Upon finishing our 3 week cycling trip I suddenly felt flat. Dead flat. Perhaps as flat as a frog we saw on the roadside while cycling uphill on the Forgotten Highway. The squashed frog inspired me to write a song, on which I am currently working. The planned chorus runs something like:
I’m a squashed frog
Splayed on the roadside
Stomach on the upside
Lying on my backside
Plastered to the tarmac
Flattened in the wheel track
Impacted by a Mac truck
I’m a squashed frog
The chorus is in a major key, making it sound considerably more cheery than I was feeling.
We all have days like that, right? When you wake up in the morning and think, ‘Why bother?’. It’s a particularly bad feeling if you don’t have any particular reason to bother on that day. The need to bother is a good reason for keeping yourself busy through incorporation of regular externalities into your life, because those externalities force you out of your dressing gown and into action.
Given my squashed frog feeling, I didn’t bother for a whole day, other than playing my guitar and doing my accounts (essential externalities). Then I didn’t bother for another day, other than playing my guitar and cycling to the hardware store (and doing a work Zoom call, as another essential externality). At this point Chris started to get concerned. I think that 2 days of relative inactivity is not a very long period of time for most people, but perhaps it is for me, therefore it looks worrisome. Chris started to quiz me about what the problem was. I got cross, because there was no particular problem, as far as I knew, other than that I was feeling like a squashed frog.
Maybe I was just tired from 21 days of cycling every day, totalling 1,600km and 22,000 vertical metres over 117 hours of activity. Not to mention, the cycling immediately followed an extremely busy period of work in which the world of researchers were doing that last minute thing and annoying the heck out of me. When we started cycling I could feel that my battery was running pretty low (my new watch informs me of this fact, I have discovered, but I prefer to read it in myself as opposed to on my watch!). So, perhaps I had just staved off an inevitable squashed frog feeling by cycling hard and the squashed frog was 3 weeks overdue.
Maybe I was tired because this has been a pretty darn tiring year for everybody. COVID-year probably equates to a year of exponential tiredness, because everyone has been tired and stressed (whether evidently or subliminally, because pandemics are inherently stressful) and so we are all having to deal with lots of other tired and stressed people. However, there is a point in an international emergency where you don’t feel like you can blame your state of squashed-frogness on the emergency, because everyone is suffering equally. Furthermore, the emergency has gone on for so long that you feel like you should just be accustomed to it rather than making any special deal of its effect on you.
Chris asked whether he should be worried. I asked him whether he thought I should be worried? The nature of my plan to deal with my squashed frog status was to wait it out, at least for the time being. This morning rolled around and I remembered that my friend Bronwyn had suggested we should go for a mountain bike ride. Squashed frogs don’t want to go for mountain bike rides, they want to have a cup of tea in bed. So I sat in bed until I figured I could ignore my phone no longer and I certainly couldn’t ignore my clothes, because it was 8.30am and Chris’s sister Ximena was about to appear with a chainsaw.
Bronwyn had duly posted to a group suggesting a MTB ride. I waited to see what would happen because squashed frogs don’t take action easily. Brenda said she was keen to ride because it was such a nice day. The pressure was mounting…so I joined in the conversation. We came to an agreement of an easy ride up Evans Pass and then going out to Godley Head. We agreed to meet at my house, a good option for a squashed frog because the externalities will force the frog onto its bike. We headed up Evans Pass, and it was a beautiful blue and sunny day, and my legs apparently could still turn around (not too squashed) and my brain was quite happy chatting to people.
By the time we got out near Godley Head I was keen to do the extra uphill loop and then the downhill bit that means you have to climb out of Taylors Mistake beach, even though I was on my touring bike which has no suspension – meaning I was tossed around like I was trying to be a human milkshake on the trail (lost the frog analogy there). Then we went to a cafe and had a nice lunch and, bingo, I had returned back to being a fully inflated human again, and the squashed frog is left in yesterday’s dust.