Dave has his own blog - very cool.
Here is the latest entry - Wednesday, January 12, 2011
1 - Draper here... Like I Said Five Years Ago, We Press On
It was Monday morning and I was slouched at my desk poking with my
fork at an open can of sardine filets. Been a long time since these
little guys splashed around in the ocean, I thought. I gave myself a D
for posture, sat up and arched my back into a tight contraction. Feels
good to straighten, stretch and contract. Sardines are good for you,
did you know that? Omega-3 oil, high in protein, no carbs, smelly and
not too appetizing. I like the crunchy little bones. Oops! Slouching
again, another D. What time is it, anyway?
Time for another cup of coffee. I wonder if coffee and sardines are a
bad mix. I know they're not a good mix, like tuna and water, but are
they bad? You know, like, do they produce enzyme malfunctions or
corrupt hormonal activity when they're combined? Is the protein
neutralized by the caffeine or do the omega-3s turn rancid and become
triglycerides? Coffee and Danish pastry go well together. I love
Danish pastry. I haven't had a piece of Danish since I was a kid
living at home... sixteen, maybe. I wonder if it tastes the same. Huh,
45 years and no Danish.
Still raining. Going on three weeks. It's been raining for so long
that I'm getting into it. The world gets small. The darkness and the
haze limit the distance you can see and the blue sky is gone, cloaked
in grey and brooding clouds. You go out only when you must, to run
errands, go to work, the gym, church... wherever... and you mostly
look down, or from the underside of an umbrella if you're with your
wife or girlfriend. Guys don't use umbrellas, unless they're business
guys, which I am not. No wingtips and knee-high socks, though I do
have a couple of ties and a jacket somewhere.
The indoors is where it's at. The crackling, flickering hearth is the
center of attraction with Laree and me alternately feeding the fire
according to its appetite. It's warm, comfortable, alluring, hopeful
and alive. Homemade soups and stews nourish the body, heal the wounds
and soothe the spirit. Shelter takes on new meaning and you're
grateful to be living, breathing, working and protected.
The gym, always a refuge, becomes a special place away from your digs.
It's good to mingle, hear your voice among other voices and bear the
struggle of unkind and peculiar weather with like creatures—friends,
indeed. Between sets I go to the gym's open back door to peer at the
rain and inhale the fresh wet air. Very nice. I don't gaze too long
'cuz I don't want to lose my rhythm or body warmth or pump or
concentration or favorite bench. The rain's nice, but not that nice.
Fewer people make it to the gym when the wet weather moves in. Traffic
slows down, wet clothing, hair and feet are uncomfortable, and, like I
said, the world becomes small. And inconvenient. The gym seems far
away; into a hooded slicker, out the front door, beyond the gloom,
through the downpour, puddles and mud and across the flooded
intersections. Cars are slipping and sliding, and who can see out the
windshield in weather like this? It's confusing and messy. Wipers and
heaters and defrosters work overtime. The carwash is empty. So are the
swings, barbeque pits, street corners, park benches and jogging paths.
A little lonely, you can feel it. Just you and yourself.
Ah! A good group: serious, dedicated, appreciative; industrious,
willing and able. They're getting their money's worth, investing in
their health, wasting no time and increasing their personal wealth.
They're working out. This is entertainment at its best—beneficial,
exclusive and confidential. Nothing like a little active privacy and
treasure hunting on a rainy day, that's what I always say. It may or
may not cross their minds, but somewhere in their consciousness they
know they are where they belong, safe and sound and dry and pumped,
and it's teeming outside. The black afternoon sky is emptying itself
and they're doing chins and bentover rows. Ha. I mean, the power could
go out, lightning could strike or the forceful wind could blow off the
roof, yet here we are, the intrepid few. I'd hang onto a 50-pound
dumbbell if I were you.
I'm into my workout. How much I lift isn't as important as the very
fact that I'm lifting in the powerful and secure confines of the
darn-near-sacred gym. I move the iron with a different effort that
arises from a palette of multiple strengths, desires and needs. Desire
is the predominant factor affecting the shape and outcome of the
action before me.
The music and clang and shuffling bodies don't compete with the hush
that prevails. The symptoms of the weather have become almost
endearing and penetrate the edges of our minds and souls. We need the
rain, the water that gives life. I hate droughts. You won't see me
moving to the moon any time soon.
I find a corner of the gym and practice side-arm lateral raises. This
once-favorite shoulder movement had been relegated to the exercise
junkyard after a dumb accident disconnected my right infraspinatus, an
important rotator cuff support mechanism. Since that fateful day 30
years ago, the shoulders, the poor mutts, have had to eat scraps and
work hard for their run on the beach. Today, prompted by a calm
thoughtfulness and nostalgia resulting from the confinement of
inclement weather, I decide to revisit the long-lost friend. I'm in
the mood for discovery, or re-discovery, as the case may be.
Just to assume the starting position—slightly crouched with the
dumbbells held fixed and ready before me—and exert the outward and
upward action with that particular shoulder contraction at the peak
would be enough, no matter how light the resistance. I start with five
pounds and exact the movement. 30 years later and I feel a chill of
rebirth. I know that groove, like an old song when I was happy and
growing up with my buds. How does it go again? I go to the 10s, brace
my body and retrace the groove. At 10 reps I'm burning and pumping and
singing in the rain. Draper's smiling.
I grab the 15-pounders like they were my third and final attempt at
setting a new world record: tense, deliberate, prepared for the high
risk, yet confident with hope and faith and need. I can do it. With
extraordinary focus, rep upon rep I fight my way to another stunning
10 reps. The muscle activity is real, the pump and burn are not
imaginary and I devour the encouragement.
The telltale twang on the last reps didn't scare me, but gave me kind
warning. Be smart, bomber known for making crash landings in dangerous
territory. Go slowly. Build up and support the area surrounding the
absent spinatus muscle to permit further action, heavier weight,
tighter contraction, greater overload and enable the delts to assume
the proportions and consistency of watermelons... um... make that
cantaloupes. Grapefruits? Two more sets with the 15s and we'll sneak
up on the reluctant exercise over the next months. I'll need to
fashion a new groove.
I'm singing and dancing in the rain.
There are four of us standing at the back door, none of us fighting to
get out first. The rain is inviting, but wet nonetheless. We agree the
miserable weather conditions are good for the dry landscape and our
spoiled-rotten nature. We're done here today, thank God, and better
prepared for tomorrow. Not one is taller than the other, race and
gender don't matter and any one of us would carry the other if he or
she asked. We're in this together.
See ya later... stay dry... don't slip on the stairs. The days are
getting longer, ya know... less than three months to spring...