Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WALKING FOR STIMULATION (New Year Fitness Routine with Lily and Emily Lisker)

Running Shoes, Coffee Mug and New Year's Resolve

After last week’s marathon ingestion of eggnog-fat and buttertarts frosted in caramelized lard (combined with the resulting 72-hour coma), I am ready to revisit my ‘routine.’

I don’t mean my old routine, from back in 2012.  In those days I’d get up at the crack of noon and race to my cushioned blogging-chair to tally page-views, balancing Nutella and a loaf of toast on my gut.

Well, no more.

Today’s new and improved gut has too much girth to balance anything on, except itself. 

Indeed, now that my gut is able to sit upright on my lap, unsupported, like a lumpy toddler with no soul, its resplendence occupies the breadth and depth and height my thighs can reach.

My new gut, in fact, is so numbly independent of the rest of my body, I had to register it with the federal government to get it its own social security number.  (It plans to vote for Biden.)

Plus it is so eerie, it’s being studied by the stars of the TV show Ghosthunters for the vertigo and paranormal energy it generates. Why, just last night, the local TAPS Team (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) recorded multiple EVPs off my gut (electronic voice phenomena).  Everyone thought they'd heard demonic swearing, the kind from the movie, The Exorcist, but my gut was just asking for “fudge.”

Speaking of exorcising, I read in this morning’s New York Times that working-out is responsible for a startling outbreak of physical fitness. Not only does it aerobicize the brain and tighten adipose. It releases a bunch of ‘endorphins.’

Endorphins are these fun brain chemicals – they look like carpenter ants – that exercising bodies make to create an LSD high. They increase wellbeing, suppress appetite and stimulate creativity, and it’s hard not to see why. 

Power-walkers, for example, can be observed at dawn pounding pavement with their heels, breathing truck exhaust and chilled mold spores – sweating organs through their pores.  Without endorphins to cheer and addict them, they’d be home eating bread dough with me.

Recently, a walking friend was having so much fun with her endorphins, she tried to impart hers on me. “Tomorrow morning,” gushed Emily in her daily email to me, “you must walk with us.  Lily and I get started around 7.”

And I would seriously consider walking.  Until she emailed again.  “Carolyn, you should see Lily now. She is TEEMING with muscle-tone, plus our post-partum neighbor lost 20 pounds.  And I’ve started PAINTING again!” I was so intimidated by all of their successes, I developed anxiety insomnia. Which is when Emily noted that endorphins aren’t the only brain chemical walking releases.  “There’s also SERATONIN!”

“I spike seratonin from chocolate, Emily  – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz –  See?”

“—and walking burns calories.”

I glanced at my breakfast Yodel (on clearance from Hostess).  It resembled my Eating Arm.

I clicked out of my email, despondent.

I thought long and hard about endorphins and seratonin. Enough to realize they are controlled substances.  Intoxicants the Republican Congress might decide to make a felony.  (But only AFTER they finish their power-luge off the fiscal cliff.)

You see my point, don't you?  I wanted my brain to manufacture its own illicit chemicals, quick, before they got outlawed.  So I just did it.

One morning, I got up, cleaned the overturned trash from a cat with a better nightlife than mine, kicked a pile of guest-towels molding on an upstairs floor in the general direction of a laundry basket, woke my 22 year-old to let her know I was off to Emily’s, then I brushed my teeth, combed my hair, and went back to bed.

(Exercise is something to ease into gradually.)

Once, in my previous life (July of 2012), I tried physical fitness.  I ran with my video game Wii Fitness Trainer (both of us in color-coordinated sweatbands, my Wii controller secured to my wrist) until I got out-of-breath.

But not before I blew PAST my entire family’s previous running scores and became the fastest runner in Wii–Level-One.    

Once I’d hooked myself up to my asthma inhalers and oxygen tent, I tried to turn the game off because I didn’t want to ruin my high score. But I accidentally hit ‘re-try.’ 

Then I couldn’t stop the game. 

My Wii Trainer ran on ahead without me, then he noticed I wasn’t with him, so he stopped, turned, and glowered, hands on hips. But I remained sofa-bound to watch the game time-out.

My trainer refused to run without me.

Our family’s Mii Avatars all did, though.  One by one, Nick, Jake, Zach, Abby, Ace, Bridgette-the-Cat, a made-up family member named Bilb-ono my son fashioned using albino skin color and the dimensions of a malnourished rat, all blew past me.

Each family member smiled and waved at first, then frowned at me before fleeing off-screen.

Weirdly, Abby’s Mii started a new run every few seconds.  Her original Mii never returned to the starting-line first.

This also happened with her father’s Mii avatar.  For a while, it was comforting to see those two familiar faces pop up unexpectedly to run past me again and again until I timed out. Until, of course, her father returned from one of his runs with a date.  Some super-fit Indian chick in green eyeliner and a burka. NO idea where they were off to.

Jonathan is no longer permitted to play Wii Fit Running to either beat my high score OR run with Wii-trollops because I gave the game to charity.

Which is how I discovered the art of walking in real life, outdoors, with Emily and Lily.

Real Life Walking with Emily and Lily does not involve finish lines or timing-out or trollops.  It may not involve physical fitness, but it does provide generous amounts of beautiful scenery and stray dogs and – when you’re done observing dogs and scenes—there’s Emily’s homey kitchen filled with hot cinnamon coffee and homemade brioche.

Emily bakes her own bread every day, but for her guests, she grills them on a cast iron griddle, (the bread, not her guests) with butter and real maple syrup.  From trees.  Due to the fiber content in bark.  (She is SO health-conscious.)

And her coffee.  Man, I don’t know where she and her husband Bill buy their beans, but they are amazing.

“Are you sure these are LEGAL?” I asked Emily, mug atremble under the pot. 

After my third refill, I reflected back on a conversation Emily and I had shared weeks earlier, before the holidays.  Walking, she reported in a beautifully-rendered e-poem, has ”a mystical way of unfolding time. It creates the time to balance, plan the day, enjoy.”

Emily was wrong.

After eleven cups of coffee I unfolded time by force. “YO, move, I got STUFF to do,” then I vaulted over Emily and jitter-jogged to my car.

Once I learned to mix endorphins with caffeine, I required sedatives for my drive from Woonsocket to the Mass-border, so as not to breach the sound barrier from excessive highway speeds.

Mundane tasks that ordinarily occupied an entire day twitched by like lightning.  I violence-shopped at Shaw’s, speed-washed towels by going from ‘load’ directly to ‘spin.’ By 1 PM I’d already eaten supper and an evening snack.

I had EIGHT HOURS to kill until Dexter.

(. . .time unfolds – time to balance, plan, enjoy . . .)

I unfolded three Yodel wrappers, planned an hour of poker with Abby, then enjoyed a sustained stimulant crash, balanced face down on the sofa.

Abby had to program the DVR to record Dexter.  I never woke up until Wednesday. 

JUST in time to rev up the car and time-travel straight back to my mug.  Ooooh baby, this fitness thing’s SO fine.