Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Adventures in Exercise Part 1: Walking at the Public Park
Back in the 70s and 80s, people turned exercise into something dreadfully ugly. There were workout videos and leotards for women. There were men in too-short shorts and their socks pulled up to their knees running around and around the park with extremely sweaty Tom Selleck mustaches. Exercise was gross.
Today, exercise is sexy. Shorts length has finally been regulated for men and women, so that you only see a low-hanging nut once in a rare while. iPods have replaced giant radios that you can strap to your head with velcro. Really dedicated people can go to the gym and hop on the treadmill so that you never have to witness their sweatiness against your will.
Unfortunately, I'm not a gym enthusiast. They exceed my budget by about an entire paycheck and twelve pints of blood. But there are places to exercise cheap or for free if you look hard enough. And they're open to the general public. Won't you let me tell you about these places? Won't you?
Every morning, at around 7, I head over to the closest park for my daily walk. Cost? Nothing. If I walk around it, the distance is about 2-1/2 miles. It's very invigorating and refreshing first thing in the morning. And I see many, many interesting people along the way.
One block before I get to the park, I run into a woman who likes to do her pre-workout stretches by grabbing the light signal pole and bending over with her butt facing oncoming traffic. Then, she crosses the street and does it again. You know, just in case all of the drivers didn't see it the first time. Wouldn't want to strain anything, now would we? I call her "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!"
I continue my walk and come upon the man I call "Tight Like a Tiger" because he is so ripped, he can no longer move his arms when he runs.
Then, I come upon "Sweaty Old Guy." Sweaty Old Guy has an extremely pained expression on his face. Always. Could it be arthritis, bunions, or tight-fitting underwear causing his pain? Hard to say. We've all seen the pained running expression. It's usually on the face of one of those people who is entirely convinced that he/she is running, but is so obviously exhausted that it's really just an enthusiastic walk.
As my walk continues, I encounter the "Overhead Clapper." As she walks, she claps her hands over her head. Maybe she is trying to keep the East River seagulls at bay. No one knows.
Then, there is "Captain Aftershave." You can smell him from 20 feet away, his Axe cologne permeating the air on wings of awful. And not only does he smell like a frat party's balls, he is also the king of hip-hop. Please envision, if you will, a white man in his early 60s, dressed in an all-white track suit and matching sweatband, shadow boxing to old-school Snoop and Dr. Dre. Now imagine him in the middle of a crowded sidewalk with joggers and bicyclists trying to navigate their way around him. Yeah.
Now that we've talked about my fellow exercise enthusiasts, let's talk about dogs. I understand that dogs have to poop. In one end, and out the other, eh, old boy? But, my god, does your dog need to do that RIGHT THERE by the sidewalk? And what are you feeding that thing, Kibbles and the Flesh of a Rotting Corpse?
Or maybe that smell is just the East River. Every morning with a fresh waft of fish market. Or is it foot jelly on dead unwiped asshole?
And so, as I wrap up my morning walk each day, I think fondly of the park and its daily visitors. Without them, I would have to join a gym and see only the boring people who work out there. You know, the properly shod and attired. People who stretch before working out. The sexy people. And not a leotard or sweaty mustache to be found. Boring. I like my exercise to invigorate me AND smell like old cheese on the belly of a sweaty old man.
Anyone for a walk? No?