I finally finished reading Maruki Murakami’s running book, “What I talk about when I talk about Running”. It was my spring basketball book, then the summer swimming pool book. Fortunately I wrapped it up before the ski season.
Murakami is the most popular Japanese writer, as well as the most hopeful future Nobel Prize winner. This book is a memoir about his...running career. He has been a long distance runner for more than 25 years, almost as long as his writing career.
I do not enjoy running. But his book prompted me to try once--2.6 miles, about 1/3 of Murakami’s daily routine. I even dragged my sun-hating girl friend to run with me. By the way, it always puzzles me why most of the Asian girls believe that they are part of the Dracula family and they can’t be exposed to Ultraviolet. Anyway, the short running took us more than an hour. The pain on my overworked knees and ankles were unbearable. We stopped by Dairy Queen for ice cream at the half way, which I am sure of would not be part of Murakami’s routine either.
After I read the last part of this memoir, I understood why the running is not for me. He wrote: “Of course it was painful. But pain seems to be a precondition for this kind of sport. If pain weren't involved, who in the world would ever go to the trouble of taking part of in sports like the triathlon or the marathon? It's precisely because of the pain, we can get the feeling, though this process, of really being alive -- or at least a partial sense of it."
I can’t put myself in the situation where pain is assumed to be a part of it. So running can never be my sports. However, ironically, I still hurt myself too much doing things other than running. I probably secretly enjoy the pain, and the privilege to whine about it. Sometimes I struggled with my sense of existence. Well, once in my life I was stunned by a malfunctioned automatic door -- I thought I vanished. If you haven’t noticed, I need consistent reassurance of my existence. The pain would be a great reminder of not only being alive, but also being here. Although I do not particularly look for pain in my daily life, it still comes to me to fill the void from my insecurity.
In the end of the book, besides thanking Raymond Carver’s widow for granting the permission to use the idea of the book title “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love”, Murakami, or the publisher, put a note about the font that is used in the book. It’s very pleasant to read:
The text of this book was set in Electra, a typeface designed by W.A Dwiggins (1880-1956). It avoids the extreme contrasts between thick and thin elements that mark most modern faces, and it attempts to give a feeling of fluidity, power, and speed.This is the first time I read about the font in the book, in the book.
I am very fussy about fonts. I can’t stand the randomness that people usually adapt to in terms of the font selection. I am a Calibri person. I try to use this font whenever I can, reports, spreadsheets, presentations, or emails. The funny thing is that there are occasions--more often recently, I would have to hide my identity in documents due to various reasons. Besides my especially poor grammar and spelling, the font would be another giveaway for people to trace my work back to me. In most of those cases, I would use Consolas instead. When I need to be extremely cautious, Arial is the font of choice. I can never put myself as low as Times New Roman though. Murakami said he wants to have this carved on his gravestone: “Writer (and Runner). At Least He Never Walked”. Maybe I would say “At Least He Never Used Times New Roman” on mine.
So I rushed back from the swimming pool, to look up what my particular font says about me. I would imagine Calibri is modern yet is fully engraved with history. It would reflect my attempts to be witty, humble, and logical. Anyway, here is what Wikipedia tells me:
Calibri is a humanist sans-serif typeface family under the Microsoft ClearType Font Collection. In Microsoft Office 2007, it replaced Times New Roman as the default typeface in Word and replaced Arial as the default in PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook.So much for my pathetic effort to be unique.