I had one of the most humbling experiences of my life last night. pushing aside all advice I had received to the contrary, I signed up for a spinning class at the New York Sports Club. The girlfriend and I signed up together and, nervous at being the only newcomers, took two bikes in the back corner. As we’re checking out the bikes, trying not to look too conspicuous in our cluelessness, a woman sidles up next to us and says, “Are you new here too?” so apparently, we’re SO obviously new that even a newcomer knows we’re new.
The girlfriend replies, “Yeah, first time. But my boyfriend bikes all the time, so I’m going to try to follow him.” My first instinct is to be flattered, followed almost immediately by a wave of sickening pressure at being “the biker” to show the newbies the lead. still, I had the utmost confidence I could hack it. I used to bike almost 20 miles a day in my prime. You know, when I was 18. And that’s only . . . seven years ago?
What follows is the most grueling 45 minutes you can imagine. So much sweat that the new girl next to me is visibly trying to move her stationary bike away from me for fear of being sprayed. But in the middle of it, I wouldn’t have cared if my bike fell over and crushed her leg. At one point, on the verge of all out hallucination, legs moving so fast if that front wheel touched the ground I would have taken off like a turbo charged mini-bike, i considered the possibility of just stopping and walking out – sucking up all the belittling it would have involved with the girlfriend and the embarrassment in front of the class, and, to be honest, the only reason I didn’t was because I feared that if I stopped and got off the bike, my feet would still move wildly in circles and I wouldn’t be able to walk out of the room.
Looking back, I am reminded of something a friend once said concerning taking a large dump. He said, “This must be what it’s like for a woman after having a baby. You know, that extreme sense of relief.” Sure, if you’ve carried that crap around for nine months and now it wakes you up crying at 4am every morning. But still – when I finally did step off that bike 45 minutes later, sweat soaked crotch looking precisely like I peed myself, I can say with an unwavering sense of certainty that I felt two things: 1. a weakness in my knees not felt since first the first time I saw Nicole Eggert in “Blown Away”; and 2. a supreme sense of accomplishment. Maybe I wasn’t giving the world the gift of progeny, but I didn’t have a heart attack and die right there in the middle of the NYSC. And that means something.
What it means is that I’m giving myself the day off today and eating a cookie the size of my head for lunch.
Quote of the day:
“Mr. Pants, may he rest in peace. Next time don't buy the cat off the back of a truck.”
- John Johnson, consoling a friend after the death of his cat, Mr. Pants.