ group for the first time. Two meetings and I’ve already learned so much. I was directed to IngramSpark for my genealogy book which you can read more about here and am enjoying the bits of wisdom being delivered in our critique sessions.

I was spurred on to dig back into my writing after our last afternoon which included a mediation period during which I found myself writing Kinhin, the next blog post.

Health Insurance, Medicare & Self-Employment, Oh My!

When I awoke at 5 am this morning, I found myself unable to go back to sleep. When I got up, I realized I was on the verge of crying. It took a while before I realized why.  Today is the day I pay full price for my most expensive medication.

The path to my state of no health insurance is a bit bizarre but does highlight some of what’s wrong with health insurance in America today. Couple that with my husband’s Medicare and disability status and I have a tale to tell.

I’ve tried to keep this blog on business matters this year but I have to take a break and write for my sanity!

The path.  Um, well, it starts like many of us out there with the recession.

I moved to Charlottesville in 2009 to take a job in order to survive the recession.  My health insurance (I was self-employed then) had risen to heights that made it obvious that I was going to have to start choosing whether to pay the insurance or the house payment.  So I took a job and moved 500 miles to this wonderful town.

I don’t regret the move at all but the job ended abruptly some months later and I went on COBRA.  Self-employment seemed to be my best choice at the time so I forged on.  The COBRA payments were reduced due to federal intervention. 18 months later it ended on Oct. 1.

Now in Georgia when this happened to me 13 years ago, I was able to convert my group policy to an individual policy and life went on. Here in Virginia the state has not made such advances.

I had to apply for insurance.  My former workplace suggested that I use their insurance broker to navigate the waters. And so my saga really begins.

The broker provided a web link so that I could apply on line, thank heavens.  There’s no way I could have physically completed that many page application with my arthritic fingers! So application to Anthem done.  Check.

Mistake number 1:  for some reason that I cannot remember now, I actually applied for the best policy available, i.e., the most expensive.

The broker informed me that while the policy was still in underwriting (before acceptance) that I could call and change to the less expensive policy.

Mistake number 2: I spent my time trying to find cheaper insurance, applying for an AARP policy. I did not call Anthem to change my policy.

AARP turned me down flat – I guess you have to be an extremely healthy old person to get that one.

So the Anthem policy was in place but I did change the start date to a month later since I incurred no health expenses in October. (Thinking ahead I got 3 months of each medication in September through mail order – a normal way to get and save money on most group policies.)

But then I tried to get Anthem to change my policy. The more expensive policy was $1600 a month.  The next policy was only $800 a month.  The broker sent me a letter to sign and return to get that done.

Weeks later in November, I received an email from the broker saying that Anthem needed the request done differently so I immediately completed and returned the attached form via email.  Well, time went on and I’m being dunned for $1600 a month. I finally called Anthem to find out why and they said they had not received any request to change that.

Mistake number 3: leaving the situation in the hands of the broker who assured me it was okay.

Well, I was getting worried about being canceled to lack of payment so I paid $1600 which should have been for 2 months, Nov. and Dec.  Right before Christmas I found that not only had the broker not filed the form but also I had passed through the “look up” period.

I could no longer change the policy.

So a wonderful Anthem customer service representative dug in and started working on it.  The broker assured me they were working on it.

I took the Anthem rep’s advice and filed for a new policy.  I did not follow the broker’s advice – pay to keep the expensive policy in force. I couldn’t afford to pay another $1600.

So last week they canceled my insurance.  I am now uninsured – hopefully temporarily. But today I plunk out the big bucks for a med.

And I wait to see if Anthem will approve the new policy.

On to the next insanity: Medicare and my disabled husband.

He was fortunate not to have to wait too many years to get on disability, but one does have to wait for 18 months for Medicare to kick in. That happened last March. Yippee!

And oops, since he’s under 65 (which means everyone on disability), he cannot buy a Medicare supplemental policy.  So, friends, all disability recipients in this state (maybe in the nation) are under insured.

Then the next reality hit home.  Yes, the big drugs that are what he is supposed to be on have a copay of $250 a month on Medicare. (That’s with some discounting taking place, folks.)

And then, one company says they provide free drugs for 6 months. Yippee!  Oops, but not if you are on Medicare.  Medicare recipients are prevented by federal law from receiving free anything.  I guess that’s for his protection?  So he’s opted to not take the drugs.

Obamacare?

It obviously does not go far enough. I’m sure it’s adding more layers of this convoluted thinking and may not help us as a married couple at all.

Being self-employed?

Highest income I”ve ever had.

Being an insured self-employed person?

Still can’t afford the insurance if I actually want to have money left over at the end of the month for saving or putting towards that retirement that is never going to happen.

That policy I’m dying to get?

The worst insurance I’ve ever had.  I’ll not be able to afford continuing the treatments for my disintegrating spine that I need to stay at a pain level that allows me to work. Why?  Because of the total cost of the policy and copays for my meds is so high and the deductible a major hurdle.

And now?

Now that I”ve vented, I’ll dig in and get to work to make more money in the insane hope that this will all work out to the good in the end. Have a nice day!

UPDATE, February 27, 2011

I ended up denied health insurance since my HIPPA eligibility had expired. So I had gotten bad advice from the Anthem customer representative.

I asked the sales representative if that meant I was screwed due to no fault of my own.  She said yes.

She also contacted her supervisor and several hours later, they reinstated and changed my policy as I had requested in November.

So now I am insured with a policy that is expensive and has a high deductible which means I can’t afford to use the policy. Go figure.

Charlottesville Running Company: my favorite walk

The Charlottesville Running Company is running a weekly contest between now and Christmas. The following is my entry:

My favorite walk is down at Riverview Park.  This section of the Rivanna trail has everything from the roar of traffic to the almost quiet of the forest to the sounds of the river. Between the birds (including a flock of geese),  cicadas and the regular deep croak of a bullfrog, it’s never a quiet place, especially in the summer. The views are astounding: glimpses of the river, flowering undergrowth coupled with the rear entrances of businesses and derelict panel trucks that stare right at you. All of that is forgotten when you enter into the unusual sounds and sight of the 250 bridge.  Best of all I love the bit of that “runners high” I get towards the end,  an end that always feels like the beginning of something new and refreshed.

Exercising – Okinawan Style

Note: this was originally written in May of 1978 while in Japan.  Interestingly enough, it works for here and today. Enjoy!

dm2

After several months’ observation of the exercise habits of Okinawans, American and native, I’ve come up with a list of do’s and don’ts for the partici­pants and the spectators:

The primary rule-ichiban-is to ignore the weather, especially the rain. All sports can and do continue when the rain begins no matter what the temperature.

(1)  If flooding should occur, joggers stop only if you can’t swim.   Beware of lighting, use of which to dry off can curb exercising.

(2)  Bicycling fans always take care in passing minicars too closely.  One loosely thrown arm from the car can inflict major damage to your bicycle and or body.

(3)  Never whistle, yell or otherwise harass an exerciser even if she’s good looking, well-built or you’re desperate.    This kind of activity ruins concentration and presents danger to the athlete.  (She might fall into a ditch or run into a car trying to see who’s “bothering” her.)

(4) Girls, search sporting goods store for the cutest, briefest sweatsuit ever.  Speed always improves while being chased.

(5)  Bicyclers ride with traffic. However, be careful not to run red lights, hedge on yellow lights or even be too free on green lights.  Most drivers will run over you if they get a chance.  Joggers also beware – some drivers seem to be drawn to such targets.

(6) Runners do not need instructions from the passerby. If the athlete wants to kill himself/herself, he/she can do it easily without assistance.

(7) When jogging or cycling, keep one eye out for dogs. These friends of man can lead to a shot of adrenalin causing short, erratic bursts of speed.  Such incautious actions can land oneself in a ditch, hole or hospital.

(8) By all means, women, enroll in an exercise class.  This unrestrained activity can improve body tone and mental outlook.   Sore muscles are an added pleasure.

(9) After these exercise sessions, don’t forget to gather at the nearest bakery, dinner, chow hall, etc., to recover.

(10)  Exercise hardest during water rationing.  The resulting wetness does delude some into thinking they’ve been bathing.

(11) Stay a breathing space away from those who exercise during water rationing.

(12)  If the sweat reminds you of a dung hole instead of a bath, exercise only at gyms with showers during water rationing

(13)  Girls, be sure to frequent the gym weight room for a work out. In addition
to the general companionship of men, you just might find “the man of your
dreams.”  If you can stand within breathing distance of him there, a marriage
on Okinawa might work.

(14)  Equipment should always include a sweatband for one’s forehead.  Sweat is a blinding agent, comparable only to typhoon rains.

Last but not least;   always overdo it – puffing chests, red faces,   sweaty T-shirts, pants, and shorts are definitely in fashion on Okinawa.

Sayonara from the wet paradise.

deedee