Monday, January 09, 2006

Brothers in arms

Yesterday's post generated some great recommendations, and I've learned a lot more about the wonders of bike pogies and leathermans. I really like the idea of chemical handwarmers. The only time I ever used them was during a Dave Matthews concert at a 2002 Winter Olympics medals ceremony. Back then, I was still clinging to my late adolescence and still thought I was pretty cool. So, of course, I attended an outdoor concert in Salt Lake City in February wearing only a hoodie, some ratty jeans and and equally worn-out pair of Vans. (It only took a couple more years for me to become one of those people that drives by school bus stops and wonders what's wrong with those kids.) Anyway, my mom gave me some handwarmers as an afterthought. I stuffed them into my pocket and welded myself into the people slew near the stage. However, I was already a little too old to be cool enough for the pit, and as the crowd amped up I was pushed further back into the cold winter night. Numbness had pretty much consumed my fingers, ears, face and toes, and was moving on to my torso by the time I remembered those warmers. And as I clutched them in the pockets of whatever useless cotton layer I was wearing, I remember the sensation as akin to wrapping my fingers around a uranium-laced rock - it felt so wrong, but yet ... so right.

Today I went to the gym for the first time since Christmas. I wanted to keep my heart rate uniformly high for an hour and then do some tricep curls. The gym I go to is really small, and the personal trainer tends to lurk uncomfortably, wait for you to get embarrassingly sweaty and then blurt out advice that seems obvious ("be sure to drink some water after you're done.") So I usually stick my face in a magazine while I'm there. Today, the place was packed with New Years resolutioners but the personal trainer still managed to corner me as I was bee-lining for the elliptical.

"Haven't seen you in a while," he said.

"Yeah," I said. "It's that busy time of year."

He furrowed his unibrow and I could see I was in for a lecture. "We all get pretty busy around the holidays," he said, "but it's important to keep up a regular regimen if you want to stay fit."

"Uh-huh," I said.

"Be sure to stretch extra long before you start," he said. "Don't want you to get sore."

"Sure will," I said. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was kind of a down day for me.