I'm no gym rat. Sometimes, in fact, I'll go months without seeing the inside of a gym. Then, my ass starts jiggling during sex so I'll hit the gym for a few months until everything's nice and toned. Then I stop. For a couple months.
Then the ass jiggle during coitus starts again so back I go.
To understand how much of anathema it is for me to subject myself to gym culture, you also have to understand just how much I hate exercise, particularly the group variety; how much I hate crowds, particularly the preening kind.
I hate all the mirrors. I hate the aggressive meatheads with the tree trunk necks flexing in front of said mirrors and I hate the ninety-pound basket cases furiously working off that lemon slice they sucked on for lunch. And I hate getting on an elliptical machine after someone's dripped a quart of sweat onto it and neglected to wipe it off after they finish.
I have absolutely no sense of coordination, either.
Subsequently, the only communal thing I like is spinning. Basically, you just pedal the shit out of a bike. That, I can manage.
That said, I hate when the spin instructors talk into their mikes the whole time, barking at you to check your cadence on your knee. I hate that you can't hear them anyway over the music and I hate it even more when you can. And for the most part, I hate the music they play in the classes. I'm all about populist iTunes Top 10 shit in group workouts but I've heard instructors play Creed and the Dixie Chicks. When that happens, I'm never quite sure if I'm about to have a heart attack from exertion or from rage.
Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was noticing the ass jiggle during sex.
I guess I should do something about that, I thought. I'll go to the gym tomorrow. Definitely.
Three weeks later, I'd yet to make it to the gym.
One Sunday, I was watching an elderly chimp doing karate on YouTube and eating Nacho flavored Bugles when I realized something.
God, I thought. I am a waste of space.
So I went to the gym. I got stoned first. But at least I went.
I like going to the gym stoned. It makes the aforementioned irritants easier to stomach.
When I got to the spin studio a muscled, late thirties-ish woman with grayish dreads was atop the instructor's bike.
"Howdy, partner," she called to me. "I'm Tanya! Hope you ate thin crust last night because right about now, it's time for deep dish."
Straight, this would have made absolutely no sense to me. Stoned, it made me burst into uncontrollable laughter.
"Haha," Tanya chortled in response to my wild donkey snorts.
The people in the front row of the class looked bewildered. This made me laugh even harder.
"Hahaha," I chortled back.
You stoned too? she said with her look.
I sure am, I replied silently. Why else would I be here on a Sunday morning with Nacho-flavored Bugle crumbs still on my face?
I adjusted the handlebars and saddled up,
"Disorder" by Joy Division began playing.
Musically-speaking, it was an auspicious beginning.
I pedaled along enthusiastically.
"Don't let the German riders gain on you!" Tanya warned. "That's what they want!"
Several people looked up at her quizzically but no one said anything.
Next up, a song by MGMT that was years old, almost unlistenable from being overplayed and by spin instructor standards, pure gold.
"We're heading up that hill," she panted. "We're about to see that rainbow. That rainbow that comes after the storm. And maybe we'll stop for ice cream! Or I guess, make it low-fat sorbet, huh? They have marshmallow sorbet?"
Wow, this chick is fucked up, I thought happily.
As we headed down the "hill," past the "rainbow," Teddy Bear by Elvis Presley began blaring from the speakers. It seemed a strange choice, after what had preceded it.
But Tanya seemed to like it. A lot.
Because she started cackling incoherently into her mike.
And I suddenly realized that she wasn't just stoned. She was tripping.
"Hahaha," she giggled into her mike. "Woohoohoo. Hahahaha. Woohooohaha! That marshmallow sorbet's gonna taste good!"
Holy shit, I thought, struggling to control my breathing and my laughter. Is anyone else noticing this?
I looked around the room. The class was almost uniformly hunched over their bikes in concentration.
Nope. Not yet anyway.
"People said Elvis was a racist," she yelled over the music. "Well, I'm black and I'm saying no way. No freaking way!"
The girl next to me darted a look over at me but I ignored her. If I made eye contact, I knew I'd lose my shit.
"Wear a thin coat," Tanya panted. "Even only a windbreaker! In this weather, you'll lose twenty extra calories a day!"
As we hit a boardwalk ("Watch out for those roller skaters! Whoohooohahaha!"), Roll Over Beethoven by Chuck Berry began.
I wonder why she's playing this, I thought. Is it good to trip to, or something? Should I ask her after class?
"Hey!" Tanya hollered to the class. "Was Chuck the one who peed on the girl?"
No one answered. Many were, however, exchanging discomfited glances.
"Nah, it was R. Kelly," Tanya bellowed, answering her own question. "Let's double time now! Up that hill! And... down!"
We were now on a flat plateau.
"You guys like walnuts?" Tanya demanded. "I love 'em!"
I bent my head to my chest and tried to hide my face. I was almost convulsing with laughter.
"Wait, wasn't Chuck Berry the one who was into poop?" Tanya queried loudly.
Again, no answer. The entire class was pumping away at their bikes, faces tucked down, studiously avoiding eye contact with Tripper Tanya.
As we began jumps, though, I gave her a huge grin.
She grinned back.
And I realized suddenly that she was staring at my tits, like they were marshmallow sorbet or maybe walnuts even.
I laughed and pedaled faster. Who cared?
I owed her.
I hadn't laughed that hard in months.