But if, like Queequeg and me in the bed, the tip of your nose or the crown of your head be slightly chilled, why then, indeed in the general consciousness you feel most delightfully and unmistakably warm.
I save the window-opening ritual for Friday nights, after a long, tiring week, when the sweaters are all folded, and the shirts all ironed. Before I go to bed, I turn off the lights, square off my desk, and turn the window crank 220 degrees clockwise. Even though the thermostat is at 23°C, it’s anywhere from ‑16°C to 5°C outside these nights.
When I wake up at 5:00 a.m., as I usually do, my room is filled with the chilly, snow-smelling air.
I do this only once a week to appreciate it.
I do it on Fridays to enjoy it.
After a ten month hiatus, I’m back into my regular table tennis routine again. I started out extremely rusty, feeling as if I was learning how to play again, but now I’m almost at the level that I ended with. It feels like it’s advantageous to take a step back from playing so that I can forget all my bad habits while remembering all the theory, because I can tell exactly what I need to change to improve now. I wish I could say the same for my golf game when I get out on the courses every spring.
My bout with gastroenteritis left me with a smaller appetite and emaciated frame. The sudden weight loss — bringing my weight precariously close to 100 lbs. — has been rather noticeable; my sweaters are baggy, my rings slip off my fingers, and I’ve lost two notches on my belt. Most people struggle to lose weight, I struggle to gain it and stay above 120. Table tennis is one of the best things I can do to fix this. After every session, I’m ravenously hungry, and this usually continues through to the day after.
Table tennis is also one of the only sports that I enjoy enough to not have to drag my ass out every time, which is definitely an advantage when the venue is an hour away. Unfortunately, my schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays now consists of:
- waking up at six thirty in the morning
- going to work for eight and a half hours
- coming home and sleeping for half an hour
- eating a dinner which I’ve prepared earlier in the week (with no time to cook)
- travelling to the gym
- playing for two hours
- travelling home
- showering and falling asleep by midnight
There are no breaks in between, which means that I have to watch the clock during almost everything that I do. It’s a complete rush from start to finish. The upside is that when I’m at the gym, working on better short-ball control, or trying to achieve a backhand smash, I can forget everything else, which is something that doesn’t happen for me easily.
It’s good to get into a schedule again, even though I’m not quite used to waking up at 7:00 am yet. I haven’t been on schedule for more than a year. I had such a light load for my two semesters of university that I could basically wake up whenever I wanted to every day. And then there was the summer, when I took four months off to relax and could stay up till 7:00 am talking on the phone (good…good times). Next was four months of looking for a job and not finding one, which ended up being a good thing or I wouldn’t have been able to spend a month in Hong Kong.
Not having a schedule is like having only one course a term. There’s not much motive to get work done, and everything is put off to the last second. Being on a schedule makes me more productive. I actually don’t mind doing chores and errands, eating regular meals, even doing the dishes. The order and regularity is a nice change from the amorphous life I’ve been living for the last little while.