A Night at the Gym

I awoke from my nap and felt groggy but new; the boring school day and atrociously-long afterschool physics lab felt like something old, outside the realm of my Present.  But I didn’t notice this feeling until I was out on the road, alone, driving.  The perfectly-round moon looked large and horrifically yellow, in a sickly ominous kind of way, and cast a sulfur glow on the shroud of wisps cloaking it.  I stared in wonder and was reminded of the “yellow fog” described in a T.S. Eliot poem we were reading in English class.  I would later learn that Native Americans call this large bright full moon a “snow moon.”

During my warm-up on the elliptical, I nearly collapsed when I stepped onto the machine too hastily.  The young woman next to me giggled good-naturedly and said sympathetically: “Mondays.”

For the first time since I started going to the gym (less than a month), the television were broadcasting news.  Usually it’s winter sports and long advertisements.  But they were reporting something about government surveillance — I clumsily plugged my earphone jack into the elliptical and tuned into that channel.  It was about the Apple vs. FBI standoff.  Recently interested in government surveillance, I drank it in and reminded myself to check Edward Snowden’s twitter for his thoughts.  I also watched reports on cancerous lumber liquidators and ISIS news.  Eventually I switched over to my music and met my personal trainer in the weight room.

She went over my workout plan and, to my dismay, told me that I need 30 minutes of cardio, three times a week.  I completed my weight reps (which I somehow enjoy more) until 7:30.  I returned to the ellipticals.

Less than a minute in, I already felt laziness begin to creep in.  I didn’t know how I was going to survive the half-hour.  I checked the Youtube subscriptions on my phone and found, to my excitement, that John Oliver’s main story of the week focused on abortion laws.  There are few matters I feel more strongly about than reproductive rights.  Excitedly, I surged in speed and watched the entire thing, right there.

At first I felt empowered by the experience of someone validating your views.  But by the end of the video, describing the desperation of women, I just felt sad.  But I had completed my half-hour of cardio.

I sat in the dry sauna, feeling the lingering tension of the day’s work — the earlier events of that day already felt like a different lifetime — dissolve.  I think I compartmentalize too much.

On the drive home, the yellow moon was clear and unfogged.  I had a lot of homework to do, but I felt content and accomplished.

-M.L.

Picture source: flickr

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