It is 8:57 on Saturday November 13th, 2021. It is a beautiful, clear morning with the sun shining and a warm 63 degrees. This is November weather in Pacifica. Speaking to my parents I hear the weather is cold with freezing rain and snow in the forecast. It has been 20 years since I lived in Ohio and I affirm that I do not miss the weather at all.
Although the weather is wonderful, my mind is anxious. We have the yearly karate test tomorrow which Saiko Shihan flies in to conduct. The worst part for me is not necessarily the test itself but the anxiety in the days before. The hardest part of the test is the fighting and you have to fight more people the higher up you get. I’m going for my brown belt with a black stripe which is 1st kyu, the final one until black belt. Technically I’m supposed to fight 10 people but last year Saiko Shihan only made everyone do a max of five fights. He is the boss and he decides.
The problem this year is everyone is very soft since for the past two years we’ve only had zoom classes with the dojo only opening up about two months ago. We also have to wear masks which makes breathing very difficult. So I’m hoping Saiko Shihan gives us somewhat of a “handicap” because with masks and just about zero contact/fights over the past two years will make things more difficult. For me, I just need to pace myself and keep my hands up. Last year Sensei Mike decided to roundhouse me in the head. Anyway, I’m trying not to think about it.
This morning I walked out on the patio and admired the crisp, clear view of the ocean. There were falcons overhead calling to each other. I thought about how much life has changed over the past couple of years. We’ve lost a lot of friends in our Japanese circle who have moved away (mostly back to Japan). These were people you thought would always be there and then all of a sudden half are no longer here. I thought about how engaged I was with past acquaintances through social media and how the idiocy of the Trump curse has poisoned many of those relationships. Imagine having mostly positive relationships for 25 years, then through a combination of propaganda news, a narcissistic demagogue, toxic social media and the worst virus in a century, turn many of them into people you no longer want to associate with.
I thought about my mindset being mostly positive when it comes to humanity which, given the events of the past couple of years has turned mostly negative. In past years I’ve spoken about my desire and efforts to turn inward but the excitement of social media always pulled me back into the fray. Well, now I’m repulsed by it and turning inward. Humanity seems to be a bunch of monkeys bumbling about. The smarter ones do better and sometimes things seem to be going well, maybe even for centuries. But then it all falls apart. To put this in real world examples just look at all the wars in the 20th century. It is scary to realize we’re just in a lull right now and as the Homer meme states:
“*Insert catastrophe* just the worst so far.”
Well, this post is turning negative. Perhaps it has been helped by the “blow and mow” guys who appear across the street to ruin the silence every Saturday morning. At 44 I’ve learned to hate motors. Life is the ceaseless sound of motors, whether from cars, airplanes overhead, and quite often lawn car.