KneePainNote: Not the author’s actual knee.
(Add jeans and surprised look and it’s dern close, though.)

So, yesterday, on my way out the door to a guitar lesson, as I was squatting to snag my fallen hat from the floor, my knee sent the most unpleasant spasm of pain shooting through my system. I did a slow-mo collapse onto the floor and sat there, assessing.

Good news: was not yet wearing my guitar! Bad news: pain pain pain pain pain.

This particular knee has been sending signals since Thanksgiving, when it suddenly went BLERG during a mild walk in mild weather. Ever since it’s been techy. Unfortunately, it is as clear about what it wants from me as your average 9 month old (which isn’t all that clear). Rest? Strengthening? Not to move this way?

All I can tell so far is the joint seems okay, but it doesn’t like walking. Which, in a walking city like New York, is problematic. Walking is the one thing I can’t stop doing.

When surprises like this come upon me, I confess I don’t react well. I think about all the routines I am desperately trying to start or stick to, and how disruptive this will be to them. I am not zen. I do not thank my body for its feedback. It’s feedback is lousy. I can’t tell what the heck it wants.

What I want, among other things, is to exercise vigorously every day. It calms me, energizes me, helps me sleep better, and keeps me from looking like Jabba the Hut, given my predilection towards tasty fats.

How could my knee not be on board with all that?

The knee pain subsided enough that I was able to walk to my lesson and back. (I would have happily taken a cab. You try catching one crosstown in Harlem.) But I skipped the gym, fearful for the knee. And then slept badly. And today I feel creaky, lethargic, and grumpy. There is one cure for all of that (say it with me: vigorous exercise!).

So I’m going to work out, and will try to coddle the knee and figure out What It Wants. I’m going, because I need my few fragile routines to take root. They are the best chance I have to respond with a modicum of grace to the next surprise.


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