Tuesday, March 07, 2006

OH, I Did Have A Way With The Fellas

I have been emailing this morning with a friend of mine from high school who has actually relocated back to New Orleans after being displaced by Katrina. I've taken my own little trip down memory lane for the past hour or so, because this particular friend and I used to find ourselves in all kinds of funny situations. We were so GOOFY in junior high and high school that it makes me laugh to think back on it, and I just remembered one of my more graceful high school moments. I have suppressed this memory for several years, but I think it's important that I share it because, well, I like to humiliate myself.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided that I was going to start walking in the mornings. Now, I am legendary for my head-first plunges into fitness, whereby I go all out for several days and as a result either injure myself, drive myself to the brink of insanity with my obsession, or burn myself out so quickly that I never want to walk / play tennis / lift weights / swim ever again. It's not necessarily a fitness regime that I can recommend in any sort of good conscience.

So one bright Monday morning, I got out of bed around 6, put on some sweats, and headed out for an early morning powerwalk. Because I had taken dancing for many years, I fancied myself relatively fit.

I fancied wrong.

I walked for two miles, probably, up and down some rather hilly portions of the road where we lived. I remember that as I was walking, my principal, Mr. Harris, drove by and honked the horn at me, and I patted myself on the back for being so dedicated, so committed to Achieving Maximum Fitness. I went back home, showered, and went to school, where my principal did in fact commend me on such a healthy early morning routine.

The next day I repeated the schedule. My muscles were a little tight, but no big deal. I walked two miles again, got home, felt a little charliehorse-ish, but once again patted myself on the back for all the exercise. Remember, there is no such thing as middle ground with me. Either I am full-out, full-on, or thankyouverymuch, I will not be participating. No happy medium. Ever.

By day three I was in agony. My hamstrings felt like somebody had removed them, stretched them out the length of a football field, tied them into a thousand knots, and crammed them back into my legs. I tried to stick with my early morning walk, but by the top of the first hill, I was ready to implement the "stop, drop and roll" procedure because my legs were quite clearly on fire. AGONY. I was in agony.

I made it home, showered, and put on a two-piece sailor dress, because in addition to sailor dresses being all the rage in the late 80's, we were having club pictures made that day at school. I wanted to look my best, you know - so I hobbled my way into the skirt, got my hair and make-up just like I liked it, and headed off to picture day.

Now there was this boy - an older boy - who I sort of liked. He didn't like me, of course, except in that sisterly way that all boys seemed to like me because apparently, in bright red ink legible only to the male gender, there was writing across my forehead that said, "TELL ME YOUR PROBLEMS. I WILL LISTEN TO THEM AND MAKE YOU LAUGH. I WILL GIVE YOU ADVICE ABOUT YOUR GIRLFRIENDS AND MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF. THAT IS WHAT I DO." (C'mon, Bubba - 'fess up. You read that writing, too, didn't you?) In retrospect, of course, I'm really grateful to have had so many guy friends...I was spared MUCH high school misery as a result. But at the time, I would've given anything for this one guy in particular to like me. Well, he did like me, but I wanted him to, you know, like me.

Cut to picture time. I was really sore from all the walking but trying to hide the pain, because really, it's the height of nerdiness to be walking down your high school hallway and saying, "YEOW! That smarts! OW - that hurts!" I mean, a girl does have her pride.

So there was an announcement for all the Mu Alpha Theta members to report to the auditorium for pictures, and my sassy sailor dress and I made our way down the hall. One of my friends was walking with me, and at the other end of the hall, walking toward us, was The Boy. So I flipped my hair a bit, ignored the stabbing pain in my legs, faked as normal a stride as I could, made some sort of witty remark because oh was I ever the witty and clever one, and when I got within about 5 feet of The Boy, do you know what my legs did to me? They buckled.

And I don't mean that I delicately lost my balance. I mean to tell you that my entire body GAVE WAY. Collapsed upon itself in a nautically-themed heap. Arms and legs akimbo. With The Boy watching. I tried to laugh it off good-naturedly and all, even though I was humiliated beyond any mortal measure by the degree to which my legs had betrayed me. However, others seemed to appreciate my laughter, because it gave them permission to HOWL and ROLL at my expense. There was much howling. There was much rolling.

The Boy actually came to my aid and helped me back to my feet, though it took some doing, given the degree of leg cramping I was experiencing. Once upright, I dusted off my sailor skirt, straightened my shirt, and headed into the auditorium for pictures.

That's one good thing about aching muscles and hurt pride - they don't photograph very well.

Needless to say, I abandoned that particular fitness routine faster than you can say "buckled knees." The sailor dress made several other appearances at church, but eventually I retired it to the back of the closet. Sadly, it was my last Mu Alpha Theta picture ever, as I was not invited to renew my membership due to some rather unfortunate test scores in Honors Algebra II.

And The Boy? After high school, I never went down that road again.


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