December 19th, 2002


Gyms and stress

Those of you who know me know I hate the gym. A million years ago I was a fairly serious high school athlete. When I made a conscious decision to distance myself from that community of frat-like boys, 4th-Reich-hoping coaches, and conservative politics, I associated certain activities with that time of my life. For years, beyond a pick up basketball or soccer game, physical activity of any kind scared me. It seemed to much like backsliding to a person I didn’t want to be.

But then I herniated a disc in my neck while working. The only thing that eventually gave me relief was starting a regular gym routine to strengthen the muscles around the area that will never entirely heal. While I can’t say I like it, buying a walkman and listening to my old tapes has helped make it bearable.

But I have found it incredibly useful in times of stress to release tension by working out. If nothing else, it makes me tired enough to sleep at night. Unfortunately, at this time of incredible stress (see below), the gyms are conspiring against me.

On Tuesday I went all the way downtown to the yuppie YMCA I belong to. It’s full of annoying business people who talk deals and wear too much cologne, but I go at off-hours and it has a hot tub and sauna. Anyways, when I get there I see a sign that it’s closed for maintenance until x-mas. I wish I could blame it on them but even though I was there three times last week, I’ve been pretty self-involved and could have missed the signs. While I took the bus back home I decided to drive to another Y since there isn’t one in my neighborhood. And my car wouldn’t start. Not enough time to take the bus there and get to work on time. Urgh.

My wonderful housemate gave me a pass to her gym which is only three blocks away. I tried to go there today, despite the fact that it is as cold and miserable as SF gets and I really just wanted to stay in bed. Even though it says nothing on the guest pass, they won’t let me in because the "member who gave it to me must be present". Arguing helped nothing. For about the 20th time in the last two weeks I kept myself from crying in public. On the way home it started pouring rain.

Have I mentioned I don’t handle stress well?
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