This holiday season has been a little strange in my house for some external as well as less-than external reasons that have combined to make some of the days more arduous than others. I'm thinking this time of year, I'm not the only one who's been having this happen to him.
I've come up with a trick that involves playing keep away from part of your brain by the rest of your brain. If you're shopping and caught in lines, tell yourself in five minutes you'll be checked out. It doesn't matter if you are, it matters that you make yourself believe you will be. And then, in five minutes when you're no more than two steps ahead of where you were five minutes ago, play the game again.
I will confess I didn't develop this trick for the holiday season. I developed it to endure the unending barrage of Linda McMahon television advertisements and not from when she ran against Murphy but from when she ran against Blumenthal. I'm working on my Tom Foley antidote but I can take my time as that contest doesn't happen for another two years.
And I actually figured it out for my early-morning sessions at the gym, on the treadmill or the cross trainer. I hate exercise, and by that I mean everything connected with it. I hate the start, the middle, the end and the part after the end, the neatening up part, which is the worst of all. I discovered quite a long time ago my one actual talent is lying. I am so good at it, if they ever make lying an Olympic event you'll see me at the medals podium with the biggest one. See? Told you I was good.
Thirty minutes in a gym to run and not go anywhere is an especially long time, particularly when the choices of things to look at is an overhead plasma filled with Fox News (the gym guys love themselves some Fox news), or the person next to you who is sweating like you are but more often than not is going much faster or farther or smoother than whatever it is you're doing on your machine.
I had a guy walking past me by one day, stop and then come back and watch me as I was slowly killing myself on the cross trainer, leaning back so he could see the speed and distance displays, look at me quizzically and say 'I didn't realize they went that slow.' I silently wished him something anatomically impossible to do because I couldn't catch my breath long enough to say it out loud.
Now, I just tell myself, three more minutes or promise myself when I get to the next mile traveled or the next decade of calories burned I'll call it a session no matter how long it's been. It's how, in theory, I could talk myself into walking across the United States. It's not technically a lie, I guess, but just about a moonlight mile from the truth. Try it, and don't be surprised when it works, though if you can convince yourself you are, you're half way home.