Sometimes, the road less traveled is that way for a reason. My temporarily ridiculous work schedule means that squeezing in my weekly 12 seconds of gym time is more work than I’m willing to do. Thus, as a master of justification, I’ve determined that if I’m hardcore at Ghetto Gym on weekends, I can get away with 3 power-walks during the week.
Yesterday, I returned from a morning meeting early. Figuring I had a free half hour, I threw on my sneakers and booked it along the Bay for 30 minutes. Delighted with my committment to health, I retunred to the office.
My temporarily ridiculous work schedule also means that I’m attending a lot of late meetings, were junk food and booze are served. Anyone with any type of restraint would not have had pizza and wine at 5:30 last night, especially when copping out on gym attendance. Not I. And as I left my meeting, grease and guilt settled into my stomach. I pulled my car over and headed into the park.
Now comes my Zoë-like math. If I hightail it for another 30 minutes, that’d be an hour of cardio in one day and thus, perfectly acceptable, even considering my crap consumption. I set off on the bike path carreening along the marshes of Richardson Bay. Normally, I’ll walk along here and make it pretty close to Sausalito before heading back. But that takes a good hour and that hour I was unwilling to give. The sun hung low in the sky and I selected a tree in the distance. That’s 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back.
I do not run. I find it annoying and showy. And I hate getting passed by runners who think they’re somehow flying straight up to heaven just because they put on shorts with slits up the sides and swing their bent arms back and forth. At one point, I was passed by the healthiest pair of 40 year olds you can imagine. Perfectly tan, perfectly in synch, they smiled and nodded condescendingly as they skipped on, full of carob and soy milk.
But by the time I got to that tree, I decided to keep going. That’s the good thing about walking outside. At the gym, I can just hop off the treadmill whenever I feel like it. But the further away I get from my car, the further I have to hike back. None the less, I pressed on. 10 minutes later, I was in Tam Valley.
Okay. Seriously. I have to turn around. I want to go home.
I flipped a bitch and headed towards my car, parked somewhere in the distance at the Community Center. As I walked along, envisioning the pizza disappear from my ass, I marveled at the egrets and the ducks peacefully wandering through the reeds.
Christ, I thought. I’m communing with nature.
With that, I saw an overgrown path on my right, heading into the marsh and out towards a little peninsula. What the hell. It’s five more minutes and I want to see what’s at the end, a mere 100 yards away. Without the slightest pause, I swerved from the pavement onto the dirt and maintaining my brisk pace, entered the wilderness. Hopping over parches of mud and ducking under trees, I half expected to find a dead body. No one’d been on that path in a while. And at the end, I found myself on a little piece of land sticking out into the Bay.
I believe I actually uttered the word “neat!” out loud.
It didn’t matter. There wasn’t a soul nearby and I noticed that the untrodden path continued along the water, towards my car. It appeared to be almost parallel with the paved path 100 yards in, so I plodded along. I looked forward, sure that at some point, this little path would meet up with the paved one.
God, I’m really pretty far out here, and all by myself.
Well, when walking solo through the reeds in a preserved wildlife refuge, seemingly miles from civilization, there’s only one thing to do.
Further and further I went, singing Fall Out Boy and Luther Vandross. Shit, folks, I was the picture of health. Screw those tan joggers. I’m booking it over puddles and dead birds, getting closer and closer to my car.
At this point, I’d committed 15 minutes to my trek into the wilderness.
And then, I suddenly looked up and came to a screeching halt. As if in a movie, my perfect solitary path ended by abruptly by falling directly into the bay. I stood at the edge, stopped by an obviously impassible body of water.
In an instant, I realized I had to turn back, not only retracing my precarious steps, but committing another 15 minutes just to get me back to where I made this idiot decision to go goddamn exploring.
Fine, God. Fine.
Over the puddles, through the mud, under the trees, around the dead birds, singing my little heart out. I finally hit pavement again as the sun literally set. I’d been out for an hour and I was still a ways from my car.
With each step, I neared the end of my stupid journey. My only consolation was that I was burning unplanned calories, and would most likely awake the next morning stunning. Finally, I was a few hundred yards from the parking lot. I could almost see my car, the newly repaired Rhonda the Honda parked next to a perfect BMW convertible.
I heard the pitter patter of joggers behind me.
Lo and behold, it was the perfect 40 year old couple, smugly smiling and passing me just as all three of us entered the parking lot.
Those bitches better not be in that Beamer.
Yeah. They were.
I got in my car as they stretched, sipped Evian and eyed my backing out, convinced I’d nick their precious ride.
I cranked up the Fall Out Boy, took a swig of the morning’s leftover coffee in my commuter mug and headed the hell home.
It had been nearly 90 minutes since I’d ventured outdoors, 90 minutes I’d never get back, 90 minutes of mud on my cute sneakers, 90 minutes of trophy wives and cycling enthusiasts and 90 minutes of exercise I didn’t want to do in the first place.
I give up.
Lo and behold, I awoke this morning still hideous, possessing a profound distaste for nature and finding I had a renewed commitment to the road more frequently taken…