The first word of this post is Tuesday. It should read Yesterday, because I started writing this on Wednesday morning. Alas, this ass has been busy enough this week that Señor Blog has dropped a couple pegs on the priority list. I\’m sure you\’re all heartbroken.
Tuesday was the first non-holiday of 2006, and, as such, it was the first day for everyone to emerge from their holiday hideouts and try on their shiny new resolutions for the year. I don\’t think anyone will argue that the sinlge most popular resolution is, \”I wanna look more like all those nice folks from the television and the magazines.\” Given that, the scene at the gym Tuesday evening was an unmitigated three-ring circus. For the Health and Fitness industry, the fist non-holiday of the year must be akin to the last Saturday before Jesusmas for retailers.
We have been going to the gym since it opened four whole weeks ago, which means we are haggard old pros. I\’ve already started picking up on other people\’s routines and writing stories about them in my head based on their quirks and dysfunctions. I know the machines and exercises I like. I already recognize people I really don\’t like. I\’ve approached most of those already in great shape and apologized in advance for staring at them. And through constant repetition, I have established myself as someone who always wipes down the machine after I\’m finished whimpering and spilling tears of pain onto its vinyl pads.
Tuesday was satisfying because, even though we\’re only a month into a routine, a month feels like an eternity when you see the faces of the people who are freshly embarking on their soon-to-be-abandoned resolutions. Being the new person sucks. And there were throngs of new people milling about, asking questions, pretending not to be blown away by the annoyingly large expense of a gym membership. I don\’t really have a point here. It was just nice for once to be ahead of the curve rather than just far enough behind the curve to end up discouraged. A couple other short pointless gym anecdotes from Tuesday:
- I was about halfway through a positively bitching treadmill session. There girl to my left was running much faster than I was, and all I could think was, \”Whatever, lady, I can lift 40 pounds, like, way more than ten times.\” Suddenly I noticed something chaotic out of the corner of my eye. I looked left to see that Speedy had almost, how you say, purchased the farm in a hail of legs and shoelaces, and was standing on one side of her treadmill with her back up against the rail like she was trying to avoid falling off a building ledge onto the treadmill belt below that was spinning just under 70 miles per hour. I\’ll admit, I felt a little schadenfreude in her mishap, if only because I am the king of crap like that. Really though, it was no big deal. HOWEVER, rather than simply hop back on and keep running, or shut it down and take a break, she inched her way down the side of the machine, stepped carefully off the back, and walked away quickly, leaving the machine spinning full-blast. Due to the over-crowding, a new user appeared instantly and gave an inquisitive look as if to ask, \”Um … is someone using this treadmill that is already spinning quite quickly?\” I shrugged like I hadn\’t seen a thing. Who am I to interfere with nature\’s intricate symphony?
- Not two minutes after watching Legs McShakey almost take ownership of her own agricultural production operation, I almost suffered a similar fate, but mine was, like, way cooler. I\’m cruising along, enjoying whatever the iPod tosses at me, or hastily skipping it. (Note: even though they are one of my favorites and it might seem like an awesome idea during the throes of a weeknight bourbon bender, I reccommend against putting all four discs of the Misfits\’ Box Set on any portable music device. Trust me on this one.) Toward the end of my workout, Want by Jawbreaker came on, a song I would guess I hadn\’t heard since high school, which is strange because Jawbreaker\’s Unfun album has been on my iPod for months. I\’ve heard Lagwagon\’s cover of Want a few times here and there, but I\’ve been years removed from the original. As soon as Schwarzenbach\’s voice chimed in, I was INSTANTLY transported to Carl Alberty\’s 1980 BMW 320, riding around East Cobb, trying not to get arrested, but trying not to act too much like we were trying not to get arrested. I let go to see where the flashback would take me, and I remembered one day in particular.
Carl and I had drawn the short straws and had to do do a performance with the school Orchestra. As percussionists, playing in the orchestra sucked. The director was a total weirdo, and the music generally consisted of 48 bars of nothing, one suspended cymbal roll, 172 more bars of nothing, a cymbal crash, song over. On this day, the orchestra was performing at the district festival at some community center, and, somehow, Carl managed to get permission to drive to the festival, rather than ride the bus like everyone else. (I\’d like to think I was pretty good at hanging out with people who knew how to get things done.) While the rest of the ensemble filed onto a school bus, Carl, myself, Catherine Simpson, and Vanessa Parker (both cellists) hopped in the beemer and headed out, with plenty of time to spare. I claimed to know where the performance center was. It was an incredibly festive car ride. While those other poor suckers rode the bus, we rode in style, with music playing, and smoked as many cigarettes as possible while doing it. I directed us to Wills Park in Alpharetta, which, in retrospect, was totally foolish considering it\’s in Fulton County. As soon as we ariived, we knew we were in the wrong spot. The problem was, we had no other directions. I had to call the high school from a pay phone, pull our band director out of class, and ask him where we were supposed to be. He was … stoked. The other problem was, we no longer had plenty of time to spare. We were in Alpharetta, and we were supposed to be in Marietta. And we were supposed to be in tuxedos and long black gowns when we got there.
Carl drove like an insane maniac while the rest of us changed clothes in the car. There were garnment bags and cufflinks and pantyhose everywhere. Now quite late, we peeled into the parking lot not unlike Ace Ventura, and Carl changed clothes quickly before we sprinted into the building. I\’m not kidding, our ensemble had just taken their seats on the stage and had been waiting quietly for about 30 seconds, presumable to give us one last chance to show up before attempting the performance without us. The four of us strolled out onto the stage like nothing had happened and the performance went off without a hitch. Afterward, the director approached us and said something like, \”Thank you for showing up,\” when he really wanted to say, \”If it were legal I would slap all of you repeatedly until they dragged me away. I might do it anyway.\”
During my flashback, as we were sheepishly making our stage entrance, everything suddenly went wrong. I had drifted to one side on the treadmill and my foot stepped off the belt. Predictable acrobatics ensued, and I\’m lucky I still have a working iPod and all of my teeth.
I wonder what kind of flashback the girl next to me was having when she ate it.