I walked to work today. It was sort of surreal, listening to Biohazard and twisting through all the skyscrapers and highway overpasses and crap to get here. It took about 45 minutes. I made it but my walkman didn’t – it is a real piece of shit, and maybe the batteries are dead or the tape is all tensioned weird and running slow, but it is fucked. Anyway, it was a decent walk and very strange, because I used to walk so much when I was in school and didn’t have a car. I walked an hour and 15 minutes each way to work on Sunday night, and almost every day walked an hour from campus to my apartment, sometimes each way. I spent a lot of fucking time walking, listening to a walkman, watching the terrain move at one or two miles an hour, wishing it was a hundred. But I walked so damn much that I could eat anything and never gain weight. At the time, I thought I was a little heavy, and lifted weights, ate salad, did sit ups, walked more on my days off, all of that stuff. I think I was about 25 lbs lighter than I am now, which is about right. In high school and my first year of college, I probably weighed about 50 lbs less than I do now. I hated it back then, because I was a major geek and wanted to put on 40 lbs of muscle or something. I was a walking fucking skeleton, and I ate Chips Ahoy by the bagful. I think I had a tapeworm. Anyway, all of this lithium and prozac and everything else has fucked my metabolism, plus I never exercise. I drive everywhere. I am nowhere near being the size of the average Jerry Springer audience member, but I wish I had the metabolism I used to have.
And I usually don’t work out. But sometimes I get on a kick. There’s a gym in my apartment building, and I convince myself – “All I have to do is get on the treadmill, at 3 in the morning when I have the place to myself, and run while I listen to the first Black Sabbath album, and do that 3 times a week and I’m set.” I go up there, and run for 40 minutes or an hour or whatever and come back and drink a gallon of water and take a shower and think “fuck! That was great. All I need to do is keep this up and eat better and I’ll be able to wear all of my clothes from high school.”
Of course, three days later, I will be in bed watching some assinine documentary about Nazi hot air balloons from World War II and eating Doritos. I can’t stick to a regimen like that, because it’s useless. It’s useless to sit on a piece of machinery and run for an hour and waste an hour of my time, just so the little readout tells me that I almost burned off the calories from one of the 16 Cokes I drank today. If I had to run for an hour to win some cash prize, or if I was at the Miss Nude Everything World adult theme park and I had to walk 16 miles over the course of the day to see all of the exhibits, I would do it. If my car broke down and I had the choice between the Metro and walking to work, I’d walk. If the walking is mixed with doing something, seeing something more than a rubber belt spinning around two rollers, than I would do it. But right now, I don’t have anything like that in my life. I don’t walk to classes, or to work, or to whatever. I sit in a chair and write. So maybe if I had something creative to do, I might be in better shape.
And before anyone says anything about hiking, climbing, rollerblading, distance cycling, or any of the other hip and trendy thirtysomething hobbies of the Pacific Northwest: NO. I am not going to participate in any sport where step one is buying five grand in equipment. Also, in all of these sports, there are people who would make me look like a complete idiot. I know fifty year old men that could kick my ass in mountain climbing. I couldn’t climb the rope in gym class in 9th grade. That was about 50 pounds ago, I know I couldn’t now. The reason I write and work with computers is because that is my gift and I was given that gift in lieu of any physical ability. It’s no secret that I’m no good at sports. Shawn Kemp can’t write WinHelp. Michael Jordan can’t program in C. I can’t run a single lap around a gym without getting shin splints. It’s something I’ve learned to accept.