A white rabbit. In the middle of a road. As strange as anything I've ever seen. Stranger than fiction.
White rabbit from Shutterstock
I am in Parramatta Park at 10.15pm jogging in skinny black jeans and a purple hoody. I am surrounded by trees and darkness. I am wearing a hallowed grimace. What am I doing here? How did this happen. How do I get myself into these situations.
I had been alone in my apartment for too long. I wasn't hungry but a little frightened. I'd allowed myself to worry. After reading multiple comments worrying for my health, ranging from the reasonable to the hyperbolic, I had gone down the rabbit hole.
The self doubt, the stress. I had done my research before attempting my juice fast but now I began seeking out the most negative scare mongering articles, scouring through them, reinforcing all my fears, highlighting all the possible issues I might have.
Muscle atrophy. Possible hair loss. I'll put all the weight back on immediately. I began reframing every question, every objection anyone had ever given me on Twitter, on Lifehacker, in real life — only this time it was my voice, in my head.
The pressure continued to build. The more I read the more I became convinced I was doing the wrong thing, weakening my body, doing myself damage. I ignored all advice to the contrary. I wasn't hungry, I wasn't desperate for solid food.
I was scared.
A temporary insanity. I pulled on a hoody, grabbed my car keys and flew out of the door on a sugar high. Minutes later I was driving around Parramatta looking for a bar to do chin ups on. I was adamant this would either prove my juice diet was destroying my body fibre by fibre, or reaffirm my decision to do it in the first place.
Parramatta park, 10.15pm. I knew there was an outdoor fitness area halfway around the track, I'd exercised there before. I also knew that the park was closed to cars after a certain time; you could only drive so far. I'd have to walk the rest. A good 2km. I parked the car. I got out. In the pitch darkness, the lights of Parramatta Stadium blinking in the distance, I asked myself: is this really necessary? Are you actually doing this?
I broke into a jog and started running.
The trees crackled and swarmed in the night. Every shadow a threat. I continued at my pace, oddly aware of my heart straining in my chest cavity; the shortness of my breath. Everything seemed like a sign, a signal that my body was crumbling; its bones shrinking.
I turned the corner and there, in the middle of the road, a white rabbit.
Is this real? Am I hallucinating? For a second I sincerely questioned my sanity. The rabbit stood still, unafraid. It didn't run, it didn't move, it simply remained. I slowed my pace, turned as a passed. Completely confused. I kept running.
"I could do 30 pull ups without stopping before," I told myself. "If I can't do them now, something is wrong."
I had just arrived at the pull up bar. I tested my strength with a few one arm lock offs and shook the lactic acid out from my forearms.
I can't remember if I felt light, but I did the first ten pull ups easily. By the time I hit 15 I slowed my pace down. 20. My arms feel a little tired.
25. I'm really using my core to get through these last few.
26. 27. 28.
29. My arms are on fire.
30. I drop off the bar. I wonder to myself: could I have done more? How many. Another 5? Maybe. 10? Probably not. Almost immediately my brain began throbbing in its skull. I walked back to the car, confused about what I had just done, and drove home.
On the walk back the rabbit remained sitting in the middle of the road as it had been 10 minutes before. At a slower pace I was amazed to see another three white rabbits, rustling together by the side of the road. 'What does it mean?' I almost gasped, like a man shrink-wrapped in a hilarious weirdness, gazing upon a double rainbow.
Nothing obviously. It meant nothing.
But my frazzled throbbing brain made strange connections. I had just run for two kilometres, fumbling in the darkness, in the midst of an act that made zero sense but might just be better for me in the long term. I was scared, but determined — even if the act of running headlong in the dark was pointless and potentially dangerous.
Sounds a lot like a juice fast.