I had a busy day yesterday.
It really started with me going for a Stress Echo test. I have an abnormal EKG. I've had it for at least 12 years. Every few years my doc says it's time for a stress test. I go and the result is I do great. The test score is based on how long you stay on the treadmill, as they increase the tilt and speed. This time I stayed on about 70 seconds longer than my last test, in 2013-- 10:42. The doc said I scored better than any of the people in the room would. (does anyone know how to determine what percentile that puts me in on the Bruce Protocol? Going to the gym 4-6 times a week pays off (I play racquetball.) I tried to get the doctor to explain to me how I can have an abnormal EKG but a healthy Stress Echo, which is more accurate and reliable. The best he could do was say that it might have to do with how my heart is positioned in my chest in relation to how the electrodes are placed.
The tech left the video of the echo imaging of my heart on the screen, so I video-recorded about four or five seconds of it.
It struck me how big a contraction the heart makes. My heart rate is pretty slow-- 50-60 beats per minute usually while resting, which is usual for someone in good athletic shape. But that means that a big muscle is contracting 3000-3600 times an hour. Imagine doing that with your bicep. Or maybe more accurate, using your arm and shoulder to punch a punching bag 3000 times an hour. It's that intense a muscle movement.
Staying alive takes a lot of work we take for granted, a lot of intensity-- continuous, ongoing, never stopping. That's true for the heart, but shouldn't it also be true for our lives in general? Shouldn't we take each moment and make the most of it, living it with full throated, full throttle vivacity. Sure, we need to take moments to relax, or, at least, rest. And I'm not even sure about the relax part. I spent decades in the relaxation business-- ie., biofeedback and stress management. But here, we have our hearts beating non-stop. It's only the excess stress that causes problems. Exploring this chain of thought has me wondering just what kinds of relaxation are actually good for us. Being a couch potato isn't. Eating processed food isn't.
Imagine we used our brains as much as we work our heart, metaphorically punching out or doing something dynamic 3000-5000 times an hour. Imagine we did it just five or ten times an hour. Why not raise our expectations of our selves, of what we can accomplish, of what our daily level of activity and activation is? Why not?
One way I attempt to live my life with "full throated, full throttle vivacity" is to support activism. I do it by covering protests, especially ones that the MSM don't do a very good job covering, which, it turns out, includes most protests. So...
After I finished at the hospital. I drove home, then literally sprinted to catch the train to Philly. I love that since I turned 65 last month, it costs a dollar for regional rail, instead of $4.00. Then I took the Broad Street subway-- free for over 65 seniors. At least some benefits to getting old. I guess I'm embracing the reality that once you hit 65 you're a geezer, while still fighting it by trying to stay fit.
Anyway, it got interesting once I was on the subway platform. A SEPTA worker announced that the subway would not go all the way to the stop at the DNC convention, the AT&T station. It's the one you get off at for the stadiums. Only people with DNC credentials could go past Oregon avenue, the stop before the stadium stop-- about a half mile away. I knew because I've walked it before. I asked him why. It didn't seem reasonable. He said it was because of the protesters and he thought it was the secret service who had ordered it. But there were hardly any protesters on the subway and they were very quiet. I'd picked up a press credential on Saturday when I went to the DNC pre-convention Rules Committee hearing at the Convention Center. That worked to enable me to stay on the train through to the AT&T stop. But when I got off, the station was surrounded by heavy gates, a ton of police and a guy who told me that my pass was only good at the Convention Center, not at Western Union Stadium, where the DNC meeting is being held. So I had to take the subway back to the Oregon Ave. stop and walk the half mile.
As I was walking it started drizzling, with really nasty dark storm clouds gathering overhead. Right when I arrived back at the ATT stop, the clouds broke open and torrential rains came down. I'd brought an umbrella AND a disposable plastic poncho. But they didn't do much good. I was soaked through and through after ten minutes. I did get some good footage though. Check it out.
As the rain worsened, more and more people were leaving the scene. They'd walked from City Hall down to Roosevelt Park, several miles, in sweltering upper 90s heat. It was time to go home.