Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Non-Endorsement Of Jumping

Yesterday I was outside a place where there was a gathering of some kind, and there was a ring of people outside, gated into a "smoking area" by a low rope, and they stood and blew smoke rings and shot the shit.

As I approached them, I thought, as I sometimes think (when approaching an obstacle), maybe I should jump over the rope. It was maybe two feet off the ground, just at about thigh height, and therefore slightly too high to step over without looking slightly foolish. So I decided to jump over it. And I did. Jump over it, into the smoking area, and someone made an offhand comment, and then everyone resumed doing nothing.

Sitting here at Jimmy's Diner, in the window (or, rather, at a counter seat facing the window) I just watched a guy come out of the condos across the street, the condos themselves an exercise in architectural brutality, looking for all intents like a suburban doctor's office complex, jutting rudely and improbably against the off-blue early evening sky.

So as this guy came out of the building and went to cross the street, he gamely leapt over a low hedge that separates the semi-circular driveway of the building from the sidewalk. Upon landing, he looked quickly and nervously right and left, in the manner of one who is about to commit, or rather has just committed, an act of vandalism or public urination.

This is all that's left, is my point. Aside from sanctioned activities such as bicycle riding or jogging or Crossfit™ or Karate (or Kung Fu or whatever), athleticism is largely absent and unnecessary in daily city life. The act of jumping in the air looks (and feels, honestly) entirely incongruous in contrast to the hard realities of street, building, motorcycle, pole, car, and even to slight deviances in activities of routine - taking the stairs two at a time, chasing a just-missed bus.

This should not be taken as an endorsement of Parkour (AKA "freestyle running"), which is actually just skateboarding with no board, and usually is boiled down to routines and performing Tricks over and over in a attempt to Land them, much like a stuntman in a Jackie Chan movie of the late 1990s, or like Jackie Chan himself in one of those movies.

I'm just saying it looks really weird when someone jumps over something instead of walking all the way around it, and how the fuck did that happen.

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