Having debated about whether to go for a run or go to the gym I found myself in the gym.
The streets of South Manchester may have been poorer for the absence of an overweight, bearded man (very slowly) plodding along with a bright red face but the streets of South Manchester had to wait for my pity. Something far greater than the streets of South Manchester deserved my pity you see; something far greater than, maybe, anything ever created; something that the people of Mexico might call ‘el hombre cuya existencia es inútil’, if they speak the Spanish of Google Translate.
Yes, dear reader, the something I talk of is a someone and that someone is I. You…self-pity? Never! This cannot be so…
Yes, growing increasingly bored reader, I pitied myself. Why??? WHY? WHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhy?? you ask.
Let’s rewind 20 minutes. I am throwing on some gym clothes: hoody and tracksuit bottoms. I’ve got my gym bag, contents: gym card (needlessly – security is as lax as an international flight bound for America pre 9/11), towel (only person who uses my gym who wipes machines after I use them), bottle of water (rehydration saves lives) and keys (small specially shaped pieces of metal that allow me to lock and unlock the door to my apartment); I’ve put my iPod in one pocket of my hoody and my phone in the other. I check the news before I leave, if there was a breaking story that world was about to end I would abandon my gym visit (apocalypse= going for a run instead). There is no apocalypse (being covered by the news anyway) but on seeing coverage of Abu Qatada’s non-extradition the genus of a hilarious gag forms. I will later release it on social networks to almost zero acclaim.
I am ready to go to the gym. But I stop and sit around looking on the internet for five minutes; subconsciously giving the apocalypse another chance? Who knows. What DOES happen in those five minutes is this: my hoody feels a bit stiff so I go and swap it for another. Then I leave for the gym. I walk to the gym on the shorter route outlined the other day. I sign in. I climb the stairs. My sentences shorten. They lengthen again as I see ‘my’ x-trainer, the word must have got around that I was on my way and the x-trainer was cleared; the staff clearly don’t want a repeat of the time someone was on it*. “Great,” I think, “lets simulate cross-county skiing.”
I stand beside the x-trainer. I take off my outer jacket – several females in the gym immediately look my way: the jacket has masked my odious personal smell, release of the shield attracts disgusted/nauseous looks. I de-scarf. I de-hat. I mount the x-trainer. I go to my pocket for my iPod….(we’re basically at the beginning of the blog now).
The iPod was in the initial hoody. *SAD FACE*
Well what the fucking fuck? I did consider walking back home for my iPod. But, not for the first time, I don’t take myself seriously. There’s only one thing for it: I am going to have to try and do the gym without my personal soundtrack, which currently means the excellent podcasts of Frank Skinner’s Absolute Radio show. It means I am going to have to listen to shit gym music. (If you’re in a rush to do something or pondering leaving the blog now, my advice would be to go for it; there’s no real denouement.)
So I did. I just did it. How did I manage it? I kept setting myself mini challenges: how far did I go in the previous 30 seconds? And then trying to beat it. Then, when I had got bored of this I tried to do the second kilometre quicker than the first, which is essentially the same challenge on a slightly larger scale. If the 30 second challenge were a decent little indie film the kilometre one would be an overblown sequel with little merit (if you find it difficult to think in even this simplest of abstract terms, the 30 second challenge is The Blair Witch Project and the kilometre one is Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows).
It’s a shit way to distract from the lack of distraction of my iPod but, by jove, it works. And before I know it I am charging towards the end of my session on the x-trainer. And, yeah, beating the record of that first kilometre. I am Roger Bannister doing his 4-minute mile; I am…er my mind has gone blank looking for another example of someone doing a running type record. All I can think of is Bob Beamon’s long jump record and it doesn’t really work so well in comparison. Whatever: I am motoring along: if this were a Mario Kart time trial I would be well ahead of the ghost version of me doing the previous best. You still have to finish, though, and I am not letting up.
And then I accidentally pressed a button and the machine re-set. The crowd of people (in my head) who had been roaring me on to victory stopped and looked at each other in an embarrassed fashion. In my head components of the crowd stand out above others: a young girl waving a ‘Go Phil’ flag throws it to the ground, her dreams crushed; an elderly man – who had been hoping the grief of man’s inhumanity to man would somehow be righted by my exertions – begins sobbing; and a dog dies of sadness.
Above them all I pick out my mum and dad. The rest fade in to a blur. But not my parents – they remain. They look at me as I look at them, two people who I have complete and unconditional love for. They (still) look back at me and after a pause of what can only be seconds – but feels like hours – they both say “you’re fucking shit, son, you really are a pointless twat”.**
*In brief: someone was on the x-trainer I normally use and I had to go on another one.
** This is a comic device. Though all this stuff about an imaginary crowd is 100% fabricated, I would like to make it clear that my parents would be supportive of me, especially in a scenario where I failed doing something; even in my subconscious which, admittedly, is controlled by someone who loathes me with quite the passion.
Let’s Get Ready to Rumble…
Thought I’d leave this a couple of days to give Sherlock fans a chance to see it. Not that it spoils anything. It was good wannit? Proper good.
But that’s not why I’m mentioning the episode. It was me spotting this guest star – did you notice them? The name of the star is revealed under the pictures – but I’m donr mean Martin Freeman or that sort from The IT Crowd in the background. It’s easy….
That’s right: It’s Dec out of Ant ‘n’ Dec (PJ and Duncan from Byker Grove). Well done to everyone who spotted it.