This is a suburban status report because the cottage is a wrap for 2020. That means we are now entering the phase of ‘things I’m pretty sure I forgot to bring home.’ These things reveal themselves slowly and it will likely take the entirety of winter for them to make themselves fully known. The upside is, it does provide something else to complain about during the long, dark, cold, days and nights yet to come. So far, I am missing a roll of parchment paper, a cookbook, and a pair of socks. The other side of this coin is what I refer to as ‘the homeward march of the condiments.’ Currently crammed into my suburban fridge are five bottles of mustard, more Frank’s sauce than a wing joint could use in a month, and an almost full jar of mayonnaise that threatens to expire next month. There are also a bazillion bags of potato chips now littering the top of my fridge. I know, chips are not a condiment in the strictest sense of the word, but they seem to get inhaled as fast as ice cubes in the summer, so best not to run out. I am truly thankful that goal was achieved.
Meanwhile, now that I’m back in hateful suburbia, some things needed to change to permit a reasonably cranky-free hunker down for a winter that will not involve any sojourns to warmer climates. So I bought a spin bike for only slightly less than three shares of Tesla pre-split. Exactly the same bike they have at the gym I no longer attend. I was happy to discover there is a ton of spin classes on the internet. Free ones, even. On YouTube. Why was I paying the gym sixty bucks a month, and walking half an hour there and back through blizzard-ridden suburban wasteland just to attend a spin class, especially the one where the instructor had never heard of any music other than AC/DC? What was I thinking? I now have my own gym downstairs. Spin studio, yoga studio, weight room. Mine, all mine. No membership card required. All good.
Except when it’s not. It turns out that, much like those movies where you know the killer is calling from inside the house, free internet spin classes are equally as scary. Okay, not nearly as scary as an all heavy metal soundtrack, but close. When my new bike arrived, I shod myself in my bike shoes, clipped myself into the pedals, and dialed up a YouTube class on the Smart TV with my sturdy remote. It all began quite well. The warm-up, the saddle-up/down, the sprint. And then we began the seated climb. I adjusted my tension accordingly, ready to crank it up every minute as we went up the mountain, sweat dripping from my brow. That’s when the half-time commercial came on, extolling the benefits of a Caribbean cruise. Aside from the fact nobody in their right mind would be going on a cruise at this point in time, and that they are rubbing my sweaty nose in the prospect of a warm weather interlude that’s as unlikely as a meal at a restaurant, the most annoying thing is the TV remote is sitting a good ten feet away, where it belongs, on the table beside the couch. I do not get off the bike. I take it on faith the invisible hill is still there. I take it on faith I’m supposed to crank the resistance up another notch. I take it on faith the class will resume after the message from our sponsor. And it does. Just in time to end.
The moral of this story, as you have probably already figured out, is you get what you pay for. That’s why I am now paying a bunch of money each month for subscription spin classes. If you do the math of what I was paying for the gym, versus amortizing the cost of the bike over, say, five years of using it four times a week, plus the interweb spin classes, the spreadsheet says I’ll break even sometime in 2024. Just in time for the next pandemic.