Recently, certain events involving dragon-breathed, unstable landowners and the wonderful old property that I was renting at the time necessitated a move. When we couldn’t find anything in downtown or midtown, we happened upon a place in a little post-WWII cottage neighborhood in an area not all that far from the University where I work. It’s an easy walk to groceries, and a library, and a park, so I’m pretty pleased, though I miss my garden. (I’ll be working on another one, soon.)
While we were breaking cheap bookcases and hauling the things I hadn’t been able to convince myself I don’t actually need (and I don’t), it became apparent that I was enjoying myself. Bearing these oddly-shaped weights back and forth on the ramp, up the stairs, made me feel strong and alive. Like I was capable and unstoppable (at least by boxes of kitchenware). It was very much like what I feel when battling my way through rapids in a raft.
One thing you should perhaps know for this story is the fact that I hate exercise. I hate the machines, I hate taking time out or waking up early, I hate running outside, I hate sit-ups (most of all), and I hate finding parking at the campus gym. I don’t seem to get the endorphins from normal exercise activities that other people do. I’m bored, and it hurts, and I’m done. So at the point when we were in the front yard after the worst of the moving, and I was telling John about the superhero-esque feelings I experience when lifting mattresses, he looked at me and said, “You like country exercise!” (As an aside I’ll say, I may not BE country, but I am FROM the country.)
It is true that I like to power things with my muscles. The elderly man next door laughed and asked how old I was when he saw me mowing the lawn with the cylinder hand reel mower. Too bad I don’t enjoy THAT country exercise! But anyway, now that I’m much, much closer to work, I got my bike repaired.
I used to ride my bike in Tuscaloosa, and I remember it in a rose-colored haze, holding onto the crispness of fall afternoons rolling over fallen leaves on a beautiful campus and all but forgetting the mad dash across Bryant Drive or the winter nights that hurt my fingers to the bone. So I got up this morning and biked to work for the first time in Mobile.
Of course, my campus, like all campuses, has inconceivable amounts of construction happening. And the orange fences, again of course, completely block my way along the side of campus from where my road meets the campus to the library where I work. Also, have you ever experienced morning in Mobile? I assure you that it is like nothing you’ve encountered before (unless you live in the tropics), because the mornings are not cool. And they are just as stinking humid as the rest of the day. !?!?
I still love the way the wind whips past when I am biking. It feels just the same as when I got my first 10 speed. And using my muscles to propel me home in a fashion that I don’t really think about being exercise is pretty cool, too. But in closing, I will be bringing a change of clothes with me, because I do not think the sweat-soaked look at 7:45am is really the thing for me.