Tag Archives: running

Dappy, happy or…

More years ago than seem real, I was spending the evening with friends in a Soho pub, when one of them said I was being “dappy”. Another told said friend that he’d be closer to the mark if he were to replace the “d” with an “h”. In terms of the letters themselves, there’s not much in it. Just a spin and a stroke. By the same token, the two states are no more than one degree apart.

I saw someone today who reminded me of that fine line. A man – late sixties – wearing big round glasses, headphones, and a bright red sweatshirt was part- running, part-dancing his way through the park, arms flailing and eyes smiling as he went. I watched people watch him with expressions suggestive of blandly imperceptive thoughts. They may, of course, have got the man’s measure, and he may have been utterly dappy, doolally even. But then again, they may have been way off.

From the outside: A man of advancing years, sporting the type of specs and headphones the cool kids wear, and running a strange jog-dance through the trees, waving his arms around as if he were trying to take off.

From the inside: Music flooding into his ears through the headphones his grandson left on his kitchen table. Bach. A chorus of angelic voices that, heard in the fresh cold of the park air, render him weightless, unwilling to bridle his joy, and unable to keep his body from expressing what he feels. He knows his glasses are out-of-date (and doesn’t know that in fact they are not), but he loves them because they were chosen for him very many years ago by the love of his life, the woman who is waiting for him to return home, to wash, change, and take her out to lunch on what happens to be their 49th wedding anniversary.

Dappy, happy, doolally or married for almost five decades… we see what we want to.

Smiles

Some time ago, I came across a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, in which he talked about thanking a child for sharing its smile. Part of me dismissed it as an overly-sweet sentiment, but living as I do in a place famed among its own for being a bit cantankerous, (see link for more), the other part of me welcomed the idea. I guess the notion has been working away quietly inside me, because I have recently started to value smiles differently.

Today, as I ran through the park, crossing paths with those who do and those who don’t, it occurred to me that smiling, in Berlin at least, requires a certain amount of confidence, and a definite lack of cool. Bring it on, because as Thich Nhat Hanh also says, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

Category: In the park | Tags: , ,
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