One of the things I’m really appreciating about this new habit of push-ups to the four directions is that I find I’m doing the tai chi form more slowly, and I’m breathing hard when I do it. Usually I’m already through 60 push-ups by that point. And so my breathing is beginning from the right place, and in the right rhythm for success.
I ran into a guy I know on Saturday who’s a huge fitness buff. I mentioned that I was doing push-ups and that I was up to 80 a day but that they weren’t nose-to-the-floor push-ups. He shook his head and said, “Andrew, don’t worry about nose to the floor. Keep your spine straight and bring your chest to floor. If you use your nose as the guide, you introduce a curve in your spine, which you don’t want.”
I tried that today. And it worked. It was very successful for the first set of twenty, and half the second set. So maybe this isn’t as impossible as it seemed.
Yesterday, on a slightly different matter, a guy came up to me in my yard — African-American, dressed all in black, do-rag. I wasn’t scared, exactly, but he was praising God that I was home, he offered to show me his ID, wanted me to give him work, wanted me to help him out, mentioned his little ones, and basically gave me a dog-and-pony show. I wasn’t scared, exactly, but if tai chi has taught me anything, it’s that conflict is to be avoided. He clearly wanted money, but he mentioned that he was a skilled chef. I don’t know if that’s true, but I asked him if he had a place to cook. He said he had. I’d just gone grocery shopping. I gave him a couple of boxes of spaghetti, some sauce, some cheese, a small thing of chicken breasts, and two heads of broccoli. He was grateful, but it wasn’t clear if he was just being nice for scoring a few things off the white guy, or if this was a genuine need. I don’t know.
What is clear to me is that the economy is bad. All the good news out of Wall Street isn’t reaching Main Street, much less the side streets of the neighborhood where I live. I’ve contemplated moving, but I don’t know exactly how or when or where I’d do that. There is genuine hurt and genuine need in my city, though, and moving away isn’t going to solve the problem. I’m not sure what is, but it’s on my mind.