(day 25)

I got to the gym this morning for the first of what I hope will be 6 or seven two-a-day workout days over break heading into next week’s final weigh in for my gym contest. And also so I can take my shirt off at pools or whatever over summer. I walked to my elliptical machine. Mine. Second from the right. All dudes at urinals unspoken rules are eschewed when it comes to this machine. If the other 4 are open but the one next to mine is not, I’m sidling right up to whoever that in place runner is and getting down to business. Somehow I feel like I trust it best. Whether I input difficulty level 13, 16, or 17 depending on what the day calls for, for whatever reason I feel like the give/resistance ratio is perfect for the simulated random hill workout I always choose and the calories lost data it presents me with is correct every time. I don’t understand exactly but it chose me after giving all the rest a twirl on the dance floor.


I usually watch History channel while I do my cardio. 20 minutes on my elliptical and 20 more on a bike. Mystery of some treasure island, Forged in Fire knife making, American Pickers, Ancient Aliens – all good stuff. Alas, today the TV on my machine wasn’t working. Black screen all channels. Oh well. I also always have my music. My Spotify playlist for the gym is called “Halpert”, rather, it’s “Halpert 2.0” after it got an upgrade. If you get it, you get it. So I turn that on and the vaguely British lady in my ear says, “power on” followed as always by, “bluetooth connected” sweet here we go, wait a second, “battery level, low.”


What?! I do quick mathematical equations with a brain for which such operational functions do not exist. The result I come up with is that I really hope there’s enough juice to get me through and then I can charge in between my two workouts. But for the first day of my rigorous break schedule this is a bummer of an omen. These Sony things have lasted about a year. I didn’t go top of the line. I never go top of the line I’m a single teacher with kids. But I didn’t go Fisher Price either. These were on sale for like 50 bucks I think. Over the last few months there were workouts where it would just skip songs constantly as if my little brother had the remote and would change the channel from behind the couch over and over so I thought it was the technology ghost. Then there was about a month straight where the power button would not work for shutting the thing off so I would just always have to bring it home and charge it. But those things seemed to have fixed themselves for the duration of this now 7 week (almost) contest, thankfully.


I measure my 20 minute increments by songs. I always make the menu take away the clock and stuff so I don’t focus on that. So it’s like 4 or 5 songs usually. Unless an epic number like Guns n Roses’ underappreciated masterpiece Estranged or Tripping Daisy’s very inspirational Prick. Then there are less song but more awesome. The machine tells me when 20 minutes have passed of course but I don’t want to know before then because I might dog it or whatever. It’s a mental thing. I get to my second song and it’s the following song. I am going to post it in here because as the song was finishing up, like 9 minutes into my day, the headphones died. Now I don’t usually “work blue” on my blogs here because it’s mostly teachers and I’m a’scared. In my usual writing I am more like a Dr Thompson. That is with the obscenity quantity, not writerly quality. When I write for me or catharsis it’s usually way more loose than I am here and, basically, more of a rip off of writers I admire who happen to swear and stuff.


I say this because the song I am posting here has adult words and content. Not safe for work, as the kids say. But I think it’s important to the heart of my Slice and I love it because I think the girls here are so talented and weird and artistic. The song is dark and so personally sad to me, yes, but ultimately uplifting and empowering and it means a lot. The beatbox guy is real good as far as beatbox guys go and I love love love this live version so you can skip about a minute in to miss the beatbox solo as it’s not actually part of the song.

So that song plays and my thing dies and the TV is blank and the first thing that runs through my head is this meme I saw a while back. For some reason I always remembered it as having the word “psychopath” in it but that’s probably just something I mentally added. I don’t mean to implicate anyone who works out with no headphones – this just resonated with me because I am such a die hard headphone guy when it comes to the gym. Or shoveling snow or cutting the grass or other lawn work.


So I am running on my elliptical with the echoes of that song ringing in my head and it is the power of a song that I was meaning to meditate on here. I was looking out the window across the parking lot of the strip mall my gym is in at the town’s water tower but also I was running along the water in California where I first became smitten slash obsessed with these girls and this song, and then I was driving driving always driving alone or alone in my head with this song playing through sunsets and rainstorms and other assorted chaos and nothingnesses blurring street lines and timelines and never really finding any type of destination or landing space.


Music helps the time go when you’re straining and pushing through robot-like. Now I was suddenly open and vulnerable. I could hear the metallic squeals and leaden thuds that were somehow equally clattery and dull. These are all sounds muted but felt when I have music playing. My ears were cooler, but the rest of me felt way less so. Get it? Because my tunes are so cool.


And all the other people. Yes, I am gym polite and realize others are around and stuff but when I’m doing the stuff they may as well not exist. Today, when my song-induced flashbacks of imagery and feeling were suddenly shattered it reminded me that even though most of the people milling about actually had their sonic sarcophaguses and were blocking me out, I could help but hear the grunts and dropped weights and actual conversations I didn’t even know were a part of that building. It gets a little weird. The piped in tunes shift from what I believe is the fabled Nickleback band to Daft Punk. I remember I used to have an old pair of ear buds in my gym bag but I remember quickly that when I switched over from Middle Guy’s old BMX backpack (it lit up on the pouch, so dope) to my daughter’s pink camo one as a gym bag last month, those ear buds did not make the cut.


I muscled through on the power of the memories of that great song and the need to stay with the plan and not let all the things that happened throw me off. I know what was happening. The pretend brother behind the couch was giving me excuses on the first day of the hard part of the 8 week challenge to cut things short and make the hard push tomorrow. And then tomorrow. And then never. But I made it happen. Got back and found that the old headphones wouldn’t take a charge on any of the 3 chargers I have that sometimes work. RIP. Off to Target. Round 2 commences in about 4 hours and I am never going through that again if I can help it!

2 thoughts on “Psychopath

  1. Great comparison between your malfunctioning bluetooth technology to your brother changing the channel aka the tech ghost! Also, I have to say that the meme in the middle had me busting out laughing! I don’t know how anyone does cardio, or cuts the grass, without headphones! Must be where the term “psychopath” pops in your head!!


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