Sunday, July 26, 2009

Life as a workout, meaning literally.

Soooo....I've been going to the gym lately. Well, twice. I wish I had the nerve to bring a camera in so I could post pictures of the whole, ridiculous show, but you'll have to use the power of imagination here folks. Trust me though, if I could indeed snap one or two images for you, this post would be unnecessary in terms of the word-vs-photo quota. That whole thing about something saying a thousand words and all....although I am not one to be satisfied by a mere thousand, usually. Yet (again) I digress.

It's been a very interesting experience, and a truly hilarious one at that. I have decided to go to a gym that I am not going to name here, but it is in my neighbourhood. And my neighbourhood, it would seem, is full of men who really feel like the words macho dude suit them to a t. Their small little t, that is, stretched all across the rippling mass of muscles they each call "my body". There are perhaps only 2 people at any giving point in time who are there to work out and who won't stick around for the daily Arnold Schwarzenegger look-alike contest. I am definitely part of the minority in this landscape.

My "trainer", Phil, seems about as interested in me as a cat is interested in going door-to-door doing volunteer housework. (Ok there WAS that cat one time who did that, actually, but I am pretty sure that was rigged by Oprah). He was a nice enough guy, but I had to yank that nice out of him and it had a slippery quality, lending it to get popped right back into its protective shell (just below and to the right of his ribcage). So while I was yanking-the-nice, I was also learning how to use these ridiculous machines that are impossible to understand. They resemble strange mouth retainers for giant monster people. How am I supposed to get my body into a machine that is only really for the use of a large monster person's oral hygiene?

Thing is though, all said and done, I've been having an awesome f*ckin time going there. Twice. It's so far been such a good experience. I love the gym, and I never thought I would ever say that, and if you see how much I can lift with my legs in comparison to the macho dude over there, you would hang your head in embarrassment for me, maybe. But I am just finding it hilarious. It's almost like my experiences with french - before, when I hadn't travelled to France and had just moved to Quebec, everyone though it was SO cute that I barely spoke it but tried to nonetheless. I got so many extra "awww, you're so good at french, really" points. It was great. I was also 22 at the time. That could have helped. Shit, I never thought about that.

Whereas now, 31 and NOT new to the language, I can speak it more-than-passably with anyone, about anything, (that exists, I only speak about imaginary things in English) yet people give me a hard time far more regularly that they used to. It's like, "well if ze tongue underztands ze French zat much, why doez ze tongue not understand it all?" I have noticed you get in trouble at a certain level with other folks about your abilities in general. I believe it's when you're staring off into the world from your plateau.

And I am most certainly at the grovelling-at-the-ground level here at the gym. Their world is not mine yet, (likely never will be) so we can all get a good laugh from it, enjoy each other's company in an endearing way - Oh here comes that weirdo who can only leg-press 30 pounds but is so enthusiastic! - Oh here comes that macho dude who seems really insecure about how he walks, would likely jump me for my wallet if this was a different circumstance, but who's a really nice guy anyhow! - and I, on top of it, get to slowly achieve a level of health I haven't ever had. Some of the muscles that have experienced being sore over the past few days have NEVER known they were muscles. My body is Sleeping Beauty, and the gym, the Prince.

What a wake-up call. It was initially so scary for me to go into a gym, any gym, for so many reasons I ain't getting into here and now. It's been such a risk to just GO and walk on the treadmill while a guy with a boa constrictor tattoo on his head and shoulders eats pate chinois at the gym restaurant. But a commitment to messier living is all about this, the stretch my mind must make to overcome emotional obstacles. There are so many ways in which that needs improving, but it seems like, throughout this whole procedure, my brain's been through a workout too, so it's cool if it is a bit sore and will need to be iced once in a while, just like my body does.


  1. Can't wait to see the newer, buffer, you.

    If you ever manage to bench press more than 30 pounds that is...

  2. I am always newer and buffer. Always. Each day I wake up a little newer and a little buffer. That's why we're friends, you're so jealous/fascinated you can't keep but wanting to spend time with me.

  3. that picture looks just like you too...

  4. well, that photo IS me, so go figure. man, after a few workouts I am already buff to the max. alright.