Monday, February 15, 2021

Point Your Body And Just Start Walking


A guy I have known all of my life named David, in one sentence, once laid out the simplest rule of getting anything done in life.  I wrote about this in a past article as part of a larger story.  But I got to thinking about it again today as I have finally been making some progress on a short, but involved project I have been procrastinating on.  I’ll post a link to it on this site once it’s done.

So back to David.  It was actually typical of my friend to come out with an axiom that could be used in multiple situations in life.  He read a lot and I think he has the ability to sort of recognize patterns in things and easily sees them being applied elsewhere; a strength of abstract reasoning.  It’s a kind of malleability of mind from collecting a lot of facts and observing how things work in the world.

We have to go way back to when he and I were fourteen years old.  We made it a habit of starting to go to disco clubs to meet girls, but there was always the barrier of being able to talk our way into these clubs as you had be age sixteen for some, or age eighteen for others.  We weren’t going where they served alcohol, so the age twenty-one barrier was not something we had to deal with.  

We were at one of these clubs, I believe it was a club called The Kaleidoscope Disco on Moorpark and Colfax Avenue, and he thinks it was a club called The Point After on Ventura Blvd and Tujunga Avenue.  It really doesn’t matter since they are about equidistant from my parents’ house in Studio City.  

We got in, stayed very late, and found that when we finally at 1:30am asserted some self-discipline and got out of the club to, ha ha, make our Midnight curfew that my parents had set for us, there were no Rapid Transit District (RTD) busses running any longer.  

We stood outside of the club for a second to give our conundrum some thought.  What do we do?  My mom tended to go to bed much earlier, at say, 10:30pm, and my dad usually fell asleep on our family room’s shag rug on one of the several large pillows.  He had usually watched the news an a bit of whatever else was on late, and then would fall asleep with one of our dogs curled up next to him.  He had the unseemly habit of falling asleep with his hand tucked into the front of his belt line up to his wrist.  It wasn’t actually anything inappropriate, but for the first time observer, it did make one look twice.  

So David and I were standing there working the odds that my dad was already asleep in the family room and wouldn’t wake up for a good hour or two.  Or, was he up and wondering why we weren’t home yet?  We had on our own discovered the Schrodinger’s Cat Theorem, but didn’t know how to solve it.  

If we called to get a ride from my dad, yes, he would come get us, but then he would also know that we had violated our curfew.  We risked waking him up to do this just to divulge our own ineptitude with following a simple curfew.   And If we didn’t call him, and instead, we simply walked home, which might take about thirty minutes, we could possibly slip into the house and be in my room without my dad ever having woken up.

If, however, we took the odds that he was asleep, and he wasn’t, but was watching the time tick by without us appearing, he could be very upset.  My dad liked his rules followed.  

The lesson I learned that night was what David said, not which we choice we made.  We both agreed to take the chance and walk home and see if we would be undetected.  But we were still so far away and it was so late.  I said, how do we do this?  

David just said, we just have to point our bodies in the right direction towards your parents’ house and start walking.  And there it was.  This is what we all need to do to get anything done.  

If you are procrastinating on a project, you just have to dig in and start any way that you can.  Whatever you need to do to at least start organizing it in onto paper, or what you need to read, or what you need to experiment with.  You just have to point your feet in the direction you want to go and start walking.  This is what I learned that night.  It’s a lesson that I’ll never forget because it’s so simple, and it’s actually so easy.

You don’t have to think about the distance that you have to go, you just have to point yourself that way and take a step, and then another.  They all add up over time and with patience.  

See, it’s so easy that it sounds stupid and hackneyed.  But I have several, as in more than ten let’s say, important type projects that I’ve had for myself, and I’ve finally been working on one of them.  But the way I started was to just look at all of the material again and start into it.  Day by day.  

David’s axiom is one that is all that you need in the end.  It really is because one thing leads into another, and you soon discover what it is that you need to get what you want done, done.  

Well, are you curious as to what happened with me, David, and our walk home?  I’m not.  It’s an unpleasant memory.  But I’ll tell you anyways.

We walked literally two and half miles into about 2:00am or so, about four blocks from my parents’ house.  We were at the intersection of Ventura and Coldwater, outside of a diner called Twain’s, saying to each other, “We’ve almost made it.  I think we’ll get away with this,” when my dad pulled up in his little white Mercedes 250SL and curtly told us to get in.  

He was so mad at us, really at me, since I was his son under his rules, that I don’t think I was able to go out anywhere for two weeks after that.  

And if you think about it, what were two fourteen year olds doing walking along Ventura Blvd at two in the morning anyways with people like Ted Bundy driving around in the thick of the night?  My dad was right.  But he was pissed, I’ll tell you.  It’s one of just a few times that I remember him being very angry at me.  

But it’s funny, isn’t it?  With that bad thing came the good thing that I’ll never let go of.  David’s axiom.  Point body and just start walking.  I Love it.  

Image:  https://tessa.lapl.org/cdm/ref/collection/photos/id/41262