It was somewhere around 5:42 pm, on the edge of yet another imaginary incline, when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like: only in Los Angeles would a gym pass out glasses of wine to people immediately before they get on stationary bikes. And: only in Los Angeles would the people take the free gym wine, suck it down, and then actually get back on the stationary bikes, instead of turning around, walking out the door, and finding a bar to finish what they started.
Except I didn’t really say either of those things. I thought them. And there weren’t really any drugs–there were only endorphins–well, that and the wine–but the endorphins were good enough. (And while you’re up, can I get some more?)
I wondered: is it was OK to say that? To think it? Will people whisper that I must be drinking again? Will they think I’m just a heartbeat away from pounding a bottle of Night Train and talking about the value of time in jail for “the experience”? And, if so, will they will be concerned? Or will they be intrigued? What is the right response, for an audience, would you say?
I’m throwing this up and seeing what sticks. This is all experimental, people. New. And absent real talent, we must work with the substances we’re still allowed to have. Which are only distributed through exercise.
Peppiness is the name of the game today. Peppy at the start, peppy up the hill, peppy down the hill. Peppy throughout. The instructor, Peppy, might be gay. But I don’t like to make generalizations. I have never met a straight man who threatens to come to class dressed as a “naughty elf” before, though. God this techno music SUCKS.
Three parties he had for Thanksgiving. Three parties? What could he is possibly need with three parties? How much festivity could there possibly be? And by the way, MAN THIS IS FUCKING HARD. MAN AM I BREATHING HARD TODAY.
“So we had some friends at our party, they were going to a Thanksgiving potluck–”
Is that the punchline?
“And they were going to bring a platter of vegetables and mashed potatoes . . .”
Does this story go anywhere in particular?
“And this party was going to have a lot of trainers at it,”
Is he going to let us sit down before or after this story ends, do you think?
How can he keep talking like this, and with all that flair? Doesn’t he get tired?
“So they wanted to make the mashed potatoes as fattening as possible . . .”
Oh, I see. It’s just a boring story. There isn’t a punchline per se.
“So my better half–he’s a chef, right? So he says, [flamboyant hand gesture in shape of a quart of dairy products] one quart of whipping cream [knowing look, knowing look, nod, nod] and [quick hand gesture to indicate three of something] three sticks of butter.”
I knew he was gay. Why am I always so worried about saying these things?
“So, if you see them out there today, they’re moving a bit slower today! [Isn't it outrageous?! conspiratorial look].
There are a few scattered grumbles of acknowledgment, and if you look carefully into the long mirror that covers one half of the cycling studio, you will see a few us–those of us in shape enough to still be concerned with being polite–fake a smile. But other than that, no. We’ve pretty much had it. The tough guy next to me keeps sitting down when he’s supposed to be standing. He’s tired. Hah. I knew he was cocky when he started warming up early for the class. Who does that? This is all about survival, man. You just need to make it out alive. Nobody wins anything. You know why? The bikes don’t move. They don’t move, man.
We are cooling down. Did anybody have to work Friday? Peppy wants to know.
One woman says, “I had to work. My in-laws are in town. So, cooking, cleaning . . .”
“That’s not real work–”
“. . . “
“It’s work, but . . .”
“. . .”
“You didn’t have to go to the office, put the key in the door . . .”
“. . .”
“It’s a different kind of stress that goes with that kind of work.”
“That’s rich,” I say, to nobody in particular.
“Can anyone explain this song to me?” Peppy wants to change the subject.
I can, I think.
“Are we human, or are we dancers? I don’t get it,” Peppy says.
Tell me what you want it to mean, and I’ll tell you how it means that, I think.
“It must mean something, right?” Peppy asks.
(We are dancers.)