Thursday, November 6, 2008

Madonna of the Treadmill

The rain is beating the leaves off of the trees, causing leaves to blanket the ground in broad stripes of red, yellow and russet. It’s beautiful, in its own waning-season way. The kids come home from school and have cocoa or warm milk and a cookie, and we look out at the weather, they tell me about their days, and it's all very snug and Norman Rockwell and... doesn't make for particularly interesting copy.
So cocoa and stews and cozy… and the treadmill. There are people who love a brisk run or bike ride in the cold rain, but... I am not one of them. Years ago, I suited up to go on a bike ride in the cold rain, and realized, as I pedaled along, that I had enough thick neoprene on me that if I wanted to go for a little scuba in Puget Sound (which is always in the hypothermia-inducing 40s and 50s), I just needed a mask, air and a hood. The fact that I also needed a blinking tail-light and a headlight while I biked so that cars could see me, at two in the afternoon, was enough to persuade me to pony up for a gym membership during the winter, instead of continuing to spend money on neoprene and reflective gear.

And so, with the turn of the weather, to the treadmill I go, now accompanied by the iPod that Stumpy gave me last year.

The remake of The Birdcage, with Robin Williams, is old enough itself that many people (okay, young people) may not remember it. However, I always, always think of it as I turn on the treadmill at the gym and kick up the cheesy music playlists on my iPod (musical taste and the treadmill just don’t go together). In the Birdcage, Robin Williams gives some choreographing advice to a gum-snapping young lunk. He dances it out, as he does it:

“Or Twyla! Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Madonna, Madonna, Madonna! … But you keep it all inside.”

The last bit is advice that I try to keep in mind on the treadmill. Just keep it all inside, lady, I think (as I resist sticking my arms in the air and flopping my head around to the music). Or instead of a workout, you’ll be talking to people in white coats who use soothing voices.


cook eat FRET said...

i'm so so so impressed. lately i have been doing nothing. nothing...

not good. i am older than you and i am a current mess. and i am sad.

i need to go away again for a month and have someone starve me while simultaneously kicking my ass.

i would actually pay for that.

Meg said...

Claudia- if not for hockey, and the rather childish desire not to lose (or at least not when simple fitness could make the difference), I might not hit the treadmill as often.
I'm not much good at starving myself (and am incredibly unpleasant when I'm hungry). I suspect there may not be enough money in the world to make someone put up with a hungry me for a month.