Ever since I started this blog, at the onset of the Blogozoic Age, I've wanted to use it as a way to write down things I've learned and experienced so I don't forget them. And one very important lesson I learned yesterday is when you re-join a gym, never schedule a meeting with a personal trainer on a day when the kids are home with me.
On the surface these trainers appear pleasant and mostly humanoid, but beneath this facade lurks a black soul dedicated to inflicting pain and humiliation on the unfortunate 98% of us who have body fat over 10%. They envy us this fat, because fat is jolly and substantive and delicious, whereas they have these muscles that must be maintained with "reps" and "protein smoothies" and bizarre exercises that reduce us Normals to heaving, quivering sweatpiles.
I spent an hour with one of these amiable hellhounds right before I picked up the kids at school, and since it was raining we decided to make my birthday cake. They did most of the mixing and measuring and pouring, but I had the distinct pleasure of whipping the cream frosting into hard peaks in 98% humidity. I think they cranked the TV up a bit to drown out the OwOwOwOws coming from the kitchen.
This was birthday cake number 45, and I admit I'm a little tetched about it. It's partly because the phantom milestones of 5's and 0's tend to mess with your head (see also: gym, re-joining), but also because a high-school classmate died in his sleep two months ago. When I was still 44 and could still look up and askance at 45, the top of the fifth-decade backslope that ends with an AARP newsletter. His wake was enormous, filled with classmates and neighbors and friends from all over the town where we grew up and he still resided, with his wife and four young kids.
And I couldn't bring myself to go. I made up some bullshit excuse about traffic, but in truth I was dazed by the immediacy of it. He had cocktails with friends, kissed his kids good night, and that was it.
I can't help it. I'm only at the halfway point of my 40s, and they've already taken me to new extremes of sadness, happiness, and mortalness. And that's why I'm back in the gym, letting misanthropic mesomorphs beat me to jelly. Today is the day, and I really want to wake up tomorrow.