Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Office: Season 9 --- "It's Because of the Economy"

“Don’t say we were ‘cute.’ Our delicate egos can’t take it.” – David to Christy about himself and Sam

“Okay, math is now officially voodoo.” – Mom, recounting some happy but puzzling news from the company bookkeeper.

“At three o’clock the cone of silence will descend…” – Mom
“Well then, I guess I’d better get out my night terrors now. Aaaaauugh! Aaaaauugh!!” – David

“Why, David, why?” – Christy
“Just to toy with you.” – David
“And to think they used to tell me in college that women are capable of wrapping men around our little fingers. No wonder I didn’t believe them.” – Christy

“And who’s gonna care, anyway?” – Mom
“I am. With all my heart and kidneys… and passion.” – David
“Yeah. Sure.” – Mom
“I’m a carer. I care!” – David

"Possibly the most fun thing to say is 'I got a graduation invitation
from the paparazzi's chihuahuas.' No really, say it out loud." - David

“Can you not tell me something bad right now?” – Mom to Dad about technology
“Oh! Oh, let me! Listen, Mom, I’ll tell you something not bad… All over the country right now, puppies are wriggling their little bottoms with joy and licking small children’s faces!” – David

“I thought you were a carer!” – Christy
“Nope, that was a lie.” – David

“And now David will come out and sing our theme song!” – David, trying to insert himself into Mom’s webinar

“Wait, why am I sitting here while the two girls are doing all the work?” – David
“Because you’re a dork.” – Mom

“Mom, my desk isn’t messy, is it?” – David
“Dave, it’s your desk, so it’s messy.” – Mom
“It’s creative!” – David

“Cursed fruit.” – Sam
“Cursed...?” – David
“As in, accursed.” – Sam
“What about it? I'll tell you what's cursed fruit, D-0, that's cursed fruit.” – David
“There's a kersplash for your accursed fruit.” – Sam
“Cursed fruit.” – David
“Fine, well my accursed fruit falls on A5.” – Sam
“Your fruit is cursed with the same curse as mine.” – David
“Curses.” – Sam
“Fruit.” – David
“I curse your fruit.” – Sam
“iFruit - your curse.” – David
“I refuse to respond to that. Oops, I just did. Cursed froot.” – Sam
“Victory tastes like froot loops. The uncursed kinds.” – David
“Are there uncursed froot loops?” – Sam
“I suppose they're all cursed with sugar, aren't they?” – David
“And red dye no. 40.” – Sam
“Cursed dye.” – David

"Christy, I'm invoking the book laws. Give it back, sweetie." - Dad
"Whimper." – Christy, mildly protesting
"Whimpering is beneath you, honey. The law does not recognize whimpering." - Dad
"Yes, Dad." - Christy, handing the book over
“See, this is why I’ll never make a good flirt. Not only do I have the impression that it’s impossible to manipulate men, but also that it’s dishonorable to try.” – Christy to herself

“That is a blissed-out parrot.” – Mom, watching Charity scritch Pippin’s head

“I tried to type "no," and I wrote "bim" instead. I think I'm going to use "bim" for the rest of the day.” – David

“We ran out of cool characters [meaning font characters]. Other than you of course.” – Ray to Sam

“I am at present glaring darkly at a cheerful calendar on my screen. I got the emails [that you sent about it] and promptly deleted them, assuming that they were spam, that they were people masquerading as you (which often happens), and that you couldn't possibly intend to burden my life with a calendar tool, since you know that never in my life have calendar tools worked for me. Obviously, though, I was mistaken...” – Christy to Mom
“You know, I hate to admit it, but I'm beginning to like this [calendar tool].” – Christy

"Wait a minute... this lady is from Toledo, Washington. I thought Toledo was in Ohio?" – David
"Maybe there's two?" – Sarah
"NO, that's NOT good enough, Sarah! I want a BETTER answer!" – David
"Okay, there's a magical one on Mars?" – Sarah

“Aw, Ben! You went all collegiate on me! Zeitgeist? Good grief.” – Christy
“I know I've seen that word in our curriculum. Just don't ask me to find it.” – Ben
“You don't really expect high school students to follow you into German, do you?” – Christy
“It’s hardly German any more...” – Ben
“But come on... zeitgeist? I don't even know what that means! Except that it translates roughly to ‘spirit of the age’" – Christy
“Yeah, that's what it means.” – Ben
“Then why didn't you say ‘spirit of the age’?” – Christy
“Unwieldy. Also not sufficiently, um... what's the word...? Collegiate.” – Ben

“I'm just ornery that way.” – Ben
“At least you admit it. Just remember that whenever you do it, somebody (i.e. me) has to come along behind you and undo it. So please indulge your orneriness judiciously.” – Christy
“Yes, but I don't care, because I'm ornery. See how it all works out so nicely?” – Ben

“Curse the marketing gods... Oh. Wait. That would be David... Never mind.” – Christy
“Technically, David is not a god.” – Mom

“And why did I do that? Because I’m an idiot!” – Christy
“But you’re a nice idiot. Of all the idiots in the world, you are one of my favorites.” – David

“Except for being dumber than a box of hair, I’m a great programmer!” – Dad, wrestling with programming Beatrice

“See, when we were kids without money or the excuse of separate housing, we had to have the book laws to keep us from fighting over books. Now we just buy copies of our own if somebody else is reading the book we want.” – Christy to Dad

“It probably wouldn’t be a proper Christian response to say what I think about this…” – Dad
“It usually isn’t a proper Christian response to even use the words ‘Internet Explorer’…” – David

“Everybody needs somebody to holler and grouse at. Otherwise you just holler and grouse within yourself.” – David
“Do you holler and grouse at Casey?” – Christy
“No, at Dad. And you may holler and grouse at me.” – David
“But I don’t want to holler and grouse at anybody!” – Christy

“You realize that you’re shoving me headfirst into writing html here…” – Dad to David

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re born to ‘em or marry ‘em. Somerville men just spoil their girls like crazy.” – Christy

“I have three hours. Come to think of it, it takes about three hours to write a [literature class plan] topic.” – Christy
“I could do it in one second.” – David
“Yeah, right. Like I could design a webpage in one second.” – Christy
“No, really. Want me to show you?” – David
“No.” – Christy
“Yes you do.” – David
“No, I don’t.” – Christy
“Yes you do!” – David
“Go away.” – Christy
::David comes to Christy’s computer, brushes her aside, and writes “A topic” in her document::
“There! See?” – David
“You forgot the word ‘Literature.’ It’s a literature topic.” – Christy
“You just said ‘a topic.’ So there.” – David

“What is this obsession of yours with hearing a song through to its end?” – Christy
“But this is ‘All You Need Is Love’!” – David
“And all I need are my eardrums back. Or removed!” – Christy

“He ruffles you up and then he smoothes you down. That’s David.” – Christy
::slight pause::
“And he enjoys it.” – Christy
“Just a little bit.” – David

“Hi!” – Brittainy
“Hi! Is this about Week 23?” – Christy
“Um, yes…” – Brittainy
“In that case I plead the fifth.” – Christy

“All right, you insatiable menace to the populace… Here’s your Week 23.” – Christy to Ben

“She held a parrot over his head and threatened to make it poop on him because she disagreed with his graphic design techniques! This place is getting weirder all the time.” – Christy about Mom and David

“How’s Casey?” – Christy
“About the same. She’s adorable.” – David

“From now on, there’s a new reason for everything. Why does a kid have to go to bed? Because of the economy. Why do we have to eat our vegetables? Because of the economy.” – Dave

“You know, whenever I’m facing a situation like yours, such as when I’m running up this one hill every morning, I just say to myself, ‘this would be so much worse if I had a piranha in my pants.’” – David
“Is that supposed to be comforting?” – Christy
“You know that’s comforting. The absence of piranhas is always comforting.” – David

“Is it comforting to know that the cookies the Girl Scouts are selling don’t have piranhas in them? Yes! Clear logic. It’s not that hard, Chris—just try to keep up.” – David to Christy

“Regarding your google wave, it went over my head because of the economy.” – David to Dad

“This is a very weird corporate culture that we’ve developed here, Dad…” – David
“It’s because of the economy, Dave.” – Dad

“Peter said it’s not that I didn’t have a life before Frederick; it’s just that my life before Frederick doesn’t matter.” – Christy
“I’m going to smite him with a terrible smiting. How dare he! Where does he get off?” – David
“He got off at Frederick.” – Dad
“But here’s the thing, life before Frederick includes David. So it does matter.” – Christy

“Postmodernist! Postmodernist!” – David to Christy

“Oh no you don’t. I have a full jar of peanut butter over here!” – David
“And you’re not afraid to use it?” – Christy
“No, I didn’t say that. If I said that, I feel like the threat would be cliché and therefore not meaningful. Whereas if I just say ‘I have a jar of peanut butter,’ you wonder what I plan to do with it. Imagination is nine tenths of a threat. Take it from an older brother.” – David

“If you misquote me not to my liking, I’ll play ‘All You Need Is Love’ again.” – David to Christy
“Dave, I don’t think you left me any room to be imaginative with that threat.” – Christy

“What got you off on a Beatles kick this afternoon? What have we done to deserve this?” – Christy
“You were very, very good.” – David
“I mean, come on! ‘I wanna hold your hand’? I don’t want to hold their hand!” – Christy
“Christy, blaspheme not the aspidistra.” – David, quoting a well-known (to us) line from Busman’s Honeymoon

“Fine. I’ll collect the pieces of my broken heart and play ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ instead” – David

“Woe to me, musical martyr that I am!” – David

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Office: Season 9 --- "No Branchaws Were Harmed* During the Making of This Quote Book"

“WHAT DID YOU CALL ME? You said ‘That's irrelevant.’ DID YOU CALL ME AN ELEPHANT?!" – Ray
“Well, we really do call you ‘ray of sunshine’” – Christy

“The Alcoholic Yap-Yemens…” – Juli on a fictional band
“Yeah, that was Juli's band. She played lead zither. Lead ELECTRIC zither.” – Ray continuing the fictitious account of Juli’s band
“RAY! You promised not to tell!!” – Juli

“Ha! I know the universe was governed by orderly principles! I said to Casey when I was clipping my nails on Saturday night, ‘Just you wait, someone will offer me an orange tomorrow.’ Then nothing happened on Sunday and I was worried, but now here it is Monday and you offer me an orange! I knew it! Oranges follow fingernails!” – David, ranting

“Well, you’re gonna shoot me… but I think…” – Mom
“I have never yet shot you in my life.” – David

“I saluted you on Facebook and said welcome home.” – Christy to Sam
“I appreciate that.” – Sam
“Sure you do. Now. But just wait until we've worn down your nerves and broken your will to survive.” - Christy

“Thanks for waiting for permission.” – Christy, with mild sarcasm
“Hey, no problem. That's what I'm here for.” – Sam
“You're a problem child and you're here for my sanctification.” – Christy
“Hey, we all need one [problem child] … or three or four.” – Sam

“You know what I just realized? An asterisk can make any sentence sketchy. Take ‘No animals were harmed during the making of this picture.’ You put an asterisk after any one of those words and you get some really interesting clarifications." – David
“Or how about ‘I love you*’" – Sam
“Or ‘I love* you’" – David
“Or 'It's a boy!*’" – Sam
“Yeah.” – David
“This would be a concerning IM for anyone who stumbled upon it.” – Sam
“That's why we keep these things confidential” – David
“Unless we put them in the quote book… which I may or may not have already done” – Sam
“I think you mean, "that's why we keep these things confidential*..." – David

"Possibly the most fun thing to say is 'I got a graduation invitation from the paparazzi's chihuahuas.' No really, say it out loud." –David

Correlate! That’s the word I wanted this morning.” – Christy
“You were actually saying that this morning.” – Sam
“I was? Oh, my lost sanity.” – Christy
“It’s actually overrated.” – Sam

“So, what’s the ghost doing over there?” – Christy, referring to Ben’s non-corporeal manipulation of one of the computers

“You are not ‘ruggedly handsome.’ You can be handsome in a Greek mythology kind of way, if you absolutely insist, but not ruggedly so.” – Christy to Sam

“Aw, I think Sam has boyish charm!” – Brittainy

“Water?” – Christy
“No thanks.” – Sam
“Never let it be said that I didn’t try to hydrate you.” – Christy
“I’ll remember that when I’m passing out… either that or I’ll just choose to spread vicious rumors.” – Sam

“You know, a purity pillow. It’s a pillow that you put between a guy and a girl when they’re sitting together on a couch.” – Sam

“Tell her that this whole wedding thing is overrated and she should come back,” – Sam to Christy about Brittainy
“Tell him ‘you'll understand one day’ in the most patronizing voice you can muster.” – Brittainy to Christy about Sam
“Maybe I should just let the two of you talk...” – Christy
‘Probably...sometime after I'm married.” – Brittainy
“Okay, dear. We’ll do that.” - Christy

“No, Sam. We can’t take the Tapestry logo off. That is a Tapestry-bearing map. Just like we are created to bear God’s image, that map is created to bear Tapestry’s image.” – David

“Why is the ghost playing with a dead mouse?” – Sam, referring to Ben

“David! Please kill Sam! He just called me a twit.” – Christy
“I don’t think this quite merits death. Maybe I could break a leg. Or twist his arm.”
“Arm-twisting would do.” – Christy
“Sam, is there a good time for arm-twisting in your schedule?” – David
“Umm… how about at 5:30 PM when I’m going crazy wanting to get home?” – Sam
“Okay. I’ll note it down in my date book. If that doesn’t work, we could just do lunch.” – David
“David!” – Christy

“Are you batting you eyelashes at me?” – Christy to Sam
“No, it’s more of a blinking and staring kind of thing.” – Sam to Christy

“The lark’s on the wing, the snail’s on the thorn, God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world…. except you…” – Christy to Sam
“I’m here to be annoying and to remind you that the world is fallen.” – Sam to Christy
“Thanks for that.” – Christy

“Okay, now I need to find an amazing, amazing stock picture of bunny slippers. There are times when my job is wonderful.” – David, with complete sincerity.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Season 8: "Giving Up on Mascara"

“May I cry now?” – Christy
“No. Crying is strictly forbidden.” – David
“You may whimper, however…” – David

“Question for you, old buddy old pal...” – Christy to Ray
“Un momento. On telefono con su papa.” – Ray, using random Spanish

“Has anybody seen the whiteboard?” – Christy
“I hid it. I’m secretly opposed to whiteboards.” – Brittainy
“I knew it! I could see it in her eyes.” – David

“I’m sitting here staring at the inscrutable face of this Mac, looking for an ‘on’ button, and saying to myself ‘Now where is that secret knot? It’s impossible to find’….” – David
“I thought Macs were supposed to be ‘so intuitive’” – Christy, referencing David’s earlier comment

“You pulled the rabbit out of the hat. Now Ray will brush the rabbit and polish its little nose.” – David to Dad about the programming magic that Dad has done.

“Did we have any mediocre awakenings?” – David
“Nope. They were all ‘great.’” – Ben
“I had a mediocre awakening this morning” – David

“Oh! I just got to use the phrase ‘exceedingly bleak’—as in ‘there is nothing worse than a sore throat; it’s effects are exceedingly bleak’” – Christy, sneaking Emma references into her week-plan
“I got to use the phrase ‘what a hilarious misunderstanding’ in real life!” – Amy

“So everything that’s bad is David’s fault, and everything that’s good is to Brittainy’s credit.” – Christy
“Yup, pretty much.” – David and Amy

“I just tried to draw Joshua and he turned out to be Saul, so I don’t know that that says. It had something to do with the mouth.” – David

“Well, you’re sweet, but you just don’t make any sense.” – Brittainy to Christy

“This is America, where everybody is entitled to their opinion, no matter how uneducated it is.” – Ben

“This is me. I lack the intelligence of an average baby.” – David

“Good thing I didn’t put any mascara on this morning” – Amy, wiping away tears of laughter

“You know, it’s days like this that I realize how sorry I’m going to be when our team breaks up [in March].” – Amy
“Well, we can always play this…” – Christy, turning on “Graduation”
“NO!” – Amy
“I’m going to give you this album for your birthday.” – David to Amy
“I’m going to excommunicate you from my friendships!” – Amy to David

“Mom IS the quote book.” – David

“Well, that’s what I would do with a husband and a year off if I had them. I’d build the ultimate tree fort!” – Christy

“I’ve given up wearing mascara at work.” – Amy, who always laughs so hard she cries

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Office: Season 8: "Because Fairy Tales Are Basically Baby Myths"

“So Casey was your Yoda.” – Christy to Amy
“Yes, but Casey was a great deal better looking than Yoda.” – Amy
“Of all the people who are better-looking than Yoda, I think Casey would be at the top of the list.” – David

“When you plugged Christy’s mouse into Amy’s computer, it reset the clock on the computer to 1601 AD. That’s why it hasn’t been working.” – Dad
“Christy’s mouse would do that. It’s scarily appropriate.” – David
“Yep, back when Shakespeare was writing…” – Dad
“What can I say? I don’t belong in this century.” – Christy

“You must come to work with a checklist of things to accomplish!” – David to Lauren
Lauren’s Checklist, By David:
1. Put a little Christmas spirit into Marcia's drink (Marcia doesn’t like Christmas)
2. Help Amy want kids
3. Make sure that John whisks Brittainy off forever
4. Get a quote in Christy's quote book
5. Get David to say something to me that is not sarcastic...

“I feel like Mom is a sultan or an angel or something, because every time I go to see her I have to take off my shoes.” – David
“Why?” – Lauren
“Because she’s sitting on the Death Rug, so you can’t have any shoes on it.” – David

“No, I refuse to photoshop ancient paintings!—except for humorous purposes.” – David

“Recording in the closet… happy thought indeed.” – Mom, misquoting Elizabeth Bennett

“The thing about fairy tales is that they’re like baby myths…” – David

“So The Secret Garden and A Little Princess were written by the same person. I never knew that!” – Christy
“And David was the only one of us who did!” – Brittainy
“And I’m a boy! Tee-hee!” – David

“Comrade David, explain to me why people are so foolish!” – Christy
“Well, see, first there was this pomegranate” – David
“Pomegranate?” – Brittainy
“You’re on the wrong story.” – Christy to David
“Huh?” – David
“You know… Persephone… gets carried off Pluto… eats three pomegranate seeds and has to stay in Hades for three months of the year? Wrong story.”
“Um, well, okay, so first there was this quetzalcoatus” – David
“And now we’re on a Mayan god?” – Christy
“Please, Christy, that’s Quetzalcoatl. I’m talking about a quetzalcoatlus. You know… a winged serpent.”
“I see.” – Christy
“So there was this blonde chick, this pomegranate, and this quetzalcoatlus…”
::How do you spell it?” – Christy
Everybody knows how to spell it.” – David
“Good. How?” – Christy
“Q-U-um… I think there’s an “E”…” – David
“Right, everybody knows how to spell it.” – Christy

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Perhaps reading Crime and Punishment leaves one thinking in fragments, but I don't believe I can really blame Dostoevsky for this. After all, a number of my posts are fragmentary. This one will be so too.

I've been exploring grad school seriously for the first time in my life, partly because it is one of several options for 2010, partly because the Master of Fine Arts/Master of Letters program at Mary Baldwin is utterly enticing (who wouldn't want to go to school down the street from the world's only replica of Shakespeare's private theater, especially if "school" meant spending all one's time learning to direct his plays?), and partly just for the sake of giving my mind a new toy.

This morning, Danya asked me to sum up 1300 years (500-1800 AD) in three words. I told him that "Age of Christendom" was the only thing that struck me as even remotely appropriate, and suddenly found myself blinking in the jeweled dazzle of stained-glass images on his computer screen. I had forgotten, so very much forgotten, about the glory of cathedral windows. It took me backward to a quiet afternoon at the National Cathedral, so I let the sweet lovely memory have its way with me. I thought how there is nothing on earth quite like the silent passion of the glass, telling stories without words and speaking volumes without sound and bleeding . . . not heart's blood, but sun's blood: light. If I had to give a name and a picture to human worship, I would call it colored light and say that it is like a stained-glass window of the Gospel.

Reading, reading, reading... I read two books in the last two days, and that was just during my free time. One I found immensely disappointing: I should have known better than to give a Jane Austen rip-off a chance. The other was moderately encouraging: a Christian novel not devoid of power and artistry, though---alas---still pasty to my mind and feelings. Why do we Christians find it so difficult to write our own most passionate beliefs in a way that makes the truth appear at least a particle as startling and heavy as it in fact is? Why are our words so often cardboard rather than stained glass? Is it because we plunge in too far... or not far enough?

Jeff Purswell's chapter on loving the world (the final chapter in C.J.'s new book Worldliness) is such an important reminder, and so helpful in the way it laces together elements which seem to me to be very rarely grouped under that heading. Loving work, loving the world around us, loving evangelism, loving life, loving the grand story of the Bible... in a book on worldliness? It goes to a deep place in my soul and unseals a fountain of delight. Gaudeo!

After almost a year of barely-contained unhappiness, I am surprised to find myself deeply happy. My circumstances have not changed, but I have changed. I told God, "Let me skip the road with you. Look, I'll put a pebble in my shoe! Watch me walk. I can walk and walk." And I have walked with a pebble in my shoe, and when it galled me, He carried me, and I grew strong, and I can walk much better now. I don't know whether that has made me happy, but I am grateful to be released from the low ceilings and narrow rooms of the mind, that I lived in for many months. I am grateful to see blue sky again.

It is winter; it is cold; every day I am cold because I live in the basement. I love the cold. It goes through and through me---I welcome it with singing. I feel clean and renewed. My head is clearing at last. The pale sunsets at this time of year are gold and lavender; I want to drink them. Ah, joy, is it you? Welcome, old friend! Too long have you been away, and it is all my own fault, because I forgot, I forgot to preach the Gospel to myself. But now I do, and all the colors come flaming back.

Flames. The hearth in this house, upstairs, leaps most evenings with real fire. I embrace it as readily as I do the cold air. Am I not a creature of air and fire and water, as well as earth? Water, too---Sarah gave me water-star lanterns for my birthday: star-shaped lamps made of brass plates and blue-green bottle-glass. I have filled them with sea glass; I have put a white candle in each of them; when I touch flame to the candle, the light dances out through watery glass and there I have fire and water together. It is a stained-glass lamp. So few people have water-star eyes, but those who do, their eyes are like my lamps, shining and blue-green and starry. Danya has eyes like that; Casey sometimes has eyes like that. They are my water-star friends.

Dear God, thank you for making words and voices and language and song, and the long fluid motions of dance, and the sonorous violins, and the poems, and the stories. Thank you for the trees and the quivering sunlit waters. Thank you for bright eyes and rubies and silver cups. Thank you for fur and laughter. Thank you for my soul---and for saving it.

Te adoro.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Office --- Season 8: "All for Love, WorldBook, and Ghandi"

“David’s idea of fun is being married to Casey.” – Christy
“You know, that’s actually true.” – David

“No, my first impulse was to feed you; my second impulse was to enslave you.” – Christy to Marjorie (who was protesting about being asked to carry in groceries).

“You rock!” – Juli to Ray
“Oh, I’m really more of a pebble.” – Ray

“So why did people suddenly decide that marriage was all about love, anyway?” – Christy, working on an article about nineteenth-century literature
“Anger.” – David

“Poets have been dumb about women for a long time.” – David

“How 'bout you and I write all the articles to replace WorldBook?” – David to Ray
“That may be quicker.” – Ray

And so it begins: Historical Articles by David and Ray (no, not for real)...

"George Washington was this guy who was President or something." – Ray
“Article on the French and Indian Wars: "This is when Napoleon and Ghandi took up arms against one another." – David
“Civil War: ‘A particularly polite controversy which consisted of much sneering and a few murmured aspersions.’" – David
“The Cotton Gin: ‘The first homemade alcoholic beverage made from this fibrous plant.’" – David

And then they got onto their favorite subject: fictional bands....

“I was in a band called Sneer and the Murmured Aspersions. I was one of the Aspersions. Reggae doo-wop.” – Ray
“Wow.” – David
“I looked GOOD in dreds.” - Ray
“I want to hear this.” – David
“Sadly, all the [music] records were burned. About twenty minutes ago.” – Ray

“I hate romantic love.” – Christy, sighing over a long article on the subject that is giving her a headache
::David, Amy, Julie, and Brittainy, all of whom are either engaged or married, look at her::
“Um… sorry… I didn’t mean it quite that way…” – Christy

“So in many ways we have our cake and eat it too. We just don’t have a bottle of champagne.” – David on the pros and cons of the ebook for the new DE project

“I was merely trying to ascertain your wishes…” – Christy to Amy

“Tell me something scary, something to shake me out of my apathy.” – Christy to Brittainy
“How ‘bout ‘Little girls who don’t do their work get eaten by monsters under the bed.’” – Amy
“That’ll do.” – Christy

Friday, December 05, 2008

Mornings at the Gym

I used to think that a gym is basically a gerbil farm, with such-and-such a number of gerbils running mindless races for X minutes a day and paying Y dollars per month for the privilege of this unproductive (in the sense that nothing is accomplished by the expenditure of energy) round of activities. "The least they could do," I thought, cynically, "would be to hook up all the treadmills to an electrical factory or something." As for the gerbils, I wished they would make gardens or buildings or do something more meaningful than gerbilling.

As usual, I was wrong. It turns out that gyms are not gerbil farms and are actually quite productive in their own way. They provide a place where one can get 30-120 minutes of good exercise, regardless of weather, without having to provide oneself with gardening tools, axes for cutting wood, or other "productive" paraphernalia. Of course one gives up a good deal---oh scent of leaves, oh emerald grasses and blue-bright sky!---but in the winter especially there is much to be grateful for in a gym.

The way I have come to think of gyms is, unsurprisingly, ancient. I think of them as Roman baths and gymansia: a place to relax and meet friends as well as work muscles. Each morning around 7:30 I roll out of bed and put my hair in a knot and drag an old sweatshirt out of the closet so that I can go someplace warm and fragrant to wake up while I work out. Since I'm one of those people who can read on the elliptical, I also have a guaranteed stretch of time to meet with God. I also have opportunities to interact with unbelievers---sometimes hilariously!

I love the pull of weights against my arm muscles, even when a round of ten machines makes them ache; I love the long, soothing stretches; I love the smooth rounded motion of the elliptical and cycle machines; I love even the groan of muscles in my legs and back from the rowing machine. In keeping with my "Roman baths" mentality, I have decided that using the rowing machine is "playing galley slave."

What I like best is when Daddy and I go to the gym together, which usually occurs on Wednesdays. Sometimes we do weights. Sometimes we sit in the huge jacuzzi pool and talk while the heat works into our strained muscles. Today we did the rowing machines. Dad was a rowing champ in his youth (it's a Dartmouth thing) and his older brother was too. Today he knocked out 10,000 meters on iste exhausting machine while telling me stories of Uncle Ed's triumphs. Sitting beside him and pulling in rhythm on my own machine, I could almost see it: long cool river at dawn, feathering of oars, cries of coxswain, dip and roll of paper-thin boat, and reach-pull-lean---reach-pull-lean rhythm. Don't catch a crab!---that is, don't tangle your long water-scooping oar with somebody else's.

"If I ever want to write about rowing in a story," I thought dreamily, "I'll know how to do it. I can picture it all..."

I like to work out---Dad likes to work himself in.... into the ground. Consequently I went to curl up with my Bible while he finished the second half of his exertions. I had about ten minutes alone with the book of John (1:1-18) and Isaiah (9) when an adorable troupe of older ladies and gentlemen come up to take possession of the lounge area. They chatted, argued, and laughed in a strong accent (New York, I think) and talked about whether or not Venice is sinking. One (her name was Thelma) chatted agreeably with me. Somehow we got on to the subject of her grandchildren. She said, "You must be younger than my grandsons!"

"I'm twenty-five."
"Oh, well, the one I mentioned is twenty-six."
"How old do I look to you?" I asked, curious.
"About eighteen."
I groaned. "Everybody says that!"
"Well, someday you'll be grateful for it."

What could I do but grin sheepishly? That's what everybody says: "Someday you'll be grateful for it." Anyway, Dad came and we went, and snap!---the day flashed by. Now I sit here eagerly anticipating tomorrow morning, another morning at the gym. Maybe I can get up to 55 lbs on the arm-press tomorrow.... ;-)