After fifteen minutes, the backpack is starting to feel heavy. Fifty percent of the population should exercise more, said a newspaper yesterday. What this means is that if you are, for example, in an elevator, with a tower of muscles standing next to you, it's almost certain that you are not exercising enough. On the other hand, what to make of a gym? Or a football stadium, where tens of thousands of people sit and eat and talk for hours, watching a couple dozen guys sweat it out? My knowledge of statistics is not enough to answer these profound and puzzling questions. But I do know this: if you stand outside the gym, you will feel part of the group. Therefore you will feel the well-being derived from exercise. I do it at least once a week. Sometimes I even go inside and talk to the receptionist. It makes me feel good, and being around gym-types always helps me learn about new diets, carbohydrate density and other important matters, but it's not helping me with my endurance I think.

Even though I'm tired I decide not to take the bus or get a cab. At night or early in the morning is the only time of the day when I don't feel as if I'm being left behind all the time, walking slower than everybody else.

Maybe that's because there aren't many people around. In any case, it's comforting. I never seem to have an incentive to get fast anywhere.

At night things happen more slowly, but it's a different world as well. In cities it's only at night when we can really see the fault planes of society. As I walk I see poor people, part of the silent army that emerges at night to crawl through the piles of trash and refuse of others. Their backs are curved forward, as if they are always carrying something really, really heavy. They wear discarded Nike shoes and half-torn jackets, branding reaching them even though they have no money to buy anything. A bit after come the cars, cars of those people that have enough money to pay for a night out, cars carrying people that have enough money to pay for a limo and a driver, and then the cars that carry people that are forced to use use a limo and a driver but would prefer to be using their personal jet. If they could, they would land in the middle of the street with their Gulfstream V, and City Code be damned. A single night out of any of those people is more than a month's work of even the richest of the poor. And yet, do the poor complain? Not in public, at least. Or maybe they do complain, but I don't know about it. MSNBC doesn't cover this topic very often.

As I'm thinking about this, I'm about halfway down the block. I stop. An old man has just turned the corner, and he is walking in my direction. He is pushing a shopping cart full of papers and dark things. Coming out of the shopping cart is a sign. I can distinguish the famous outline of Che Guevara on it. A revolutionary? I feel a rush of adrenalin through my veins: It's happened! The New World Order is here!

Finally I'm close enough to read the sign. It says: No Rebel, Menswear.


Maybe use electroshock therapy has increased recently, particularly among advertising executives.

I sigh, and walk past the old man, who doesn't even look at me.

My apartment is not far now. I keep walking.