Tuesday, February 07, 2006

You Die By What You Live By

A few of my fresher friendships have been with people who, by my standards, are extraordinarily picky eaters. In the language of the real world, this means that are, by their natures, nutritionists (as opposed to myself, a path-of-least-resistance furnace). People who advocate "slow food," who balance their diets, who buy fresh vegetables. These people are convinced, quietly but firmly, that I am committing a slow suicide with my diet, which mixes laziness and opportunism in equal doses.

To be clear, my last "real meal" (with multiple components, the semblance of courses, and what not) was Friday. So it's not as though I'm ignorant of the consequences. I keep telling myself, "When my metabolism slows down, I'll pay closer attention to my diet." But many tell me it will be "too late" then, that I'll be doomed to crappy stamina and frail lankiness by too many years of subsistence eating.

But the flipside is the hobbies these people have. Hiking. Climbing. Dance. Exposure to the elements aside, they seem to incur regular injury of one form or another. Surprisingly, weekly visits to a bouldering gym seem like the worst of the lot, leading to hyperextention, cramping, abrasions, and nasty degrees of muscular imbalance. Others constantly complain of back and neck pain as a result of their degree of physicality. So while I'm apparently killing myself with crap food, these people seem to be whittling away at their long-term health with a constant stream of minor injuries that seem to beg for arthritis and other joint problems in their old age. So my instinct is that it is they who run the risk of an unhappy old age with their lifestyles.

Really, I'm struck by the contrast between the "natural" and the "urban" in people. I'm such an urban creature, it hurts. I drive places within a few blocks by reflex. I make the compromise of "Fast Food Place X is close enough to Real Food." My chances of wilderness survival are virtually nil. I eat like crap, but am protected by a sort of technological womb, grown from decades of liability litigation, that wildly reduces the hazards of day-to-day life. My "natural" friends don't buy into that headspace at all. They play out a delicate balance for their nurtritional lives, but then adventure outside the womb (i.e. into the realm of "you have no one to blame but yourself"), placing themselves at risk.

Who is going to "win" the health race, I wonder? My money is on myself becoming frail and sickly while they become knotted and creaky. Got to say, can't wait for my cyborg body...


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