The Continuing Adventures of Little Squirrel and his Personal Trainer
As some of you may know, I've been working out with a trainer named Matchitehew for about $2000 now, and have experienced virtually no improvement in my physical fitness. This entire experiment in health has been humiliating, painful and traumatic, one that has however, had the unexpected benefit of turning me into an "avoidance Ninja."
As I am keen of the brain, I have learned to exploit the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of my master in order to avoid working-out. Although I am physically weak, Matchitehew--who is strong in body and grating native-speak-- is lonely and depressive, pining over Crystal, his ex. And so, I would always make a point of engaging him in conversation about his romantic life in order to avoid crunches or lunges or whatever demon activity he had in mind.
Pursuing this reasoning, I tried to get him out into the dating field-- going so far as to set him up with a friend, and later after that failed--helping him to write a profile on Plenty of Fish:
Silence of the Loins
I am a 31 year-old father of two, and since my separation have found myself lonely, in need of somebody I can talk to and experiment upon. I am a six-footer, a professional trainer who is built like a beautiful tree and has long, black hair that smells of pumpkin and courage. I can do the The Plank for four days, as I have learned to control my bladder and other bodily functions in ways that many consider erotic.
Let me be the wind in your hair and the moon whisper that takes you to lands of ecstasy. If you drum for me I will hear, and I will come to you.
No smokers, please.
Unfortunately, none of this worked, which led to the odd and unexpected moment when Matchitehew asked me if I would participate in a threesome with his ex and him. It was the only way he could win her back he said, as she was a "sexual adventurer," and "because obviously, I would not feel sexually threatened by a man like you. You would be perfect."
After I told Matchitehew that I wouldn't be interested in a threesome, things got weird there for a while. For about two months, we both managed to fabricate excuses to cancel our training sessions before we finally bumped into one another on the street just before a subway entrance.
Me: "Hey, you."
(Awkward moment or two while buses passes.)
Match: "You look good, like you've been continuing with The Cobra."
Me: "I have, you taught me well."
And then I looked down, embarrassed by the silence between us.
Match: "Little Squirrel, you deserve better from me. I will show up on Tuesday to help you-- if you will have me back-- and we will make you strong! You will be not like the squirrel, but like a city raccoon, fearless!"
Sheepish, but weirdly happy, I agreed, and then we gave one another a high-five.
But still, we must have found the residue of the situation awkward, for we continued to fabricate excuses to miss our appointments for another three weeks, and then one day, unexpectedly, Matchitehew just showed up.
I remember, I was eating Pad Thai.
As if nothing had happened and his sudden presence was normal, he started up my workout routine again. Startled, I did exactly as I was told, resisting any temptation to inquire into his romantic life. It was professional, and after another $500 or so worth of training had passed, for the first time since our program started, I felt that I had begun to make some progress. Throwing-up was becoming an irregular occurrence and my confidence was growing. I actually got to the point where I was looking forward to the improvements our sessions promised.
Instead of talking about how lonely he was to pass the time while I did what I was told, Matchitehew now talked about outer space, and how freaky it was.
"It goes on forever, it is without beginning or end."
"Like some movies," I joked.
He showed me a photograph from the Hubble Telescope that he kept on his iPhone.
"No, not like a movie. Squirrel, it is time for you to go to outer space. We will now go outside and run! You are ready!"
Of all things, I do believe that I hate running the most.
"You will be able to do it. You're stronger now, let's go."
And so we ran, for perhaps seven minutes, and when I expired and fell to the ground, I felt a certain satisfaction.
Matchitehew helped me up and when I regained my breath and wiped some brown and green material off my hands, I noticed that we were in front of Jilley's strip club.
Matchitehew looked at me.
"It is a sign. Your spirit guide has led you here. We must go in."
We sat down near the stage and ordered a couple of beers.
"Michael, you must watch these athletes, watch how they train using the pole. If you come to my place, we can train with the pole and your core strength will increase dramatically."
"I don't want to pole dance," I protested, "it sounds kind of, you know, for girls."
"Those push-ups you do, are they for girls?"
"Girls are strong and beautiful, look, look at this one up on the stage. Do you see how she is what we all must become?"
I did not know what he was talking about.
"She has a very even tan," I agreed.
"She is both the white swan and the black swan, do you understand what your spirit guide is trying to say to you?" He signaled for two tequila shooters. "You are being told that you can be more than you are, that there is more in you."
"I thought Black Swan was a shitty movie."
"Maybe it was just too true for you."
"No, it was shitty."
The stripper, now off stage after having performed to Empire State of Mind, was making her way from table to table. She arrived at our booth and speaking in a coarse Russian accent, asked, " You two queer, or you like the pussy?"
I noticed a nicotine patch on her back.
" Squirrel, this is the moment your whole life has been moving toward. Let us go behind the curtain, and investigate the opportunity that is presented to us."
"For the two of you, it will be eighty bucks, and no tongue."
Neon flickering upon an unnaturally tanned body, the scent of coconut oil-- as if blown by a fan off the stage-- and a little white towel slung over her shoulder.
"Come on, are you sitting in the fag section or not?" she prompted.
"I'm sitting in the "I'm engaged to be married" section," I countered.
"You are fag," and then she looked over at Matchitehew, "you are specimen of man, you come with me."
And then he got up and followed her, while I sat there awkwardly listening as the DJ enthused for us to put our hands together for Crystal, for Crystal, who stomped gracelessly out onto the stage already completely naked, a tattoo of a wolf pack encircling her lady region, as "Country Strong" by Gwyneth Paltrow played.