Monday, January 16, 2017

"Thank you, Eddie Izzard" - or - Tell Me a Story!

Somewhere along August or September of 2015, a work friend and I began making a point of getting some exercise regularly. Weather being what it is at that time of year, we first began by using the walking trails at our office. We work in, essentially, the local swamp. (Well, one of them.) So the walking trails have these awesomely hilarious signs, CAUTIONING the world that this is a WILDLIFE AREA.

The wildlife generally spotted about has consisted of turkeys, deer, and eagles, but one hears tales of snakes and bears (bit of a rabbit), and not far from here I do know there is a finned carp in a pond that'd give almost anyone a bit of a pause, as it is wont to Jaws impersonations. DUH-DUH ...


We started off with walking, but what self-respecting Modern American doesn't eventually retreat indoors, where there is air conditioning and a changing room and nothing but views of the parking lots?

I don't not!

Our fitness room at the office is in fact very nice, with many machines and weighty things and a television I've never used and thermostats that, it is my theory, actually function. (None of the other thermostats in the building would ever dare ...)

So workout pal and I started  using The Room for our "walks", and very early in the going, "walk" really became a misnomer for me. I use the elliptical, and for over a year now I have been attempting this weird thing I like to call actually "meaning it" - and the effects have been overwhelming.

Ohhh no - I haven't lost WEIGHT. That's strictly for amateurs (well, or people who are not women pushing age 50 with a vanishingly short stick). Women who are pushing 50 with a vansihingly short stick and expect to lose weight are mad, I tell you. Mad!

(Okay, actually I have lost roughly 25 pounds. Things still ain't what I'd like 'em to be.)

But what has come of all this work is that archaeologists have discovered traces - the most tantalizing indications - of a long-lost waistline, dating to roughly, oh, seven years ago.

Also, as a person with multiple back and leg sprains to my discredit, I find I am not in incessant pain.

My knees do still make the most comical noises when I take a set of stairs.

But plantar fasciitis and such other wonders have taken their leave of the ruins.

When many people work out, music helps to pass the time. I do well enough with it; Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" was a serious challenge when I began using the elliptical. But to truly lose the time and find my brain absorbed in some experience other than "this is HARD!" and "I am super sweaty!", I have to be told a story.

Probably the writer in me - or, at least, the reader (which is all "writer" even means, in my case).

Music can set a beat, but only a story can take me out of the workout and mean it.

There was a long, long series of Gayle Waters Waters to sustain me. Indeed, during her tenure literally talking me through many months of workouts, I went from being unable to complete seven minutes on the machine, at level four, through an incremental progression of bumping my levels slightly and increasing time spent at each level. I went from seven minutes at four to ten minutes at five, then fifteen, then twenty - then back down to ten minutes, but at six - then fifteen - then twenty. By this method, I had gotten up to twenty minutes on twelve by election day here in the U.S.

I took a bit of a tumble after that. And I can attest to how quickly pain will happily return to a body not in motion. Pain rapidly becomes more nimble than thou, and will cut ya soon as look at ya. Pain is a punk, and lies in wait.

These days, I'm at a steady level nine, twenty minutes, and the elliptical tells me I'm getting in three miles a day. (These ten or fifteen or twenty minute increments are, ideally, a twice-daily routine.) It's still enough work I haven't bumped up yet, but within a week I expect, I'll have to go to ten.

Gayle has, sad to say, run out on me. I turned to Looney Toons classic shorts for a bit there. I grew up on these, and do still love them (see also, Gossamer).

Somehow, though, they didn't quite work for me. Spectacle more than story? I'm not sure what it is(n't).

Image: Wikipedia (of course)

Enter, Eddie.

Eddie Izzard's brilliantly educated, daft, beautifully made-up standup has been Just the Ticket for me of late, particularly the closer we get to The Inauguration.

One wants to see a more recent show of his, given history's ... fascinations ... since Dress to Kill.

Plus, he is one of the extremely FEW famous people I am capable of finding attractive in anything more than the most ephemeral, useless way. I love to watch his face, and hear his voice, watch him ranging across the stage as he confirms/denies/confirms/ denies/confirms/denies/confirms/no-really-COMPLETELY-denies the death of Engelbert Humperdinck.


I've always had a weakness for a certain British mode of speech (it's less the accent than the gloriously aristocratic carelessness - and, in his case, a rather foxy heedlessness physically). Izzard modulates through many modes, effortlessly. It's gorgeous to witness. Talent and funny, tasty stuff. I also happen to share a birthday with him, so that's fun.

Birthday cake, or death? I'll have tea. (By which I mean, Stoli and tonic, no fruit - no, NO FRUIT, please. Thank you.)

I know for Brits, gin and tonic would be more the thing, but I am a woman all my own, and long ago realized gin is just wretched. I drink it only on the occasion it is necessary to remember that one crush from college, and oddly enough that occasion is nonexistent. And so.

Eddie Izzard is capable of something perhaps even surpassing storytelling. The casting of Sean Connery as Henry VIII (even though he is Scottish), and occasional cameos from James Mason - his rollicking trips across Western history. Holy Jeff. The guy is something more than just a raconteur.

AND he has helped off with ten pounds of ugly fat!


Whatta guy. I should buy him a drink, in thanks.

Gin optional.

Music, too.


Lilac Shoshani said...

What a delightful post, Diane! You are such a great writer. And I'm so happy you work out regularly.
I take walks in the neighborhood park, but it seems much safer than the walking trails at your office: no snakes in my park -- at least I hope not -- and no bears for sure... ;-)

DLM said...

Hee. I think our great worry would be turkeys! Or mosquitoes, in summer time. (It IS a swamp, after all!)

Thank you so much; this post was pretty fun to write. AlMOST as much fun as working out with Eddie Izzard. :)