Thursday, February 23, 2012

"I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting."*

       Good grief, moving is stressful, especially when you’re as lazy as I am and put everything off until the last possible minute. I reek of bleach (cleaning) and paint (finishing up my table project before I go. Progress report and pictures to follow). And compounding matters is the raucous pain in my calves from the thing I did on Sunday (that’s right: four days ago): The Santa Monica Stairs.

        So, Los Angeles is really a funny city sometimes, and I’m sure any visitor from another country would probably look at this city and say, “What the hell happened here?”

        For instance, before I moved to LA, I had no idea how fat I was. In Omaha, I’m rather fit. And that’s not to say Omaha’s a fat people city, but you can be over 110 lbs and still be considered attractive there.

        But people here take their exercise very seriously. Sure, people surf because it’s fun, but mostly they surf so they can look super hot when they go clubbing. And there are beautiful hiking trails in the mountains all over town, but do you think people are there to take in the views? Hell no! They’re running up the side of the mountain to stay fit so they can hit auditions in top form. (As far as "camping in the desert" is concerned, I'm 98% sure people just say they do that so they sound cool but never actually "camp" but rather hit up Coachella and call it a year.)
The view from Runyon Canyon.

        One time Ron (my roommate for two more days) took me hiking at Runyon Canyon—on the hard side where the serious hikers go to stay cut, not the side that hurts enough but not too much. Now, I exercise nearly every day and I’d say I’m in pretty decent cardiovascular shape, but I thought I was going to die in Runyon Canyon that day. I lay on a stump on the side of the mountain and tried to catch my breath and hold back waves of vomit while Ron sprinted up the next hill. Meanwhile women with waists the size of my thigh and men with pecs much larger than my breasts jogged past me and tried to hide their pity.

        Okay, so I’m never doing that again.

        But on Sunday I went to the Santa Monica Stairs. And it was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever experienced. Here we were, a bunch of grown-ass adults of all shapes and sizes (but mostly toned shapes and sizes) walking up this long, steep staircase on the right side and then coming down on the left. It was like the whole town was on one big stair-stepper together. If someone was breathing too close to my behind, I merely moved farther over so they could jog past as I hauled my booty up the stairs.
People hauling ass up the Santa Monica Stairs.

        It was so distinctly American, somehow. Can you imagine anyone behaving in such a manner in France or Japan? There was no view aside from whatever ass happened to be in your face. There was no cultural significance, just an opportunity to sweat your butt off in the great outdoors for all the other hard bodies to see. It was kind of strange and awful and awesomely Los Angeles at the same time.

        Needless to say, I didn’t make it up and down too many times. I managed two and a half before I thought I would die. And yeah, maybe I’m not in super great shape after all.

        But here I am, four days later with calves that still burn so bad it's hard to walk. It’s better than it was. The first few nights, whenever I woke up to pee, I would forget for a minute and nearly fall on my face because my legs weren’t working right.

        It’s too bad exercise isn’t accumulative, or I’d be super ripped by now.

        And as I sign off, I warn that I’ll most likely be incommunicado for a couple of days because I’m moving Saturday. I wish I hadn’t finished the last of Downton Abbey tonight, because now I have no idea how to entertain myself while packing…

*Mark Twain, that cheeky bastard.

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