Much to my horror, my teenage daughter suggested the two of us get a gym membership so that we could exercise together on Friday nights. My mouth dried up and my heart skipped a beat as I would rather spend my Friday evenings doing almost anything other than pointless and boring physical workouts. Somehow managing to squeak a non-reply, hmmm, yes, great, maybe, let’s keep it in mind; I then gathered my wits and asked her what we would do at the gym, once there – on a Friday evening in the hopefully very, very distant future. She was not all too sure but mentioned running and I can only assume that this would involve a treadmill and not laps within the facility. Why my daughter would seek out more gym time is beyond me, at school she has two gym classes and one swim class per week in addition to playing handball and soccer which combined involve team practices every day of the week aside from Sunday. This I believe is more time than I spend smoking and drinking coffee weekly although I have never had reason to sum it up, till now.
Luckily she has not brought the subject back up and if my luck holds she has forgotten this completely, the mother daughter barbell bonding experience having been replaced with other things that occupy her mind at the moment, Robert Pattison for example. This semi-discussion did however make me look inward and wonder why this mere mention of physical fitness was so horrific to me. We have a good, solid and friendly relationship, spiced with the occasional teenage drama of the light variety, so the dread in no way involved my daughter. The closest thing to an explanation I could come up with was a memory I recall being the last time I stepped inside a gym, approximately fifteen years ago. At the time we were living in Montreal and the apartment building we lived in doubled as a hotel for those seeking a room for longer periods than the average tourist. The establishment had a small gym in the basement which I once reluctantly sought out with my husband after a lot of coaxing. Being pretty pleased with myself once down there, I managed to work up something that resembled a drop of perspiration on my forehead, although it evaporated before I managed to get my husband to witness the phenomenon. This feeling of accomplishment did not last very long however as my fragile physical ego imploded when we were joined by people staying in the hotel. These were gymnasts attending the Circque du Soleil circus school in Montreal and were as such capable of contortions my body could possibly be forced to achieve once dead, after rigor mortis has passed. Not wanting to display my feeble attempts at touching my toes in front of women standing on one leg while the other pointed straight up in the air, I left, towel wrapped around my neck, hoping to appear as having been there for hours on end – not minutes. The lesson learned? Why bother - if I need to point to the ceiling I will use my hand, both feet firmly planted on the ground as nature intended.
Putting all gaiety and futility aside, my heart goes out to all people of Haiti who have been hit by one of the most destructive forces of nature, one that is void of empathy and shows no mercy when crossing. It is atrocious to listen to the death toll estimates and even more so when you think about the figures that will shortly follow i.e. the numbers of those that have been hurt or maimed. Alltough it is of little solace to the grieving and hurt I assume the whole world is moved by this event and I for one will be doing what little I can as an individual to provide aid through the Red Cross collection currently being organised. May all good things come to pass in future for this small, impoverished and now grieving nation.
Yrsa - Wednesday