I used to work out a lot. I never wanted to be super big -- like, I didn't care to look like an Olympic weightlifter, or even a sprinter, for that matter. I just wanted it to not hurt that much if someone punched me in the stomach. I wanted an Olympic diver build, which, in retrospect, is a semi-weird thing to want, I guess. I don't know.
I'd run a lot and do push-ups and all that. I even installed a pull-up bar during an especially ambitious period. I was eating healthy food and avoiding any beverage that wasn't water and so on. I don't remember if it made me legitimately happier, but I do remember that showers took a lot longer. It's just a lot more fun to wash a six-pack than it is a normal stomach, I mean. I'm probably the world's best at cleaning a six-pack.
But that all stopped three summers ago. I was playing basketball and dove after a loose ball. Some guy fell onto my knee and its innards exploded. I had to wear this awful full-length leg brace for a long time. Any time I moved, it hurt. Any time I breathed, it hurt. I think I ate cheesesteak sandwiches every day for the first week I wore it. It was all very sad. (I'm also probably the world's best at feeling sorry for myself.)
Outside of occasionally playing basketball and soccer, I haven't attempted to exercise regularly since then. I've avoided getting fat, but that's only because my genes make me naturally skinny. (The only three men in my family even slightly overweight are that way because of beer; their bellies are big and everything else is skinny. They look like Mexican ticks.) I figured I'd just always be in okay shape. But not now.
Last Friday, I was at Taco Cabana getting some unnecessary foodstuffs to put in my mouth. Nothing out of the ordinary went down. But then the drive-thru guy said something that rattled my brain.
He handed me my drink (red soda), he handed me my food (fajita cabana bowl), he offered me a smile (straight teeth) and then, in the most unintentionally devastating way, said, "See you tomorrow."
I don't know if he was being an asshole or trying to be polite or that's just what he says to every car, but whatevs. See you tomorrow? SEE YOU TOMORROW?! I played it over and over again in my head; after long enough, it sounded exactly the same as if he'd said, "Bye, you fat piece of shit" or "Fuck your mother." The guy at the Taco Cabana said fuck my mother to me and I didn't do anything at all. GODDAMNIT GODDAMNIT GODDAMNIT.
So now I'm running* again. Every day for all of eternity, guaranteed.
*I actually tried that Insanity workout program but it was too devastating. And there is a tiny Asian woman in there who completes each exercise without any visible signs of fatigue. She's like a tiny cyborg. I couldn't handle watching her covertly laugh at me every day. I quit that shit with a quickness.
The route I run is exactly two miles long, the turnaround point being a train track next to a third-tier recording studio inhabited by characters who like to spend a lot of time standing in the parking lot smoking cigarettes. It takes approximately 18:45 to go from start to end.
I have a cell phone that holds music because I am a human so I've made a playlist to make sure that I run it as hard and fast as my wobbly legs will carry me. The songs: