In a corner of our gym there’s a paper sign up that says “THE PUNCHING BAG NO LONGER BELONGS HERE.” Evidently this means there’s a new spot for the punching bag and the management doesn’t want anyone to move it back into that particular corner. But the sign seems so much more poignant than that. The punching bag has moved on! The punching bag isn’t going to be your punching bag anymore! The punching bag is on a Greyhound bus this very moment, daydreaming about a better life and headed anywhere but here. Stay gold, punching bag, stay gold.
This is just to say that I’ve been at the gym a lot. I have to say it because I’m not sure if you can see it yet. (And certainly you can’t see me right this very minute through the internet, but you know.) In addition to the swimming, I’ve been doing the Weights/Hateful Pop Remixes class twice a week. I’ve gone fifteen times. I know this because I have a punch card, and after doing sixteen classes in eight weeks I’ll get a free quarter-zip sweatshirt from the gym. A sweatshirt that says, What kind of asshole can’t lift weights for eight weeks? NOT ME! No, that’s really what it says, in the iron-on letters of my mind. But whatever: apparently I really respond to incentives. Chris and I are also doing another eight-week thing, a holiday survival challenge where you can get a gym bag for not getting fat during the holidays. A whole gym bag! And then an bonus T-shirt if you try six classes! We’ll do anything for stuff! We’ll work our asses off for an empty Pez dispenser! For a box of paper clips! I’m almost not kidding! I suppose the magic is somewhere in the eight weeks part, eight weeks or some other chunk of time long enough to forget the beginning but short enough to remind you that it hasn’t been forever and that you’re still pretty much a dumbass.
But the nice thing about these gym challenges is that they attract even dumber people than ourselves. There was a woman in the Weights/Hateful Remix class who did everything so profoundly, blasphemously wrong that I was sure that some Ancient Vengeful Fitness God was going to smite her and turn her weight bar into a snake. She’d do duck feet during squats. Instead of lunges she’d do, I swear, the Bus Stop. At first it was a relief to have Wrongy Lady as the lowest common denominator, but it got so you couldn’t even look at her. I refer to her in the past tense because she hasn’t been to class for awhile and we think she got her sweatshirt already (by doing the sixteen classes in like three weeks, which, hello!, is wrong) and is now relaxing at home, eating cereal with forks and reading magazines upside down.
My weight has stayed the same the past two weeks since Thanksgiving. Well, more likely it wildly fluctuated as Mongol hordes of turkey and butter fat swept through my system, but now I’m back to where I was. It could be worse.