Every day, DB wakes up with a song in his head, and that makes sense. He's played guitar for over 40 years, and music is a core part of his being. Likewise, every morning, I wake up with a quote in mine. And today, I woke up thinking of Woody Allen, who said, "I like writing. It keeps my mind off grim subjects. It's therapeutic in the same way a patient in an institution is given fingerpaints." He also once commented, "I am at two with nature." And that's where our narrative begins...
But, as always, to tell you that part of the story, I have to tell you this part first.
If you know me (and some of you may), you know that I love to downhill ski and whitewater kayak. Other than that, physical activities are nothing more than excuses to buy new clothes... honestly. So it's not surprising that I can't get into shape - even though I need to. You see, I’m thirty-eight years old and my cholesterol is atrocious. I also have Addison’s and need to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible or there will be hell to pay later on. Given all that, you’d think I’d take this situation more seriously. It’s just that, while there might be hell to pay, I’m less scared of going to hell than I am of going to the gym. Odds are I’ll know people in both places, but at least the ones in hell will understand why I’m there.
See, gyms terrify me. They absolutely aren’t middle-aged, divorced-woman friendly. It’s true! When people see you there without a wedding ring, they assume you’re either getting in shape to get a man OR you got out of shape and that’s why you lost one. But it isn’t just that… I’m honestly the least coordinated person I know. If you were to see me jogging, you wouldn’t make eye contact. It’s that bad. You would say to yourself, “Self, I thought running was an autonomic response that land mammals were just born being able to do.” Well, both you and Nike would be wrong. My body doesn’t JUST DO IT ©. I run like the poster child for Ritalin.
Anyway… when I tried to explain all of this at my physical, my doctor didn't care. She said it was time to get things back under control, and she gave me a few choices: Lipitor for the cholesterol and Cortisol for the Addison's, OR diet, exercise, and supplements, with lots and lots of regularly scheduled blood panels. Clearly, I should have opted for better living through chemistry, but I didn't. Instead, I started getting ready to get into shape. In other words, I met my best friend for lunch and told her how my appointment went.
Now, my best friend is a runner. She runs five miles a day, every day, so she knows what she’s talking about. And when she suggested that I do the Couch Potato to 5K program, I thought, “OK, maybe...” That was before we booted up her laptop and looked at their Web site. Within two minutes, I knew it wasn’t for me. Sure, while it starts out do-able: you buy a treadmill, you get an iPod, you find good running shoes, you get some workout clothes… eventually, those bastards try to make you use that stuff. They expect you to run for 90 seconds... IN A ROW, and that’s just misery.
That said… I know I have to do something. So when DB told me that he wanted to go mountain biking for Father's Day, I saw it as an opportunity to make a lifestyle change and get more active. Plus, I love and adore his kids who also wanted to do it, so it seemed like a win-win. And it was... until it turned into Gilligan's Island, the home edition. Note: If you're too young to know who the Skipper, the Professor, and Ginger are, then stop reading. If, however, you're old enough to be in my age/demographic, then just sit right back and hear a tale of our fateful trip.
See, DB spent the first twelve years of his life in California, and he spent the next twelve years of his life in Montana (before moving to Austin to play Blues). So when he says "mountain biking" he means "MOUNTAIN" biking. I, on the other hand, say "mountain biking" and mean, "Hellllloooo, I grew up in Appalachia where we also have real mountains, but my bike didn't have a gun rack, so it was easy for the natives to spot me." And in a region of the world where there are colloquialisms about Syphilis, it's better to opt out than get singled out, especially if your Senior class voted you, "Most Likely to End Up like Ned Beatty in Deliverance."
In other words, I've mountain biked, but I wouldn't say I'm good at it.
However, being the team player that I am, I helped load bikes and pick trails. And when we got to the park, I helped unload them and pick an ice cream place for later. After that, when we got on the damn bikes, things just went downhill... literally. Actually, because the universe demands balance, it went uphill first. And EVEN THOUGH WE LIVE IN THE MIDWEST, that hill was huge. I don't care what DB and his kids say. In fact, it was so huge that I begged DB's daughter (ChB) to fake an asthma attack... and she doesn't even have asthma. And, because she's also a team player, she did (have I mentioned that I really do love and adore his kids).
Anyway, we get up the first hill, and I think I'm done, when I realize, nope! We've only conquered Dante's first level of hell. The trail is on a cliff! So I'm literally hugging the other side of that trail tighter than some poor bastard in the bicycle lane on the Autobahn. Then, the actual descent begins - and somehow I end up in front of the pack. Now let me tell you something people, the only thing I do worse than mountain bike is navigate, and now I'm doing both. In my defense, I got us to a trail. In their defense, it was an incredibly flat one... with two children who love speed... in 90 degree weather. On the upside, we ended up in a horse pasture with grass up to our knees, mosquitoes out the ass, and Chinese exchange students on holiday.
And personally, I didn't mind the horse pasture. I minded the wrong turn at the third birdfeeder that took us out of the park and into private property, where we trespassed for over three hours and 15 miles. When we finally got back into the park, and I got off my bike, I was as lame as Barbaro when he broke his leg after the Kentucky Derby. So I turned to ChB and said, "To the untrained eye, it might look like I'm limping, but it's actually a swagger." And no kidding, this beautiful, brilliant, artistic child whom I love to bits said, "Yeah... the swagger of a cripple." People say I love my partner because I adore his kids. While it's not true, it has merit.
AT ANY RATE, I still need to find a way to get into shape because CLEARLY mountain biking isn't it either. And when I met my best friend for lunch to tell her about my weekend and my "exercising options" dilemma, she said, "You're going to die at 45 if you don't exercise. You have to do something! I think you should try Detox Tea again." The sick thing is she thinks she's giving me good advice. I love her, but obviously she's forgotten what happened last time. I drank a cup of that stuff, and I hadn’t seen that much shit fly since 1989 when I had to tell my parents I didn't get into Georgetown University.
Do you know what Detox tea is and what it does? In theory, it purges your system so all of the toxins are removed and your organs are cleansed. In reality, it’s like a roto-rooter going through your intestines and pushing out everything it comes in contact with. I literally sat in the bathroom for two hours, begging to die. When it was finally over, I was certain that I'd shit out my kidney and the part of my brain that could recognize it as an organ. In other words, I'm done with Detox Tea, even if it means I still have absolutely no idea how I'll get into shape.
OK, I'm off to Montana to meet DB's dad (and no - we won't be mountain biking). Wish me luck and talk to you next week.