Friday, March 18, 2005

Read and get fit

We had a rainy and blustery day today, and I spent most of the afternoon at the gym.

I have discovered another good thing about the gym. I can pedal a stationary bike and READ AT THE SAME TIME. You can't do that on the road! Well, you can, but the first time in my life I ever got pulled over by the police it was for reading a book on my bicycle, and I don't want to risk it again. I was seven years old, and it was a terrifying experience. I was so convinced I was going to be sent to prison that while the policeman was lecturing me I could hardly hear him. I stared at him, dumbstruck, while my mind conjured up a terrible future in which I was spending the rest of my childhood rotting away in a dungeon with bars over a tiny, high-up window and water dripping down the walls. I lived on bread and thin soup, and spent my time staring pitifully at my little square of unobtainable sky and feeling sorry that I'd ever read a book on my bicycle. I was a terrible criminal who had caused my family grief, shame and heartbreak. Also, I just knew that in prison there would be NO BOOKS ALLOWED. (What had I been reading, I wonder?)

So when I came out of this horrible dream to hear the policeman saying he'd let me off this time if I promised I'd never do it again, I promised, fervently, tearfully, and repeatedly. And I kept my promise. I've never done it again. (At least I hadn't until today, but I don't think a stationary bike counts.)

Besides keeping me entertained, the book also covers up the digital display that shows how fast my pulse is going (HEART ATTACK!) and tells me that I've been pedalling for 20 minutes now and only used up 40 calories and if I don't stop right now I'll keel over BEEP BEEP BEEP RED ALERT! I'd rather not know that stuff anyway. I'd rather read.


Paula said...

I can't read while biking or walking, boohoo. It makes me nauseated.

Faerunner said...

I don't recall ever trying to read while on a bicycle - I'd always considered that a recipe for skinned knees and torn pages.
However, I've been sighted by classmates several times walking to and from class, book in hand, and taking little notice of my surroundings except to cross busy streets. One of them asked me how I do it today... ^_^ It's just been a habit since I was in third or fourth grade.

Hope your reading and biking goes well :)

Badaunt said...

Paula: Even on a stationary bike? I get sick on buses if I don't pay attention to the road (but not on trains). Not on bicycles, though. At least not when I was seven, and not on a stationary bike.

Badaunt said...

Faerunner: Long straight road, almost no traffic (except one scary policeman I didn't notice until it was too late).

I walk and read, too. I see that quite a lot here with comics, and these days with phones. The most worrying one is people riding their bicycles (or driving cars) while reading and sending messages via their mobiles.

E.P. said...

LOL, kindred consciences, GoodAunt! Living in Germany in 7th grade, I joined my schoolmates in cheating the bubble-gum machines: we'd take 2-Pfennig coins, lay them on the trolley track, and---PRESTO!---we'd have five 10 Pfennig pieces (a gumball cost 10 Pf). Fabulous savings! I did it just once, and that evening in bed, I had TERRRRIBLE writhings of guilt: I just KNEWWWW that the German FBI'd find my fingerprints on the coins and ferret me out, and lock me up, and that would enrage and humiliate my mom & grams (The Prussian Pedagogues who brooked NO nonsense, much less COUNTERFEITING!!!), and then I'd have the mark of Cain on me for life (after my 20 year stint in prison----and I figured German prisons'd be like the concentration camps I'd read so much about). I was sweating with anxiety that the next day, the gendarmes'd come barreling into my classroom and haul me off by the scruff of my neck. Needless to say, I NEVER tried that coin pancaking again; from then on, the gumballs tasted only of terror.