By Michael Murray | Think Pieces | December 17, 2010 |
By Michael Murray | Think Pieces | December 17, 2010 |
I’ve decided that working out with a Personal Trainer is an awful lot like suffering through some form of fraternity hazing. In my experience, there’s an abundance of vomiting, public humiliation and Boss-Man behavior, including Matchitehew, my instructor, calling me Chipmunk, as if I were his feeble Pledge-Slave.
About a month ago I almost lost my shit.
Let me explain.
My workouts are comprised of two parts.
The first half takes place outdoors, where strangers and neighbors can see me cry, and the final half takes place in my apartment, where nobody can see me cry and where I can fabricate all sorts of excuses for delaying doing what I’m told to do.
“Oh, I have to check my email!”
“Oh, I promised to feed my neighbor’s cat!”
“Oh, I have to release some documents onto WikiLeak!”
Stuff like that.
Anyhow, knowing that the worst of my workout is over, it’s with a measure of relief that I trudge up the fire escape to do the final indoor portion. However, a few weeks ago, having just made it up the stairs and breathlessly fumbling with the key to get in the apartment, Matchitehew, from the foot of the fire escape said, “You must come down and do it again.”
I was so demoralized I nearly melted, and since I couldn’t breathe, I was unable to tell him to go fuck himself. Instead, like the robot he is trying to make me, I did as I was told. He handed me his backpack, which must have been filled with cannonballs, and commanded, “Carry this while you do the stairs, Chipmunk.”
While I was plodding up and down the stairs carrying my master’s belongings, I saw my neighbor, looking kind of confused, watching through his window. I tried to wave, but weakened, just sort of pawed at the air.
The next day I explained to Joe that he’d seen me in the midst of a workout.
“Oh,” he said, ” cool. I thought you guys were stoned.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Yeah, you looked as if you were in some sort of trance, just doing the same thing over and over again, like you were high on Ecstasy or something.”
And so it’s come to this.
After all the effort, money and hatred I’ve put into this project, there’s been no discernible improvement in my fitness, and now my neighbors think I have an afternoon drug problem, too.
And then about two weeks ago, after the black-hearted bastard I pay to destroy my life had made me run until I wept, he commanded me to do about a thousand squats, “Chipmunk, if you focus your mind on this, your tears will stop—it will calm you down and your panic will cease. “
And because I am scared of this man, I tried to comply, but almost immediately, I began to see a galaxy of stars and spots.
Between panicked gasps of air, I managed to convey this.
“It is good. It means that the toxins and weaknesses are being cast out of your body.”
“I feel all swimmy.”
“Give me ten more.”
At this point, drifting between realms, I saw four squirrels come up to where I was wobbling. They just stood there, watching, as if it was their plan to drag me away when I expired.
“Are Squirrels carnivores?” I whispered.
Matchitehew put his hand on my shoulder.
“Do not fear the Squirrels, for they are your friends and new Spirit Guides. You are no longer a Chipmunk, but through your hard work have ascended to the ranks of a Squirrel, that is why they are here, to welcome you into your new tribe.”
And then I threw up.
As we headed home, me in a fog, I managed to overhear Matchitehew speaking with somebody through his Bluetooth.
“No, the date did not go well. I fear that on-line dating might not be for me. It is difficult in this city to find somebody who shares the same values that I do, somebody who understands the real Matchitehew. It has been a long time since I shared intimacy with a woman. I miss Crystal, she was my soul mate.”
My trainer was lonely.
I had just found my edge.
And now, in order to distract Mathcitehew from making me exercise, I’ve been peppering him with questions about his romantic life. He’s been surprisingly chatty about this, and while scrolling through photos of some of my single friends, he seemed positively excited to get back out there and take a chance on love.
“She, the blonde in the black dress, she looks like a good spirit. “
“Yes, she has a pair of very good spirits,” I said.
I began to tell him a little bit about her but he stopped me, “No, I want to find out everything for myself,” and then he smiled, ” Squirrel, I think that the spirits have brought us together for a reason. Will you arrange a date for me and this lady?”
I complied, but unfortunately the date did not go well.
My friend left me this voice mail: “I HATED HIM! HE COULDN’T STOP STARING AT MY TITS, SMELLED LIKE THAT CRAP I HAD TO DRINK WHEN I DID THAT LIVER CLEANSE, AND SHOWED ME HIS WOLF TATTOO—ON HIS FUCKING STOMACH—WHILE WE HAVING DRINKS IN THE BAR! YOU ARE SUCH A DINK, MURRAY!”
Matchitehew canceled our next training session, and when he eventually returned, he was depressed, entirely indifferent as to whether I did one more set of lady push-ups or not. I ended up having to encourage him to push me.
“Come on Matchitehew, just make me do a few more! I can do it!”
But instead of seizing this motivational opportunity, he just sighed, “Last night I rented The English Patient. It was our movie,” he said softly, “it will always remind me of Crystal, the only person I could ever let get close enough to call me Matty.”
At this point I arose from the difficult Corpse position I had been in, and poured him a Bourbon, whereupon I discovered that Matchitehew is a father to two daughters, and that he is still in love with their mother, Crystal. Unfortunately, she was going through a bit of a “wild time,” and “seeing other men, sometimes many in one night.”
I nodded my head the way my therapist nods at me.
“Why do you think this is?” I asked.
“Crystal says that it’s because I am not an intimacy-adventurer, and that if I want to be with her I will have to expand my thinking.”
“She wants a threesome.”
“And I have told her about you. How I have helped you, and how you, in turn, have helped me to deal with my feelings, and she is curious to meet you. She thinks you sound smart.”
I nodded again, “I did skip grade three, so I guess I am pretty smart.”
Matchitehew held my gaze for nearly a minute, and then he slowly leaned forward and took a sip of his Bourbon. Scratching my Miniature Dachshund behind her ear, I looked blankly back at him.
“You could come to my place for our sessions,” he said.
He continued to look at me.
“It would be good for your fitness, little Squirrel, and I now know that you are a friend to me and would like to help Crystal and I find the love we once knew. You are the people person such a relationship would require.” He took another sip of his drink, ” And because obviously, I would not feel sexually threatened by a man like you. You would be perfect.”