July 09, 2011

go smack yourself

I have sited a reason other than excellent diet for the long life and health of our dear native neighbors (in the absence of medications, you must remember, or knee-replacements, or intensive care units, of which there are none).

They MOVE.  Not when they are trying to get from point A to point B, mind you.  No sir, not at all.  That is an American specialty.  I'm talking about this:  you and I walk by lifting our feet and swinging our arms gently at our sides.  That uses a surprisingly small number of muscles and joints.  Our neighbors, especially during, but not limited to, the morning, lift their legs straight up like members of a marching band, while making vast circles with their arms way above their heads, and/or swatting the dickens out of their own backs as if they are choking on something.  They walk backward on the way to the street.  They smack their legs dozens of times very fast, from their ankles to their hips and back again, while waiting on the bus.  They burst into song, very loudly and spontaneously (this is mostly in the morning) to stretch out their lungs and vocal chords and core muscles, as well as to lift their spirits for the start of a new day.  I'm telling you, these people really move.  The other day, I tried it (when no one was looking, of course, because after all I still have my American inhibitions), and I've got to say, it felt GREAT to swing my arms way above my head for 100 yards.

Maybe I'll keep trying it, and maybe I'll get really comfortable with it, and maybe you will want to walk on the other side of the street from me when we are in America next time, as I will be drawing lots of looks singing and swatting myself in reverse.  I've already grown very accustomed to eating 3-5 different types of vegetables at a meal.  How will I ever go back to peas and carrots, when I am used to turning in at night with a belly full of spinach, eggplant, pumpkin, hot peppers, cabbage, and bamboo shoots?

Who am I kidding, really?  I will always be an American.  Some of my habits have changed, there's no doubt about that, but I don't think you'll ever catch me smacking my own hips in public, and I know I will  never be able to turn down a sausage, egg, and cheese McMuffin on a Saturday morning.  Thank G0D for Blue Cross Blue Shield.