The Tale Of A Musically Dependent Exerciser

One of my greatest fears was realized this morning. In the pitch black, freezing cold (okay, the sun was halfway up and Bay Area temperatures rarely drops below 50), I sprinted from my car to the gym and made a horrifying discovery along the way.

Reaching into the pocket of my worn out Puma hoodie, I found nothing but a tissue and my janky hot pink headphones ($4.99 at Walgreens!). I stopped dead in my tracks and shook my fist at the sky in disbelief and horror (I just swore quietly at no one like the crazy old lady in your local supermarket). I’d committed the one fatal early-morning error I vowed never to commit.

I’d forgotten my iPhone.

Lifeblood! Supplier of music, fountain of strength! Who would ever contemplate a cardio session without a steady flow of pop and hip hop pounding in their ears? What kind of psycho mounts a treadmill unattached to the security blanket of a familiar Flo Rida jam?

Sure, I thought about turning around and admitting defeat. But, no—not today! I would no longer allow Britney and her minions to dictate my cardiovascular health. Beyonce had no business serving as my only fitness motivation. And visions of LMFAO pounding shots simply could not serve as the silver lining to an otherwise dismal cloud of sweat and tears (just for the record, I rarely produce real tears at the gym—just figurative ones).

I strode through the entrance, swiped my membership card and stared longingly at each set of earbuds nesting snugly in every exerciser’s ears. What were they listening to? A little ‘SexyBack’? Or maybe they preferred their Timberlake aged, like a fine wine—ah yes, a bit of ‘Tearin’ Up My Heart’ would make for a good jog. Sigh.

I climbed aboard a harmless looking treadmill. As luck would have it, all the machines stubbornly faced the wall. The wall! I couldn’t even people watch? What good was my life? But I refused to back down.

I started the belt. My initial instinct was to simulate the iPhone experience. I tried conjuring up Ke$ha, but I couldn’t get past the same three seconds of ‘Blow.’ Ke$ha on a constant loop does not a good run make.

I stared up at the three TV screens, positioned at a problematic angle atop the blank wall. Each one silently (silently!) screened music videos from MTV’s college network, mtvU. Look gym TV, some of us are old, ancient grad students, okay! We’re not all down with the hip, college-y hits!

Frustrated by my geriatric obliviousness, I turned back to the blank wall. Okay, this wasn’t so bad. 3 minutes were already up! “No, no, stop it,” I told myself. “Don’t look at the clock, you idiot, that only makes matters worse.”

My mind wandered from what to eat for breakfast to what I hadn’t done for class to that amazing episode of Top Model I watched last night—Tyra, you never fail to bring the crazy and I love you for it. I wondered if Zooey, Sophia and Molly read the entirety of HelloGiggles every day and look for new best friends among the pool of contributors. I worried briefly about everything wrong in the world and then quickly realized all anxieties were better dealt with off of a moving mechanism. I went back to breakfast items. Greek yogurt’s the greatest, isn’t it?

And suddenly, it was over. I’d done it—I’d completed a workout with no beat or rhythm to rely on! I’d conquered one of my most massive fears and it hadn’t been nearly as torturous as I’d anticipated. But isn’t that always the case? That we inflate our dread to nightmarish proportions until the fantasy is so much worse than the reality? Does this mean I can resign myself to a future of tranquil, silent gym sessions dedicated to personal reflection and serenity?

Yeah, no, I’m taping my iPhone to my hand from now on.

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