Whenever I go to an open-air festival, such as Comfest, Pride Weekend, or Hot Times in Olde Towne East, I often make up for (usually) not buying anything at the vendors’ booths by entering whatever drawings or contests they have. (This was how I acquired the Kings in Their Castles book at Pride Weekend last summer.) Usually, I don’t count on winning anything, and I grudgingly accept the fact that I may be bombarded with emails and phone calls pushing the product.
I’ve entered contests just for the sake of entering them, even when the prizes I won were totally useless to me. As a kid, I remember winning a two-year subscription to a hardware store distributors’ newsletter, and two free shaves at a barber shop in Bakersfield, Calif. (I was too young to shave then, and–as my recent pictures will attest–the prize is just as useless to me now as it was then.)
This time I won a prize. I am the proud recipient of three 100% free workout sessions at CORE Fitness Studio. My reaction at first was that this was like giving a kid with a broken leg a pair of roller skates, but I decided to keep an open mind, got on the phone, and set up a session for this morning. I am by no means the beanpole that I was in high school, and I naïvely thought that once I swore off booze for good, the pounds would just melt away and the beer gut would be a not-so-fond memory in a matter of weeks.
I came to the session with many misgivings. I have had few positive experiences with sports, and physical-education classes were nightmarish for me. I cultivated a small library of quotes to justify my hatred of any type of physical activity: “I am a brain, my dear Watson, and the rest of me is a mere appendage,” a quote by Sherlock Holmes (who was an excellent fencer, boxer, and equestrian), and my fellow Ohioan Thomas Alva Edison: “All I ask of my body is that it carry around my head.”
Being ridiculed by your fellow students in phys. ed. for your lack of physical prowess or ability was bad enough, but the worst part was when the teacher joined in or encouraged the ridicule. This was the case in junior high, and another student and I who received the brunt of the teacher-encouraged ridicule were so angered by it that we plotted (I’m not sure how seriously) various ways of ending the treatment.
The trainer I worked with at CORE today was quite decent. He evaluated my body mass, and calculated my ideal weight (my current weight minus about 40 pounds, I’m sorry to say), and the regimen he put me through today wasn’t totally pleasant, but I didn’t come out of it feeling sore, or vowing not to come back. He was the antithesis of the stereotypical middle-school phys. ed. teacher who would organize a dodge ball game, explain the rules, blow his whistle, get the kids started, and then go back to his office and smoke a cigar.
My trainer was with me every step of the way, spotting me during my first experience with bench-pressing (I won’t reveal the weight), small free weights, and the stationary ski/walk machine (I don’t remember the name of it.) I surprised myself by being able to do about six or seven sit-ups and push-ups–I didn’t think I could do any! I wasn’t too stiff and sore–I was able to walk the mile and a half from CORE (on Parsons St. in Olde Towne East, just south of Broad St.) to the office without wanting to collapse anywhere en route, and while I was more aware of some of the muscles and nerves in my body than I was when I first walked in, none of them were jangling in pain. I didn’t even need water until I came in to work. (I belong to the Water Club at work–about $2 per pay period for unlimited access to water from The Water Store’s cooler. Yes, bottled water is a scam, but the water in the cooler is colder than what comes from the fountain.)
I was even planning to walk home from work, but once the tornado sirens began sounding around 4:30, I decided to come home on the bus. My pod is right near a west-facing window, and I could sit there and watch the visibility lower by the minute. I could see the main post office on Twin Rivers Dr., but it was blurry and indistinct, like I was looking at it without my glasses. Off in the distance, the twin buildings of the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Department of Public Safety were totally obscured. If I looked hard enough, I could barely make out the steeple of St. Aloysius Church just west of ODOT and Public Safety, but if I didn’t know it was there, it wouldn’t have registered.
I am a floor warden, so when the alarms began to whoop outside, and the alarm lights began to strobe, I made sure everyone headed to the nearest stairwell to await further instruction. It was so close to 5 p.m., the last quitting time for the night, that I had no one to shepherd to safety once 5 p.m. came, so I left as well, and waited for the bus with a nice background sound of tornado sirens. Other than the rain, it wasn’t bad outside once I got onto High St. to await the bus. (I saw one of the windows on my floor actually ripple once or twice during one of the wind gusts, so I was concerned about going out into the weather, but it turned out not to be anything major.)
Although I’m quite tired right now, I’m typing at a pretty frenetic pace. I’m using the Stones’ “When the Whip Comes Down,” from the Some Girls album, as background music while I work. (I’ve never had a typing lesson, but I’ve heard about typing classes where the students would type to music.)