The Tyranny of the Enthusiasts

“May you live in interesting times” — A (debatable-y) Chinese curse.

We live in interesting times. Okay, maybe that’s a conceit, for everyone thinks they live in interesting times, except, maybe, those living in Scandinavia after the Vikings became extinct. But I’m certain we live in interesting times. I might even prove it, if you just listen to me.

We live in times when the mid-life crisis comes with myriad choices. Maybe it’s got something to do with how early it comes, and how long it lasts. With that kind of spread, one needs all the choices one could get. Then again, some say our generation is more conscious about health and fitness. Which could explain why so many people are walking, cycling, gyming, running, dieting, dancing, swimming, skating, and what not. Yes, it really could.

Except, what explains the insane, single-point, almost obsessive marketing of those mid-life crisis options? Err, I mean, fitness options? The zeal of the “just recently converted”? Very probably. Because the days of sticking to one such quasi-religion are quite definitely behind us. These days it’s more dynamic. Zumba one quarter, yoga the next. And with these many conversions, the zeal must explain a lot. A lot. But not all.

I mean try asking someone who’s latest fitness religion is running, but seems to be struggling while walking: “are you hurt?” Pat comes a long explanation of the injury, and how it has devastated his/her life for last three days. Sometimes I believe they’re faking the injury so that they’re asked the question. Or more sinister: they got that injury … Okay, I didn’t say that.

And if you think that’s excessive, meet the dieters. And here you have so many sects, that it’s down to cold-gang-war scenario right now. There are some things that you cannot do when you meet a dieter.

  • Not saying “Oh you’ve lost so much weight”
  • Asking details of the diet (okay, you deserve what comes after this)
  • Talk about anything that’s remotely connected to food
  • Which includes, asking about banal things like: chai peeoge? (Want some tea?)
  • Even so much as hint that s/he is looking tired (God forbid!)

I’ve a theory that explains popularity of Facebook and other social networks. There, one could like somethings without having to read/write/hear about it. Try doing that with people offline. That’s why it’s easier to have 2300 friends on Facebook than it’s to have 2/3 in real life.

These days I’m afraid of talking to people, especially my middle-aged counterparts. The problem is this: you never know when you’ll press the button. With friends, at least you know which button not to press. So you’re a little safe (although this only works with some, many press the button themselves). On the other hand, you can’t run away from friends. Unless, you run. I don’t.

But hey, do you know about this cardio-neopalic hyper-organic diet I just started on? Don’t you think I’ve lost a few kilos?