Tuesday, April 08, 2008


He walks into a Plexi-glass walled gym. Six exercise bikes face him, four of the standard and two of a reclining kind. The two to his left are out of order, the other four occupied, carrying riders who spin on the spot en route to their invisible goals.

He looks to his right, a widened corridor of a room filled with
gleaming white machines: kitchen chrome shells that frame rectangular black slabs. Metal bricks ready to work all the major muscle groups in exact and staggered increments of gravity's direction; Their reflections thrown off in glaring electric light from rows of mirrors that line an opposite wall. Flag bearers for narcissism, vanity and good sense sift through and idle in unequal measure .

Behind the first class bikes are the others in a demoted row of the 2nd class manual variety. No heart monitors, menus of training settings, rpms , watts, calories burned, only tension meters that mechanically tense the blue belts on heavy white metal wheels, ratcheting up or down the tension for a riders particular tolerance . They're left alone, neglected, put upon, almost forsaken . He obliges one of them carrying a magazine. Something picked up right there and then to read, to avoid the blank gaze, avoid the subtitles on the TV, the mistaken leer, to not be trapped in this here and now, of emptiness with nothing else to do but pedal. What better to read than the last days of Heath Ledger written by a writer who writes about Golf. She's good. No, she's great. A story about having it all and losing it by mistake.

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