Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday Musings, 13 June 2015

Good morning,

Four hours into my day, I've hauled trash down for the neighborhood Dumpster Day and spent forty-five minutes at the Y on the machines which my neuro-physical-therapist thinks could keep my legs working for another few years.  The people at the Y on Saturday have all reached the stage at which one's doctor looks over the edge of his glasses and makes that telltale sound with his tongue which could mean anything from "you've got terminal whatever" to "get off your butt, lady, you're killing yourself with inertia".

Across from me, a woman in the latter category wipes sweat from her face and raises a bar with her legs.  Her midsection speaks of bowls of chips.  I'm reminded of the handfuls of popcorn that I ate yesterday at the office -- first instead of lunch, then, after shaming myself into eating a bowl of lentils, as dessert.  I watch her lean over the edge of her seat and pant.  I lean, too -- to move the peg to a heavier setting and do ten more repetitions.

Through the window of the exercise room, I can see a boot camp class running in circles, flapping their arms, kicking their heels, rotating their shoulders.  I'm struck by the irony of it all.  Our lives have devolved to the point at which we must pay a monthly fee to have somewhere to move.  I feel my heart pound and I let the foot bar fall idle, breathing, noticing the strain through my lower legs.

A man strolls onto the floor in black work-out clothing.  From my seated position, he looks to be nearly seven feet tall.  His hair has gone grey but the muscles ripple along his arms as he stretches to prepare himself.  A serious air hangs around him.  He draws his brow tight, shakes his head, bends, stands.  He catches me watching him and holds my gaze for a few seconds, until I look somewhere else.  When I turn back, he has walked over to a weight machine and started his routine, his back toward me, the set of his shoulders signalling his resolve.

The woman across from me slumps against the back of the seat of the machine that she's been using.  From somewhere behind me, a man approaches her and they speak.  She shakes her head, closes her eyes, stops.  I see him place a hand on her arm and my heart contracts.  They stand, silent, the woman still shuttered, still with her tightly closed eyes.  Then she smiles, and he murmurs something close to her ear.  Her smile broadens and she wraps her hands around the handlebars, beginning to move again, as her husband seats himself on a weight bench nearby.

A family barrels through the front door, dashing to some activity deep in the building.  I see the people moving around me but I cannot hear them.  I move my arms -- out, in, out, in -- pushing thirty pounds of pressure.  The bootcamp folks go round and round, contorting their bodies, while their trainer runs behind them.  Her face glistens as she calls out words that do not reach me.

When I have done my forty-five minutes, I leave the building.  The door closes behind me and I stand on the sidewalk, wondering why in a building full of exertion, I did not hear a single sound -- nothing from the televisions above the steppers, nor from the pool; no shouts from the work-out room; no grunts, no music, not so much as a solitary sigh.

Then a rush of cars move past on Troost and my ears open.  Birds sing as the sun journeys from dawn to noon, brightening the morning around me.  A shudder runs through my body.  But I step off the curb and walk over to my car.  As the heavens open, as rain begins to fall, I make my way home.

Mugwumpishly tendered,

Corinne Corley

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The Missouri Mugwump™

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I've been many things in my life: A child, a daughter, a friend; a wife, a mother, a lawyer and a pet-owner. I've given my best to many things and my worst to a few. I live in Brookside, in an airplane bungalow. I'm an eternal optimist and a sometime-poet. If I ever got a poem published in The New Yorker, I would die a happy woman. I'm a proud supporter of the Arts in Kansas City. I vote Democrat, fly the American flag, cry at Hallmark commercials, and recycle.