30 April 2008
Gym Stories - My Jurassic Experience
Being in the throws, as I am, of the crazy endorphin rush of the first few weeks of heavy physical training, I am reminded of various adventures I have had in gyms throughout the years. I am reminded of little else, BTW, because what these endorphins seem to do is to economize everything in my body to serve the Muscle Building Machine. My IQ has been cut down to just about the level one needs to operate a can opener (still got one up on the cats! Yaaay!) and I find I can do little else but sleep, watch funny things on YouTube and drink wine. It will pass, I know, but right now it’s all very Flowers For Algernon for me.
I am reminded of a similar time, years go, when I was living in San Francisco. I joined a gym that was about a 15 minute walk from where I lived, and I committed myself to going there and heavily working out every morning before work. Since I’ve always been pretty useless in the mornings, I would sleep in my workout clothes so when the alarm went off all I had to do was put my shoes on and run out the door. If I hadn’t done this I would have wandered around my apartment in a fog of half-sleep for 45 minutes trying to find my gym socks. And besides, when you are in the first few weeks of working out it’s best to get yourself out the door before you are fully awake so you don’t talk yourself out of anything. Usually I would officially wake up about the time I was walking in to the gym and then it was too late for any excuses.
So at this time, Jurassic Park was showing in the theaters. It had been on for quite a while, but I had taken some convincing to go see it as I’m not exactly keen on dinosaurs. I have three fears in this life: Flying, Clowns, and Tyrannosaurus Rexes. I find I get along nicely enough keeping to surface travel and avoiding The Circus, and of course there’s the added help that T-Rex and all other dinosaurs are extinct. And you know what I say? Good riddance to them! Look, I love animals and I’ll go out on a limb for some really unattractive and even viscous critters, but I draw the line at T-Rexes. I’m sorry, but I fail to see where a 30-foot lizard with 3-foot razor sharp teeth has anything constructive to contribute to society. If they were alive today my life would be a living hell of having to stand perfectly still while they sniffed through my neighborhood crushing everything they stepped on, so I’m glad the fuckers are all dead.
So anyway, I finally agreed to go and see Jurassic Park with many assurances that it was “just a movie”. Ha! From the moment where that glass of water vibrates because of the coming T-Rex onslaught, I was hiding under my jacket screaming like a child…which might have been endearing if I had actually been a child, but I was old enough to have my own apartment and get drunk after seeing the film, so, well, kind of not so cute, really.
A few glasses of wine later I had calmed down to the point where I was able to go home, put on my track suit, and go to sleep.
Now another thing that happens when I am in the first few weeks of working out endorphin rush is that I get really vivid dreams: Those really realistic dreams where upon waking, you aren’t sure whether it really happened or not. So I ended up having on of these. And unfortunately it was a full-on Technicolor dream about T-rexes stomping around my neighborhood in San Francisco. They were everywhere and I was having to hide from them. And just when one was outside my apartment building peering into my 3rd floor window, my alarm clock went off and I had to jump into my shoes and run. In under a minute I was outside the building heading for the gym, when suddenly I remembered the neighborhood was under siege by dinosaurs.
It was still pitch black outside and I wasn’t more than 15 per cent awake, so I could hear them coming for me. I flew into a blind panic and started running at breakneck speed for the gym as if my life depended on it. All the while I had to keep turning around and looking for the T-Rexes but they were hiding behind the buildings so I couldn’t see them. I knew they were waiting for a clean moment when they could pounce and I wasn’t going to give it to them. I broke Olympic records for 100, 500, and 1000 meter sprints and I may have even broken the sound barrier and I got to the gym in seconds flat, all but throwing myself in the doors upon my arrival. I fell to the floor heaving for breath. One of the gym employees ran to help me up, looking outside and wondering if he should call the police. And it was exactly at that moment that I started to wake up.
“Are you OK? Was someone chasing you?” He asked in earnest.
“No, no.” I gasped, between breaths, “I just didn’t want to be late.” It was a weak excuse but it was all my endorphin-laden half-awake brain could muster.
He looked around the empty gym, then back at me.
I could tell he thought I was retarded, but my only recourse would have been to explain that I thought I was being chased by dinosaurs, so I didn’t say anything. Instead I gave him a stupid grin. So for the rest of my time as a member of that gym, I let him go on thinking I was retarded. Because retarded is always better than crazy.