And then I paid dearly for all those holiday nibbles
When my friend, Amanda, and I were trying to figure out a date that worked for us to get together, she suggested Monday.
“I’m working out with another friend after work and if you want to be totally sore,” she said, “you are welcome to join us and then head back to the house afterward.”
“‘Totally sore’ sounds like something I need right now,” I replied, thinking back on the cushy month I had just spent at my parent’s house. So it was settled: I would meet her and her friend, Robin, at the park.
I arrived in Atlanta via I-85. From my merging point at Jefferson, Ga., most of the journey was conducted in two southbound lanes, which is not nearly enough space for the caliber of impatient driver that usually ends up sharing the narrow thoroughfare with towering semi trucks who can only do a mere 70 mph. Then, just as I started to enter the metro area, the road belched me out onto a six-lane scape with ramps veering off to the right every several hundred feet, and Exit Only signs warning of my imminent ejection from the freeway, onto roads with historically-in-touch-sounding names, like Beaver Ruin and Indian Trail. After avoiding inadvertent expulsion from the expressway several times (I was greatly assisted by the fact I was in my mom’s sedan), I finally made an intentional merge onto Jimmy Carter Boulevard and began my measured but steady pilgrimage through Traffic Lightopia. It was 4:30 in the afternoon, just when the city’s infamous rush hour should have been firing up, spontaneously creating parking lots all across the sprawling capital, but I was not seeing any of that, because my dad had advised me to avoid the perimeter, and so I made it to Roswell Park not a minute late, having even had time to pull off at the Super Target for a quick shop.
But I still had to get out of my dress and boots. In the middle of the not-so-deserted parking lot. Disaster was averted when Amanda arrived in her SUV with tinted glass windows, and I used the back as a changing room. Five minutes later, Robin had arrived and we were ready to go.
Turns out, Robin is not just any old friend. She actually get people in shape for a living, teaching them both how to eat and exercise properly. Amanda had hired her in Fall 2008, when she knew that she was coming to Mexico to visit me in Spring 2009.
“Michael and I have some really bad eating habits,” she explained.
For example, she told of the first time Robin came to her house and scoured the kitchen for signs of demise, making disapproving comments at her discovery of things like potato chips and white bread.
“Yes, there was some fatback in the fridge,” Amanda said, adding that she had not been to the grocery store and the rest of the shelves were rather empty. “Robin flipped out. She said, ‘You’re living in a frat house.’”
After working with Amanda to get her in beach shape for her island vacation, they have since become just friends and Robin calls Amanda to work out sometimes, usually once a week.
“We are hard-core,” Robin said to us, as we stood there in the parking lot, preparing to begin our evening session. She was making reference to the fact that the temperature was dropping about a degree per minute and we were out there voluntarily, with the intention of breaking a sweat. Later, I found out that it was probably just a formality to say such a thing, that maybe only a 20-foot snow drift would keep her indoors and even then, you’d find her spinning on her stationary bike for an hour.
While she has a sweet, genteel face and a peppy voice that matches the bounce in her step, you eventually figure out that the United States Army should be hiring her to train their new recruits. She says things like, “You have not worked out your arms, if you can lift them afterward” and “You should be feeling warm about now,” when you’re 10 reps in to a set of lunges, after having done about 12 sets of 20-something stairs and maybe two dozen squats.
“I hate her,” Amanda said, before we’d even made it to pushups, tricep dips, and lots and lots of crunches.
“Oh, she knows it,” she said.
Thirty minutes later, my arms were screaming. I could barely lift my phone, which I think counts for a good arm work-out.
Robin had told us to refuel within the hour, ideally with chocolate milk, but there would be none of that at home, Amanda warned me and instead, we sat down to a meal home-cooked by husband Michael: pork roast, collard greens, black-eyed peas and sweet potatoes. It’s more or less your standard Southern New Year’s meal that is meant to bring you both health and money through the coming 12 months. Three days into 2011, it was my third time eating such a combination, but I was not complaining. Other than the fact that I have been away from this sort of food for four and a half years, and just saw it as making up for lost time, I also figured it couldn’t hurt to build an extra reserve of two things I will most certainly need to get to Vancouver and back.