Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Sunday, February 07, 2010

On Criticism

I don't like to run; I don't like to smoke; I don't like pop music.

There is only on moment in my adult life when I ran like I did as a child -- tirelessly, joyfully, without a thought for how much I fucking hated it. I lived in Stratford, Ontario for the summer of 2003, taking a Shakespeare in Performance course. On the second last day of the course, the 2003 Blackout hit. About 15 of my classmates and I assembled in the hallway, trying to study for our exam the next day by the hallway's emergency lights.

My friend Dan burst into the hallway, gasping. He leaned against the wall, impossibly out of breath. We all leapt up, expecting news of the Zombie Apocalypse. Finally he managed to wheeze: "Ice cream parlour." As one, we ran several kilometers into town, never even feeling the burn. We spent the rest of the night eating huge vats of free ice cream in the park, agreeing that this was certainly the best possible scenario for the end of the world.

That particular experience is the one exception to my complete disdain for running. I can see how it is a valuable activity, and how pleasure can be derived from it. Many of my friends are runners, updating their facebook statuses with their training schedules, their best 5k times. Their hearts and lungs stay strong; their knees sometimes ache. It seems like something I could invest in: the pleasure/pain of the activity, the combination of focus and serenity, the calming influence of exercise. And yet, whenever I am called upon to go for a run (or decide to prove to myself that it can't possibly be as bad as I remember), I can do nothing to shut out the mantra "I hate this. I hate this. I hate this" that plays in my heard until I eventually go home is disgust.

My personality is definitely of the addictive/obsessive variety, and goodness knows I have enough bad habits. I drink too much and don't sleep enough, and will consume a ridiculous amount of coffee if I'm not paying attention. I will certainly never lead anyone away from any temptation, and frequently leap into it head first myself. I'm also more anxious and high-strung than any one person really ought to me. An addiction that's bad for you and calms your nerves? It might as well be tailor made for me.

And yet, on the very few occasions I've ever had a cigarette, I've been left completely cold by it. I dislike the scratchy feel in my throat, the film in my mouth, the way my hair and skin suddenly feels tight and ill-fitting. I hate the way my nails taste afterwards, too. I've also noticed that my hangovers become infinitely worse the next day when I've smoked, and I am rather fond of my mercifully mild day-afters.

So it's not something I've ever picked up; not something I've ever longed for or wrestled with. Certainly not something I've craved.

Pop Music
Lily The Pirate: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN you don't like pop music?"
Me: "I don't!"
LTP: "Come ON."
Me: "It just does nothing for me."
LTP: *blustering*
Me: "Listen, I am not saying that I think it is stupid or wrong to like pop music!"
LTP: "...okay."
Me: "I understand, intellectually, how it can be appreciated. I hear that it is catchy and hooky. I understand and appreciate the theatricality. I understand it as a shared phenomenon -- that when you're in a room full of people you don't know and a song comes on that you all love, it's an important social moment."
LTP: "Right!"
Me: "I just don't like it, personally. I hear it all over the damn place, hear other people enjoying it, but it is never something I have had any desire to seek out or indulge in."
LTP: "Huh."
Me: "It's's like how I hate to run! or how I dislike smoking. I understand why poeple enjoy those things, why they do them -- but they're just not for me."
LTP: "...alright. You're still nuts."
Me: "Well, yes."
LTP: "Rah rah ah-ah-ah! Ro mah ro-mah-mah! Gaga Ooh-la-la!"
Me: *sighs*
Natalie Zed updated @ 7:54 p.m.!! 2 comments