Sometimes I can't see the forest for the gump or the trees. And sometimes it feels like I've always done things one way and then I'm brought up short by a memory of a different path. It happened Tuesday. I try to go to my gym/fitness center on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Haven't been really swell with the Saturdays yet, but it's coming.
I walked cautiously around some frightening looking pieces of twisted metal with pulleys and weights, resistance trainers, sort of spying on how other people use them and then sliding onto the seat of one when they moved on. And also decreasing the weights on the other end, but a lot. Nope, more than that.
I'm learning, as my friend, Walt, pointed out a couple of weeks ago that resistance is futile. I do enough on some of the ones that don't kill me to break into a decent sweat before capping my visit with a treadmill, a recumbent bicycle or the Precor AMT 885 Open-Stride Adaptive Motion Trainer. If you're short of breath, you'll smother trying to say its name and if you're short of cash, you'll never buy one-the price tag is higher than what I paid for my car.
It had not been the easiest of afternoons, but having endured all the shoulder press repetitions a boy can ever want (assuming the boy believes in reincarnation and frequently trans-migrates) I dug into my pocket for my audio player that doubles as my web browser, email sender and receiver and camera. It also makes telephone calls I'm told though I have no memory of ever using it to so do.
That was when I realized I'd left my headphones on my desk back at the house. I weighed the idea of leading the place in a singalong, not really sure what to choose. Perhaps Bicycle Race or Chariots of the Gods (which has NO words so any I might up would be terrific, or not) but since I'd also left my sense of pitch in a bucket beside the desk, I decided to call it a day, overcome by WPP.
On the drive home, I flashed back about 45 years to those endless summers at my parents' house on Harvey's Lake in Pennsylvania and how everyday I ran the perimeter of the lake (it felt like miles but I also always thought I was six feet tall (and I'm not)) and never had headphones or an mp3 player.
Okay, they hadn't been invented yet, but neither, too had the Walkman, Jayzik, or any other weapons of mass distraction so I, and all of us everywhere who ran all those years ago, had these distances where we were alone with our thoughts and nothing to divert or pervert us.
In those days, I worked at a joint on the lake, Sandy Beach, about halfway around from Hanson's which had a sort-of roller coaster. We had a great beach and they had squat. On busy days I doubled as a life-guard as folks from across the Susquehanna Valley would camp out on the beach until well after the light and the heat of the day had passed before heading home. I had hot afternoons in a high wooden chair while girls taking summer classes at Misericordia in Dallas necked with their football-player boyfriends from Wilkes. Things would get a little too frisky and somebody (always a she) would get tossed into the lake (always by a he).
Then, dripping wet, giggling and jiggly, they'd make their way to the foot of my chair, look up and ask squeakily "Lifeguard, would you tell my boyfriend to stop throwing me in the lake?" (titter) The boyfriend, to me as a pale, white rail of sixteen or so, looked like the side of a house covered with hair and bad attitude. He could kill me just by yelling at me and we both knew it. That's why I always wore mirror shades.
Sunglasses with polished exterior lenses, mirrors. The Americal Division wore them in Vietnam and soon everyone, whacked-out warrior and panty-waist pacifist, had them. I loved them because I could sound really tough from on high while my eyes, wide with fright behind them, could no longer betray me as I barked. Strange days, indeed.
Running home after work, I got slapped in the back of my head by some Neanderthal in a convertible who'd crossed the double yellow to do just that. I always figured it for a beach boy buddy who wanted some payback for my making him look small in front of his girl. His car drove on as my shades went flying off but the weird thing was she didn't see the payback. She was taking a nap, I guess, with her head in his lap. I often wonder what that did to the MPG estimates. Perhaps she was why 'your mileage may vary.' I'll never tell.