72 / On Being Purposeful


Hi, welcome to For F*ture’s Sake!

Reading time: 2 minutes

Judging by the amount of building work going on around my neighbourhood this past week, you’d think lockdown was over. A cacophony of jack hammers and diggers, chainsaws and drills echoed — and vibrated — through my open windows from all around.

It must’ve been the fine weather, drawing people out of their homes and builders into them.

But I can’t complain. If the truth be told, I was making the loudest racket, albeit for the shortest length of time. 

In order to lay pipes to solve a drainage issue — anyone remember the fairy curse? — around my raised beds, I cut a ten-metre-long trench through concrete.

Despite the urgency, I felt reticent about doing it — what with all the commotion I’d be making.

You see, in recent months, I’ve been thinking about unnecessary contributions to noise pollution — and plain old air pollution too. I decided to trade in the hedge trimmer for shears, and the petrol mower for a hand push one.

Better exercise for me, less trauma for others.

With all this talk of renewable energy, it’s easy to forget the most renewable energy of all is of the physical, human kind. So, given a choice, I thought, why not use more of my own rather than that of some "device."

The idea of forcing yourself to experience physical discomfort is compelling too — especially for us comfort-craving creatures. Afterall, inactivity is the fourth biggest killer in the world.

The problem isn’t that we’re getting lazier. It’s that "incidental movement" has been stripped from our lives. I don’t mean purposeful exercise, just everyday activity.

So, until our towns and cities are completely redesigned around walking and cycling, I’m channeling the miracle power of everyday activity. I want to embody more things physical and of my own making. 

In this instance, it meant pulling up ten metres of concrete with a pick axe — a dust-laden, but-structurally sound family heirloom, handed down from my grandad.

And how did I get on?

Terribly. I’m not going to lie.

Twenty minutes on the solo chain gang and I gave up. It was just too bloody hard. 

I changed tack and “incidentally moved" toward the tool-hire shop around the corner, where I got my hands on a consaw — the loudest and most aggressive power tool ever invented.

Sorry neighbours, sorry wildlife, sorry beer belly.

Take care - S