Another true story from my writer’s life that I don’t know why I’m sharing.
Part of my daily routine as a writer is a couple of hours at the gym. I do this at back end of lunchtime because if I didn’t I’d probably eat lunch. Because I sit down for about ten hours a day at my desk I really do need to miss some meals. It works for me. By the time I return home in the middle of the afternoon the appetite is gone and dinner time is something to look forward to. And the exercise is good for me in other ways, of course. Also, that break in the middle of the working day provides me an opportunity to reflect on what I’ve been scribbling in the morning while I turn the pedals of the exercise bike going nowhere for twenty minutes.
On Friday I powered down the laptop, feeling good after a productive morning’s writing, although I was experiencing concerns regarding something a character had just done. It was bothering me. I tried to dismiss it and went to get changed knowing that a break would do me and the story some good.
I run to the gym. It’s only a mile away. It’s my warm up. Because the weather has brightened up here and got a bit warmer I now run to the gym in shorts. Lucky me.
I had my gear on and was sitting on the stairs by the front door lacing up my trainers, unable to switch off my writer’s brain completely when I detected this unpleasant odour. Was that my trainers? Actually no. After some sniffing around it turns out it was my shorts. It was only a few days dried sweat chucking up a bit. But I didn’t like it. And I’ve got plenty of other pairs of shorts. No problem. Into the bedroom, kick off the stinkers, hunt out a clean pair and… bang, the solution to my character’s problem hit me. I hurried to my desk and scribbled a note to self. Then the phone rang. Answer. Have conversation. End conversation. Check the time. Return to front door. Keys – check. Ipod – check. Water bottle – check. Leave home and jog down ten flights of stairs to greet the sunshine. Lovely.
You don’t see many people running on the streets here for fun. In fact there are so few that the locals will often stare. I’ve got used to it. But this day a lot more people were taking a lot more interest in me. I couldn’t work out what formed the basis of this unusually high level of attention. I ignored it as best I could. It doesn’t pay to stare back. Dangerous.
I got to the gym, jogged up the stairs, heaved in a few deep breaths and pushed through the double doors to reception where members collect their complementary towels. The tracksuited receptionist gave me a strange look and then a cheeky smile. She’s not often friendly so I smiled back and said hi. In Turkish.
I picked up my towels and went into the gym area proper. I think I’ve mentioned before that it’s wall-to-wall mirrors. You can’t help seeing yourself sooner or later. On this occasion I saw myself sooner rather than later. And what I saw was that after I’d kicked off those stinking shorts, had my epiphany, scribbled a note to self and taken the phone call I’d forgotten to put on the clean shorts. I was standing in the gym, a mile from home in my boxers. The ones with little coloured balloons all over them. Awkward.
With hindsight I wish I’d timed my run home. I reckon I might have managed a personal best. One thing I was glad about – my running jacket has a hood.
I don’t go to the gym at weekends. I’m sure by Monday all will be forgotten, but I might try to find a different route.