Spinning Class and Sock Monkeys: Lessons in Perseverance

Of the many popular activities I don’t generally enjoy, “organized exercise” and “arts and crafts” are particularly irritating to me.

This week, totally at random and almost as though to prove a point to myself, I took part in both.

I was chatting with a girl at a party last weekend, and it came up that she taught spinning classes at ridiculously early hours on Sundays. For a reason which now escapes me, I somehow agreed – no, PROMISED – to SHOW UP at one of said classes the following morning.

I must have been kind of joking, as I can’t have had any intention to actually go, and likely wouldn’t be in any condition to anyway. Besides, I didn’t even really know what spinning was. But she held me to task – even asking for my number, calling it right away, and barking a no-nonsense reminder message on my voicemail. Other people, including Riccardo, heard the whole exchange. There was no turning back.

Here I am, with master oysterologist Daniel Notkin, around the time of the ill-fated promise.

Here I am, with master oysterologist Daniel Notkin, around the time of the ill-fated promise.

The next morning, I bitterly regretted my tough-guy promise. Almost as much as I regretted the evening’s consumptions: oysters, sancerre, vodka, and a poutine from L’Orignal at an hour when noone should be eating anything, let alone fries, gravy and cheese curds. But being a woman of my word, I dragged myself from the comfort of my bed…

…and into the seventh circle of hell! I was way out of my league. I slipped into the room and took a spot near the back amidst dozens of dedicated spinning aficionados, all of whom appeared to be in significanly better shape than me. Gingerly, I started pedalling. It was no easy feat trying to keep up with my classmates but I held my own, determined not to bail on my idiotic agreement. The girl from the party turned out to be an excellent but slightly sadistic instructor. She played upbeat but vaguely S&M-themed pop songs while gleefully ordering us to work harder. “Jusqu’au bout!” rang repeatedly in my ears. “By the way,” she called out to me as I furiously gulped water, “this is an advanced class!”

I pressed on, copying the every move of the senior citizen in front of me, and miraculously reached the end of the gruelling hour, panting and sweating profusely. Success! I did it!

*Actual spinning class not shown due to being too busy trying not to faint. This photo is from the internets.

*Actual spinning class not shown due to being too busy trying not to faint. This photo is from the internets.

My new theme of reluctant perseverance appeared again in the form of an adorable but slightly misshapen sock monkey. While I’ve traditionally shunned craft projects of all kinds, preferring simply to admire the creations of those more talented than me, a friend’s upcoming birthday became an opportunity for me to take my friend Angie up on her offer of teaching me how to make a primate pal out of a pair of socks. My sister Kelly and I joined Angie and her friends at their Tuesday night sock monkey and wine circle.

Making monkey magic

Making monkey magic at Angie’s.

In an epic struggle against my non-crafty nature, I spent two evenings at Angie’s dining table, and one at home, patiently cutting and sewing the socks I’d bought into their present simian form. I suffered injury (needle-related), distress (at my complete inability to sew in a straight line) and humiliation (kind but pitying glances from my fellow monkey-makers). And eventually, incredibly, against all odds – I completed my masterpiece.

His name is Jimitron Jr., and he is my birthday gift to my dear friend Jimmy. (Happy birthday, Jimmy! You’ll get Jimitron Jr. soon!)

Jimitron Jr. Happy birthday, Jimmy!

Jimitron Jr.

This monkey, along with the spinning class described above, symbolizes my apparent ability to overcome adversity and achieve what seemed impossible – at least in these small but significant ways. My friend Jimmy, too, is no stranger to overcoming adversity – and he’s played a huge role in motivating me to do the same. In fact, Jimmy is the driving force behind this blog, having admonished me countless times to “just write. ANYTHING!” (So, he’s essentially to blame for these inane ramblings.)

This week’s horizon-expanding experiences have taught me a lot about myself – the most important lesson being that I am simply not cut out for organized exercise OR arts and crafts.

 

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