Ray and I decided, about a month ago, to start going to a gym. It isn't one of those fancy gyms with all the young hard bodies. It is a gym at our neighborhood recreation center and it has a bunch of machines and big windows that look out over a playground and a neighborhood and, right now, a fading flower bed and glorious red and gold trees. It is never very busy and you can always get a treadmill. Most of the people there look about like us and we nearly always see a very old man in a stocking cap who comes in and lifts weights furiously and then peddles a stationary bike like a demon out of hell, then shuffles out the door and down the sidewalk. He is amazing. My main thing is the treadmill. I walk for about 30 minutes, then I might try the rowing machine or one of the ab crunchy machines for a bit. But mostly it is the treadmill. And it is boring. Really boring.
In an effort to make it less boring I tried reading as I walked. I have seen others reading, but it just didn't work for me. My head bobs up and down too much and turning the pages is awkward and it's really hard to find and keep the sweet spot in my glasses that brings the print into focus while doing all this. So I turned to my phone. You know there is going to be an app for boring, right? Podcasts. That's the app. I found podcasts of The Moth Radio Hour and now I walk on the treadmill, with my earphones plugged into my phone and I listen to the Moth as I walk. The 30 minutes is like nothing. It flies.
If you are not familiar with The Moth, it is a public radio show of live storytelling events. The stories tend to be around 20 minutes long, give or take, and they are told by all kinds of people about all kinds of things. Some are extremely funny, some thought-provoking and some are sad. Many are both funny and sad. You can find episodes on The Moth web site here or you can download podcasts to your phone or other device. They are great. I sometimes find myself laughing out loud, or smiling a lot. The other day I must admit I felt a tear slip down my cheek as I listened to the one called "Perfect Moments" found here. I pretended it was sweat.
I never understood, and probably never will understand how people become addicted to exercise, or even claim to love it. I know it is good for me and I will do, but I will never really enjoy it. But a good story is, for me, pure enjoyment. I can bear the one if I can have the other at the same time.