I am sitting on a chrome bar stool in the kitchen. I am sitting near the breakfast bar, not at it, and I am not eating. I could just be looking, thoughtlessly, out of the window, where the sun is shining through the scented rose.
The rose, planted in memory of my mother, is having a second flush this autumn. The first major frost will waste her flowers, and she will be wind-blown, like crimson confetti.
The stool is set low, so my feet are on the floor either side, to act as my stabilisers.
Although I have multiple sclerosis, and have appalling, monocular vision, I am looking, to the public, uninformed, view, like a fairly ordinary old-ish man.
“Ordinary”, not “normal”. Ordinary is the best we can aspire to, while normal is the worst. Ordinary is an average, normal is the lowest common denominator.
Although I may look like I’m looking at the rose outside, I am, in fact looking at my wife, Elisabeth, at the other end of the kitchen, who holds a yellow tennis ball. She is going to throw it at me!
We have invented a game, and, like all games, the point of it, in an existential sense, is not at all obvious.
The rules of the game insist that the thrown ball must bounce before it is caught. More of a basketball pass, really.
This is an impossibility for me. I can only see the ball in tiny two-dimensional flickers, my hands don’t do what I tell them, and, if I move, I fall over. As a contest, it doesn’t have much going for it!
But, as we throw the ball to each other, over and over again, I’m getting better at it.
The low bar stool gives me the stability to reach for the ball without falling over, and I can feel my cote waking up. I sometimes catch the ball, as I lunge despairingly for the yellow flash. My success rate is improving. Not a lot, but improving nevertheless.
I think my assumption that I no longer had any hand-eye co-ordination was blocking the instinctive move, the wordless and thoughtless response to the flight of the ball. If you think about catching or hitting a ball, you can’t do it with freedom. The action becomes cramped.
This, now, is the Zen of Catching.