Friday, May 12, 2006

Next Time I'll Specify That My Preferred Mode of Transportation Is a Handbasket

Ok, so I have been duly called out for the complete opacity of that last post. Sorry. Sometimes I write things that aren't 100% about me (I know! Why would I do such a thing?!) and sometimes they're not 100% mine to talk about and sometimes you won't get 100% of the story. And I am 100% ok with that.

[Though I will say that if my writing is being compared to J. D. Salinger's, I must be doing something right. But I definitely don't talk about sex or say "for Chrissake" enough to be mistaken for Holden Caulfield.]

But! Today! Back to our narcissistic focus on me, me, me!

My vanity level has reached new heights this month, as I am struck with the realization that it's nearly summer and my class reunion is a mere four weeks away. This means there's been a concerted effort to spend plenty of time in the sun and at the gym. Both require a delicate balance between doing-enough-to-look-beautiful and not-killing-oneself-via-exertion-or-skin-cancer.

The sun exposure serves two purposes. First, I live in California. And while not all of Cali looks like what you see on TV (that would be LA, people, and it is a decidedly different world there), for heaven's sake, I should look like I live in California! Or at least make a credible argument (through my appearance) that occasionally I emerge from my office during daylight hours. Second, the natural highlights infiltrating my hair will save me gobs of money at the salon and I will not feel guilty turning down my stylist's offer to "just lighten things up a bit -- everyone gets a little darker during winter." Yes, thank you for pointing that out because I was actually trying to pretend that I hadn't noticed and it doesn't make me worry that I'm getting old and it doesn't bother me in the least, but I guess that bubble's burst today, huh?

(In all seriousness, I love my current stylist. But every stylist I've ever had spends our first session ooohing and ahhhing over my natural hair color and how great it is and some women pay gazillions of dollars to look like this. And then in our second session, that same stylist will suggest highlights. And then I have to politely say no to the highlights until they quit to have a baby or I move across the country. Despite my current aversion, however, at the first sign of gray, we will be getting out the chemicals faster than you can say "peroxide," no questions asked.)

On the gym front, I've decided to take full advantage of those monthly fees they peskily deduct from my checking account Every. Single. Month. Some people would be perfectly happy running every day for the rest of their lives. But some people's knees will not tolerate such abuse, so that means switching from an I-Go-When-It's-Convenient-
And-There's-A-Reasonble-Shot-At-Getting-A-Treadmill-Or-Stationary-Bike approach to the gym to one in which I Actually Take The Classes. And that is how I ended up in a yoga class the other night. It was hilarious, of course, because yoga is all about balance and flexibility and maybe some upper body strength, and I possess, um, none of the above. Right. Oh yes, and the calm, deep breathing thing. Definitely my strong suit. Ahem.

This morning's spin class, though...Wow. For starters, it begins at 5:00 am. For those of you keeping score at home, that means I had to be up and out of the house by 4:40. (I will freely admit that being able to brag to you lovely Internet people that I was at the gym by 5:00 was approximately 96.5% of my motivation for getting out of bed this morning. So I thank you.)

At my gym, the tradition is to do spin class in the dark. (Have other people experienced this or are they just freaks here in NorCal?) I have several theories as to how this began. Maybe somebody said, "Let's keep the lights off so it stays cooler in here" or maybe "Let's keep the lights off so nobody can see how slowly I'm pedaling" or maybe even "Let's keep the lights off so I don't have to watch the perfectly-toned instructor and hate her with every ounce of my being." My money is on, "Let's keep the lights off so nobody can SEE ME CRY."

So, I put my feet in the clips and sat down on the bike, and it was The Most Uncomfortable Thing Ever. Yes, even more uncomfortable than those trips to the gynecologist for one's "annual exam." Apparently the seats are not designed with women in mind. Though it would not surprise me to learn that they aren't designed with men in mind, either. Throughout the warm-up, I thought, "I don't know if I can do this for an hour, it is SO DAMN UNCOMFORTABLE."

Then we jacked up the tension and began a climb and the searing pain in my quads quickly shoved the "I'm uncomfortable" thought to the back of my mind, in favor of "Ow. Ow. Stupid sonofa... Ow." By 5:20 I was desperately looking out the windows for signs that the sun was coming up. Light outside = six o'clock = I can go pass out on the locker room floor now.

I personally think this is what Hell looks like: You and a couple hundred pour souls crammed into a room that's, well, hot as Hades, led by a perky instructor with a perfect body, spinning spinning spinning for all eternity. And to top it all off, you'll never lose an ounce. This vision alone is enough to keep me from cheating on my taxes. The IRS doesn't scare me. Spin class until the second coming? What sort of indulgences will keep me from that? I'm sure we can work out a deal here.

A few pointers, in case this review inspires you to try it for yourself:
  1. Always drink plenty of water. You will sweat out enough to soak your t-shirt through twice.
  2. Resist the urge to remove said t-shirt. Because, EW. Unless you look like the instructor, nobody wants to see that.
  3. Skip the hand towel and bring a full-sized one. To help with the buckets o' sweat. And the tears.
  4. A gel seat cushion thing works wonders. They're available at most sporting goods stores.
  5. Triceps and shoulder muscles are highly encouraged. The more weight they can bear, the more you can lean on those handlebars and give your legs a break. Which is definitely the point of taking a spin class.
  6. Don't forget to pack a small handgun in your gym bag. Be sure to check your state's concealed weapon laws -- you may need to brandish it openly and not tuck it inside your shoe. If you're looking for ways to avoid Hell by being nice to others, offer the gun to your classmates, too. They'll appreciate it.


At Fri May 12, 06:49:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is NEVER a reason to get up at 4:40 in the morning. I cannot believe they are legally allowed to call it morning. I'm not up at 4:40 pdt and I live on the east coast.

I mean go to bed at 4:40 get 3 hours of sleep and then go to work. Now that would be okay.


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