I know it’s statistically the most common thing to waste money on, but my monthly gym membership has now been completely unused since the start of the summer holidays and I have totally failed to get back into the habit of a morning run or humiliating high-kick around the aerobics studio since the kids went back to school. (I made up the bit about the statistics, but it seems like a reasonable assumption, along with the assumption that no-one will care enough to check.)
Also, my gorgeous basket-on-the-front bicycle is too dangerous to ride because a tiny screw has come out of the thingy that goes through the metal pole which holds the basket in place above the front wheel. Without blinding you with science, this means that the metal pole could slip through the front wheel spokes at any time and deliver me the kind of knee and elbow injuries I’ve not experienced since the mid-1970s.
On the positive side, our shower has finally been fixed. Which is actually one more reason not to go to the gym. And so the yin yang of my life is once more perfectly balanced. I have access to early-morning revitalisation in my own home, but still have a tiny screw missing from my bike, thus adding several sweat-filled hours of tube travel to any journey that could have been completed in minutes on my Dawes Heritage. Vitally, there’s still something to moan about.
I’ve started following a number of American blogs recently, and of the many excellent examples of wit- and sarcasm-soaked confessionals I’ve read, there’s a definite sense of optimism that I don’t believe you generally find in anyone working to Greenwich Mean Time. Daily life is a menu of rich pickings for amusing observations, irritating events and even painful repression therapy, but there’s no sense that any of it is an inevitable consequence of being American. Unlike us Brits who, banal as it sounds, still approach life with the attitude that if all else fails we might just make it to supper with nothing more than an unwarranted parking fine.
Reading the blog comments is the best way I can substantiate this claim. Most of the US ones are fairly unnecessary but wholly supportive. In fact, overwhelmingly complimentary. On even the most popular Brit sites, comments are either of the self-apologetic nature (sorry, I probably shouldn’t say this and it won’t be anywhere near as clever or funny as your post but…) or downright practical. Or, my particular favourites, the passive aggressive ‘why did you feel the need to share this’ type.
The other evening, I was at a very English restaurant in town ordering the very English game pie, and the waiter (nationality unclear) reminded me as he took my order that the pie ‘may contain shot’. Metal shot. Naturally I simply smiled my thanks and set about eating a supper that offered substantial risk of a bullet cracking my molar and necessitating months of NHS waiting rooms and overpriced yellowing crowns. Stiff upper lip, grin and bear it. Without a healthy portion of shot, life would be far too easy. And I’d be biking to gym without a grazed elbow to moan about.