This morning, my walk to the gym started in fog. I mean the weather, not my brain, but actually my brain was in fact doing its best to complement the weather. It is Saturday, after all. It is just past nine, after all. The grass in front of the houses along the road has turned green just in time to look like it needs to be mowed, and I guess the avid suburban horticulturalists will be out there curating their patches of pseudo golf-green just as soon as it stops raining. Whenever that will be. Maybe June.
I have the sidewalk to myself as I do most days, and most cars are still on their overnight rest in the driveway. The double or triple garages never hold cars, only sports equipment, plastic tote boxes of seasonal decorations, winter tires and lawn mowers. I head to the right through the parking lot for the grocery store. Shrubberies are on clearance already ($5! Regular $7.99) even though the ground has only been frost-free enough to dig for a blink of an eye. Just stick them in the garage for now, I guess. Give it something seasonally aspirational to do. I pass the piles of bagged topsoil and manure that live outside all day and night, unprotected from being spirited away after hours. Filching mulch is just not a suburban thing to do. I guess.
Once I’m through the FreshCo lot, I cross a muddy verge beside the industrial garbage bin over to the next parking lot. The space in front of the Cineplex could hold at least ten used car lots but usually, like today, it holds only a white Toyota Camry and a black Ford 150 truck. Inexplicably, despite the embarrassment of available real estate, the two cars are smack dab beside each other.
I walk around the puddles to avoid a gym-shoe soaker, and dodge the food service delivery trucks backup-beeping their way to deposit their wares at the Swiss Chalet, A&W, Keg and Boston Pizza. A quintessential quartet of suburban fine dining. I continue on towards the gas station, playing a game of chicken with the drivers who are clearly having a gas emergency as they turn into the gas station without slowing from Highway 11 speed. Nobody here except us pedestrians.
Thankfully, if you manage to get to the corner before the light turns red and remember to press the button, there is a walk signal to cross the six lanes of Green Lane. I head east and duck into the alley that leads me to the next parking lot. The goose that’s been sitting on the strip of strip mall garden in front of the bank is still there, incubating her eggs. She does not care if it’s raining or not and looks much better than I do by now, my hair as wet as if I’ve already finished my spinning class. Her little goslings will be cute fuzz balls for about a week until they are big enough to join the brigade of poop machines that hiss at me as I dare to walk the last 500 metres to the gym. Past the East Side Mario’s, Lone Star Texas Grill and Buffalo Wild Wings. Maybe I’ve been walking so long I’ve somehow crossed the border. And I guess I have, because I’ve just arrived at LA Fitness. A fellow gym patron stubs his cigarette and deposits it in the metal box attached to the brick near the front door that serves as an ashtray. Healthy is as healthy does.
The usual routine commences. Or at least today’s routine commences: body pump plus abs. That’s what they call it on the schedule. Like abs are a special gift. “Squeeze those butts, ladies,” says the instructor du jour, ignoring the fact there are at least three guys in the class. Like every gym everywhere, nobody looks like they need to go to the gym. My wet hair is joined by wet everything else as I manufacture more sweat that humanly possible. Or glow. Change that to glow.
I head home just before lunch, to the tune of Michael Buble serenading me from the Milestones restaurant, which feels it is necessary to pump their mood music out into the universe 24/7. “It’s a beautiful day, the sun is up, the music’s playing,” sings Michael. Two out of three ain’t bad.