10 Reasons Why

10 Things I Learned While Shame-Walking on the Treadmill Today

1. I really hate walking on the treadmill.

It’s not the treadmill’s fault. He’s really nice. It’s the concept of exercise overall. Back in the day, when I didn’t have to exercise, but actually had an abundance of energy to do it, I was much more accepting of this exercise business. It was actually fun to exercise, plotzing about, heaving things and waving my legs in the air. I actually wasted years of my life trying to stay in shape at a point when I didn’t need to do so. I clearly wasn’t looking at the big picture.

But now I am, from the other side of that mirror where I was naturally svelte and could eat 7 pizzas in one sitting without gaining an ounce. I need the energy I had at the fun time in my life to be transferred to my current situation. In fact, I demand it. I am formally requesting that the Exercise Gods give me official credit for all that energy I wasted in my Twenties and apply it to my now doughy and lifeless body. Like lay-away, yes?

Sigh. At the very least, I wish a wise personal trainer had walked up to me at the age of 22 and said, dude, you really don’t need to be doing this right now. If you don’t stop, you’re going to be so bored with exercise by the time you actually have to do it that there are going to be emotional issues that require you to blog about them.

2. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

I spent 5 minutes jabbing at every button on the treadmill console, growing increasingly frustrated that none of those taunting buttons were causing the treadmill to actually start moving. Every single button. I was on the verge of calling Obama and asking him if this was also part of his Healthcare Plan, when it dawned on me that there was actually one more button worth review. The one near where the power cord enters the base of the treadmill. The one that is bright red and can be seen from Venus. The one that says “ON/OFF”.

Things went swimmingly after that. I told the White House secretary that I didn’t really care to leave a message, and I hung up.

3. Cats are always the most interested in what you are doing at the moments when you least want them to be.

Just like when you forget to close the bedroom door when you want to engage in some slap and tickle, Scotch the cat came bounding into the middle of things to see what was going on. He was most invested in two things. First, the repetitive back-and-forth movement of my legs had him entranced. I’m not sure why this repetition was alluring, since it was rather boring to me after a few minutes. Perhaps something alarming and rhythmic had happened in his childhood? (And since he’s grown up with us, there’s no telling what we did at some point to cause this neurotica.)

Scotch got as close as he could to the edge of the treadmill without actual contact, then assumed the position which meant he was about to slice something to ribbons with his claws. To be honest, I did briefly consider ratcheting up the treadmill speed and letting him hop on, assuredly resulting in a startled yelp and an airborne feline achieving launch. This would be a learning experience for him, and a satisfying moment of jocularity for me.

But I softened, and I instead resorted to firmly barking “NO!” in his direction until he figured out I was talking to him, that I apparently did not care for his planned maneuver, and that he should prance into the other room to sulk and contemplate revenge.

He was back in roughly 3 seconds. Now he was fixated on determining the cause of the whirring noise emitting from underneath the treadmill. The faceless creature that lived under there was surely of interest, and might even be tasty. So now paws were being poked into potentially violent, dismembering areas, and I had the challenge of maintaining my balance and breathing levels while dissuading Scotch from ending his own life as a side result of Daddy being fat. Eventually, a leaf fell in the front yard, and Scotch lost all interest in my mechanical monster as he raced to see who had dared to invade his proclaimed territory.

4. The time-space continuum is entirely dependent on your level of happiness.

Why is it that a 30-minute sitcom can whiz by in mere seconds, but thirty minutes on a treadmill can feel longer than flying to Paris? In coach. With a crappy movie playing, a family of spasmatics in the row in front of you doing everything they can to rip their seats out of the floor, and a flight attendant who insists on ramming that stupid cart into your knee every time you glance away? It’s just not right.

5. It’s hard to remain hydrated when you don’t have the right equipment.

You’re supposed to keep water nearby when exercising, taking petite sips now and then to keep you from drying out and blowing away. A sports bottle is recommended, and we have a few. I just don’t know where they are and I didn’t have the desire to track them down, because I was already doing one thing I didn’t want to do, why increase the pain? So I just got a regular drinking glass, half-filled it with water, and set it on a table that I could reach.

This was a bad call.

I’m sure some people can successfully retrieve refreshing liquid from a drinking glass whilst their legs are pounding along on a treadmill. I am not one of those people. That water was everywhere but in my mouth. Even when using both hands and my tongue to support the glass, I still got the water in my hair. I shoved the empty glass back on the table, hating it with intense passion.

Then I spied the liquor cabinet, also in reach. This thing was filled with enticing, slender-tipped bottles. All I had to do was pop the neck of the bottle into my mouth and guzzle away. Just like a sports bottle! And it would certainly improve my mood. But alas, I resisted temptation and just kept walking, my throat so dry I was afraid to cough lest my head should explode.

6. There are these little workout arms that you can use to pretend that you are cross-country skiing or picking up litter with one of those stick poles. This is supposed to increase your calorie burn.

I didn’t even touch them.

7. I no longer have control of my own body.

There are also support arms on both sides of the treadmill, so you can keep your balance during moments of instability. Apparently this applies to the entire session for me. Every time I let go of the things and tried to walk nonchalantly, as if I were just out for a stroll among the neighborhood crack houses, my legs would go completely insane and I would lunge all over the rolling mat, convinced that the treadmill was going to slam my head into the concrete behind us.

Really? Have I gotten that bad? God.

8. Sweat is not my friend.

I’m the first to admit that sometimes sweat is erotic, like when it’s dripping off the hairy chest off a muscled cowboy who wants to check my spurs. But most of the time, sweat has little appeal. Included in the non-fun category is sweat generated whilst walking on a fake moving sidewalk. Not a fan. Especially when you forget to bring along a handy towel and the saltiness is now blinding you while an inquisitive feline is trying rip your kneecaps open. Nope, the only time I want to sweat is when I’m having sex or I’m moving new furniture into my house. That’s it.

9. I no longer require cute workout clothing.

Back in that wasted day when I worked out pointlessly, I always had matching little outfits that were flattering and coordinated. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my workout couture actually had fringe and a Liza Minnelli wristband. If anyone in that day ever questioned my sexuality, all they had to do was look in my gym bag. Case solved.

Now? I don’t care what I work out in. Today, for example? I walked in the door, ripped off my work clothes, fed the cat some mildly-tranquilizing kibble, and jumped on the treadmill wearing dress socks and boxer shorts. Sexy, eh?

10. Getting off the treadmill requires another set of skills that I don’t have.

Even though you might be living for the second when you have served your time and can turn off the treadmill, it’s not a completely euphoric moment. Immediately, there’s this decompression feeling as the treadmill stops, even though your body feels like it’s still moving. The simple step from treadmill to actual floor is rife with peril and calamity. Your legs feel like noodles, even though you were just using them, as if you’ve been transported from one dimension to another and something went a bit wonky while Scotty beamed you up.

So there I am, staggering around like I’ve been doing tequila shots all night at a skanky bar where everybody is too happy and clothing has become optional. All I want to do is get away from this treadmill that has been sucking the life out of me. I’m just about to escape from the room when I nearly lose my footing, again, on a stupid step that somebody decided to build right there. (Oh wait, we did that.) I clear that last obstacle, pause briefly to wonder whatever happened to that Liza Minnelli wristband, and then I slap off the light.

My last glimpse of the Death Machine is a golden tail sticking out from under it, as Scotch takes advantage of my departure to stalk the whirring demon who lives under The Thing That Makes Daddy Cuss and Grunt…


Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 01/11/11 and “Bonnywood Manor” on 06/24/16 (thus explaining the archaic Obama reference that I was too lazy to remove). Slight changes made, but let’s be honest, nothing can fully erase the shame…


39 replies »

  1. I certainly would not have to coordination to drink from a glass and walk a treadmill at the same time, so I feel your pain. In fact, I barely have to coordination to walk in a straight line normally, so you are an athlete of Greek God proportions as far as I’m concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And if you think the trade I’ll is bad ,try an elliptical machine……..not only you loose the control of your body ,mind and dignity but you also become suddenly religious and start praying Doctor who phoneboot will appears for teletransporting you anywhere but away from that hell.🤣

    Liked by 3 people

  3. BWAHAHAHHAHA!!! Oh my gawd. To be clear: I’m laughing WITH you, not at you. Okay then. Dress socks and boxer shorts? Um. Okay. I’m widowed now and live alone in a purely female based environment. Huny is a girl. And the subject of boxer shorts has never crossed my mind since hubby toddled off this planet and went to where ever it is all good truckers go after they die. But in the day, hubby refused repeatedly to wear boxer shorts. Said the ‘boys’ would hang out one leg or the other, getting ball sweat (which is a real thing) on his thigh and making everything itch. Scratching one’s balls in public is verboten, even if one is a trucker. Although sometimes when he got home again, the noise emanating from behind the bathroom door would alarm everyone in the whole house. And the times I watched him scratching his balls would make me wonder if he didn’t enjoy that more than he did sex. I digress. Badly. But my rambling does have a point…to whit: If you wear boxer shorts versus whitey tighties or tighty whities or whatever they call those genital and butt hugging white underwear affairs; don’t YOUR boys bounce and jounce and hurt themselves bobbling about when you are on the treadmill (see? told ya I had a point)? Seems a further danger to your self esteem and well being to wear boxers while trying to trot on the machine of death.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So many responses come to mind with your comment, but I’ll limit them to two: One, Hubby was right. Boxer shorts do not provide any support whatsoever. But since I was still employed at the time, and required to wear dress slacks, I had to go the boxer shorts route or I would have serious pantylines. (The seams on men’s tighty whities are much thicker than the delicate finery of women’s panties; whilst wearing somewhat tight dress slacks, Sarah Palin can see those seams from Russia.) Two, you are correct in your assessment that the whities (or preferably a jock strap) are better than the boxers whilst treading the mill. I nearly gave myself a black eye…


      • Hahahahhhahahaaaa!!! Oh my gawd. I probably should have noted that I have this wicked, deep chest cough right now (that go%$@#!! cold/pneumonia/flu whatever the %$@# won’t LEAVE), and I almost died laughing at your response; because it set off a very long coughing/hacking episode. Huny was not amused, as her dialing 911 skills are limited and if I were dead, who would fill the kibble bowl? Hubby had, er, sagging issues as well and it used to crack me up horribly. Nature, however, is an equal opportunity sadist and got me back for laughing at the saggy boys. My girls have followed suit and I don’t run anywhere any longer, not just because I CAN’T, but because of that whole black eye scenario….. *snicker*….oh my here we go again!! ROFLMAO…*koff koff HACK koff..* 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have finally decided to get rid of the treadmill that has been gathering dust in our dining room for close to 10 years. I feel like I am acknowledging both my age and the fact that I hate that damn machine (and it hates me). If I am to stay fit, it will be through other means. Don’t know if this is good or bad. It just is. Sweat is overrated.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I now have a troubling image of the aging Liza in full Cabaret attire complete with bowler hat and those tremendous eyelashes that Malcolm McDowell donated when he’d tired of being a Droog wrestling with a golden cat …. this without so much as setting foot on a treadmill. Never have, never will. Tequila on the other hand …. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perfect image. By the way and totally unrequited, “Cabaret” was my fave movie during a critical period in my formative years. I still know almost all the words in every song. Unfortunately, this skill has not garnered me the fame and riches that I imagined it would…

      Liked by 1 person

      • The best of movies for such critical moments (I believe I can imagine what it may have been) …. by the by, have you read ‘Goodbye to Berlin’ – Christopher Isherwood’s wonderful novel on which the musical was based? And even further … I knew I’d met the right one when ‘Maybe This Time’ was being played by a saxophonist in the underground station at Green Park as I walked away from him, first kiss still moist on my lips after our first date ….

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I have dined on “Goodbye to Berlin” a number of times, both before I could fully understand it and after I did, but I have never experienced the sublime joy of having a saxophonist underscore a pivotal personal moment. I am jealous and envious and inspired and still dreaming and totally enraptured with your last line…

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Did you see the recent article that said whether or not you enjoy exercise can be traced back to your gym class experience. If it was negative — who had a positive experience in gym class? — then you no doubt hate exercise.
    Dig deep, Brian. Tell us how you really feel. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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