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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Darkness Falls

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Let me just start out by saying - it was dark, ok?

It. Was. Dark.

It was dark because the gym that I go to has what they call a “Cardio-Cinema” room. This is basically a big room filled with treadmills, stationary bikes, stair climbers and elliptical machines that all face a giant movie screen. So while you’re getting your cardio in for the day you can be inspired by Dr. Benjamin Gates racing through solving Masonic puzzles in National Treasure, or millionaire Tony Stark hammering on a big metal suit in Iron Man.

Basically watching the movie helps the time pass and helps to take your mind of how much you hate to exercise – which is pretty much why I go there.

Actually I don’t really hate to exercise that much but I do have a hard time being consistent with it. I guess because I need the distraction, I like to hike in the mountains – through the trees, by the river. But it’s hard to find the time on a daily basis to drive up the canyon to hit the hiking trail. Plus it’s not really all that safe for a lone woman to traipsing through the woods alone. Plus, sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate (like today when the high temperature will barely make it out of single digits). So, even though as you see, I have a list of readily available reasons that I just can’t workout – I actually do try and go to the gym a few times a week.

The one I go to is close to my house, but it’s also close to the local University so the average age of my fellow gym-goers is maybe 22 and all the girls seem to wear the same outfit sported by that girl on that commercial about the shoes that make your butt look better (long legs, short shorts – your basic nightmare). Happily there are a few stalwart retirees that mix in with tight and taunt which is good news for me and makes me feel less conspicuous. Although having said that I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes about feeling conspicuous:

In your twenties you worry about what people think of you.

In your thirties you don’t care what people think of you.

And in your forties you realize people weren’t thinking about you in the first place.

So anyway, the gym makes a useful alternative, plus they have a big movie theater to help me through the pain and, as I’ve mentioned, it’s dark in there which helps with the “conspicuousity” factor.

So one bright sunny day a few weeks ago I talked myself into working out and drove down to the gym. As I said it was a beautiful and bright sunny fall day. And since I was at the gym I like to travel light so I took off my sunglasses to leave them in the car along with my bag. I walked through the bright sunshine filled parking lot, through the gym doors, scanned my card and turned into the Cardio Cinema room. As I walked into the darkened room my eyes struggled to adjust as I looked towards the screen to see if I could tell what movie was playing. “Ah…James Bond. I can walk along the beach with Daniel Craig for awhile,” I thought to myself as I moved along a row of treadmills, picked out an empty one, still looking at James Bond on a Jet Ski, and stepped onto it.

The next moment my feet flew out behind me and I went face and shoulder first into the treadmill rubber. The stupid thing was already moving!

A series of declaratives, questions and I don’t mind telling you more than a few curse words flew through my brain (and out of my mouth too I have to admit). Why was it moving when no one was on it? How many people saw me make a face-plant on a treadmill? How long will it take the skin to grow back on my nose and elbow from treadmill roadrash?

Well, this was embarrassing and to be honest more than a little painful. I can’t help but wonder how they make people fall on treadmills on T.V. and in the movies because man! It really hurt! I kind of crawled pitifully over to the wall, leaned up against it slowly rotating my shoulder and trying to decide if I had permanently damaged more than just my pride. It was at that moment that one of the twentysomething gym employees bounded up to me, asked if I’d had a good workout and would I be interested in a personal trainer? I gave him my best Fortysomething withering stare and stumbled out of the cardio-cinema room and back in the bright sunshine to my car.

I was glad to see that my 17-year old son E-bay was home when I got there because I was in need of a little sympathy. “You all right Mom?” he asked me as I limped into the house. “No!” I told him and explained the whole sorry mess. To be fair Ebay took it pretty well. He expressed an appropriate amount of concern for my road rash and applied his EMT training to helping me judge the mobility of my sore shoulder. But he also had that certain look on his face. The look that says that while he’s holding it together on the outside, he's bursting with laughter on the inside. I recognize the look because it’s the same look I get on my face when my own mother tells me that she’s locked her keys in the car and left it running for the third time in the same week.

I stared him down.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he answered lips twitching suspiciously.

“WHAT?” I asked again glaring at his smug 17-year-old face.

“You really fell off a treadmill?” He asked.

“It was dark!” I barked back.

“But it was moving!” said Mr. Twitchy Lips


Well, he held it together as long as he could – bless him. At my last outburst he started laughing and has pretty much been laughing at me ever since. It’s become an excuse for everything at our house:

You didn’t put gas in the car – it was dark.

You put the empty milk carton back in the fridge – it was dark.

Have you seen my keys – It was dark.

The road rash has cleared up and I can pretty much move my shoulder in all the ways a shoulder should be moved – but I’m still going to be hearing about this one for a while.

Yeah....I don't know what's happened to my life.


Rachel said...

Mel, I'm so sorry! I'm trying really hard here. Nope! Not funny....not funny at all....not laughing....good thing you can't see me......if you could.......I'd just say.....I'm not laughing....I'm shaking cuz it is cold....and it was dark!

Richard & Natalie said...

I'm glad you were willing to share one more reason to be afraid of the dark.

Sarah said...

Hey, at least you can say that it was dark...I fell off the freakin' treadmill during the day! And there were guys (cute ones, even) who saw me do it!

Thanks for sharing a great workout story!!!

Anaise said...

Funny, funny, funny! But I guess that's because it wasn't me! I'm glad your shoulder is working.

Gerb said...

I really feel like a jerk saying this, but that is a funny story. I can just picture E-bay's face as he tries to hide his laughter. Sorry about your fall... but thanks for sharing the story. It brought a much-needed laugh today.

A Lark said...

I totally hear ya on this one! I used to work out at that gym and I started carrying a little light on my keychain so I could see where I was going. One of those painful experiences that makes a great story, though, huh?

Teachinfourth said...

Oh, man...

Knowing Ebay like I do, I could totally picture his expressions. I shouldn't say that I laughed at that part, but I did.

However, I am glad that you're starting to feel better. BTW, what happened to your car? Oh, when it happened, it was dark.

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