My coworker Ericka helpfully shared with me her blog post on running when you're not motivated. It has some great tips, from a great source -- she's a multiple marathon runner and one of the few people I've encountered personally who I would call "scary fit." Actually, that's unfair because Ericka is the opposite of a scary person; I would call her "Chris Trager fit."
One of Ericka's suggestions is just to change into your gym clothes. It sounds like a no-brainer, but think about it: if you're on the fence about whether you're going to work out or not, and you tell yourself "just put your gym clothes on and then decide," once you're suited up you're probably a little more likely to go through with it. But I found my motivation just after taking my regular clothes off. See, I work in a pretty formal office -- there is no such thing as business casual in our office, and casual Fridays are unheard of. It's a suits-and-ties for men, jackets and heels and scarves for women kind of place. And I work out in the office gym, in the basement.
So, I get to the locker room today. I'd rather not be there. And taking off my work outfit is almost as labor-intensive as putting it on -- there are layers, and it's tedious for someone who views the time spent dressing and undressing as minutes I'll never get back in my life. I waffle, as usual, standing and staring at the heap made by my slip, undershirt, dress, scarf, belt, jacket and sandals, next to the smaller heap composed of sneaks and spandex. I hear the beep of someone scanning her keyfob to enter the locker room. And suddenly it hits me: this is my inspiration. How long am I willing to stand around in my unmentionables being indecisive about working out, while running the risk of one of our female veeps walking in and seeing that I wear panties with tiny fuzzy little hearts on them? The answer is clear: quick, grab those sweats!
Question: if there's mold growing on the mushrooms in your fridge, is that redundant?
Tomorrow night I'm going to see my favorite musician, Andrew Bird, live in Baltimore. It will be my second Bird performance; the last time I went was over a year ago with my good friends Josh and Tina, the most perfect people to Birdwatch with. As soon as he stepped on the stage, I blurted, "He's real!"
I love his first few albums, when he was writing quirky and complex tunes. They ranged from more traditionally melodic ("Plasticities," "Scythian Empires") to songs that were more modal and challenging -- songs that took me a few listens before I understood their sound, but which became some of my favorites once I got there, like "Happy Birthday Song." After Noble Beast, though, he started focusing more on (what sounded to me) a far more abstract, shapeless electronic noise-based sound and I started losing interest. With Break it Yourself he's back with a more rock sound ("a more rock sound" for Andrew Bird still being so orchestral, violin-driven and modal that it could only really be classified as rock when compared to his other work). Josh, who's going to the concert with me tomorrow, says some of the songs from Break it Yourself reminded him a little bit of The Smiths, when listened to with the windows down while cruising at night on an empty highway. My favorite is "Give it Away."
This February, I was heading to a doctor's appointment, where I would learn the lab results of a breast biopsy I'd had the week before. My iPod, on shuffle, played this song just as I walked out of the Metro station into the daylight. Every time I hear it, I whisper a little grateful prayer in my heart, because everything was okay.
My coworkers Ericka and Michelle have inspired me to start blogging again, and my roommate, who is talking to the vegetables while she makes dinner, made me realize what kind of blog I seek: a stir-fry blog, grabbing whatever's in the fridge, singing as I go along. Coming up, I hope to use this as a place to write about my adventures in Hong Kong and Bangkok, a trip I'll be taking in just one more week. In the future, I'll be writing about novel writing, publishing, cooking, working out, life in Our Nation's Capital, and incidents of an amusing nature.