Friends and people I’ll never meet are beavering away in offices and other designated workplaces they work in. I am in my living room in my pants and a vest. The vest may or may not have curry on it. It probably does.
Jillian is speaking to me from the screen. She thinks that between us, in 6 weeks, I am going to have a ripped midsection. Every time she says it all I can hear is the Beastie Boys asking for some action from the back section, but Jillian doesn’t seem to notice. She’s already halfway through the warm up. She wants me to drop my ‘tush back, bend at the knees, eyes to the sky, pound it out’. Thank god the blinds are closed, I feel like a dick. And who knew that a soft sole would make such a racket? I can barely hear the instructions over the noise of my feet, but it appears Jillian and her chums and their tiny toned midsections are floating through the air. Jesus, now they are on the ground. How’d they move so fast? Right, must concentrate.
Apparently I need to pump it, but I’m missing out the reps as I can’t get comfortable on my exercise mat. Stupid mat. Who makes a mat that slides along the floor? I’m sure I was in the middle of the room at the start but now I’m practically hitting my head off the radiator. Sorry Jillian, I am concentrating. I start matching my breath to my movements as per the helpfully screamed instructions, but now she wants me to crank it. Is that the same as the pumping? What does that even mean? It’s just so, so American. Jillian looks like she is glowing with post-coital joy. I look like the woman from How Clean Is Your House having an inspection. I’ve never noticed the skirting board from this angle and as I start thinking about how much time other people spend actually really looking at their skirting boards, and my goodness this floor is stinking and is that a bit of fir tree, and all of a sudden Jillian wants me back on my feet. Too late Jillian, too late. My midsection is now bored.
It is a random Monday morning.
The week is fresh, the grass is wet with dew and stay at home mum’s are skipping from the school gates to enjoy coffee dates with lady mates. I’m in Stormont Park in running trousers that may or may not be on back to front. They probably are.
The lady in the app tells me to begin my warm up. Is just leaving the house not warming up? There are two bitching-housewives mucking about on the outdoor gym and I speed past them at a fair walking pace to avoid their judgement and to hit the safety and cover of the woods. I’m enjoying the air and the light dappling or whatever light does and then the app lady spoils it all by telling me to start running. Don’t start too quick, don’t want to run out of steam. Don’t want to run, but don’t want to eat food cooked in steam, so run. I’m pretending not to be counting down the seconds until she tells me to stop and just casually running and enjoying the movement and the tunes but I’m really 32….33…is it nearly over yet, come on? My calf feels tight. Or does it? It’s just in your head, keep going, think of mythical hot-pants. The app lady tells me to begin walking again. She took her time, but everything is ok again for another couple of minutes. I’m sure that calf is stiff, but it’s just the walky bit, it’ll loosen. If you burnt fat with every thought I wouldn’t need some patronising biddy from the app store telling me to shift myself. And then she spoils it again, telling me to run. And I do, for about 5 strides and pain shoots up my leg, and I’m stopped. I’m no Paula Radcliffe but I know this isn’t good. My eyes are starting to get very hot and stingy and I’m really starting to feel sorry for myself. I want to be home. And a fag. Running is bollocks.
A short cut through the bushes seems a solid plan until I get there and find myself a hobbling, teary blot on the landscape of a bus load of tourists’ picturesque shots of the grand drive. They can edit me out later. I’m beyond caring. The app lady helpfully tells me my workout is nearly over. Silly cow.
It is a random Wednesday.
After lunch, at least. Jillian and the app lady have been given the day off. There is wine in the fridge.