Tuesday, April 27, 2004

When you try to exercise and the universe answers “Boy, who you tryin’ to kid?”

So I turned in my thesis today. Three days early, even after having had the ring-binding prised open by the lovely people at Ryman’s stationers to change the bibliography for something … more consistent.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this felt a bit anticlimactic.

Perhaps surprisingly I decided the answer was exercise.

Especially as I’d already cycled from “the wrong side of the tracks” to the Law School and back again.

It being close to the end of the calendar month, my reserves of local currency are running a little low. Going to yoga was going to involve: finding a “cash point” (ATM) that dispenses five pound notes; going to my bank and making a manual withdrawal; or going to a supermarket and buying items up to the value of 2.45 and getting five pounds “cash back” (EFTPOS).

Given that British Banks should just have done with it and take down their individual logos and post a nice, accurate “abandon all hope ye who enter here and despair” sign, I was kind of hoping for the cash-point solution to come up trumps. No such luck.

As I didn’t feel like going through the farce of buying something I only just needed at the supermarket, and really didn’t have the kind of camping gear and gritty determination needed for a bank queue, I did what any lateral thinker would do.

I counted my change and decided to go to the pool instead.

Invariably my mid-afternoon plans of swimming (on no less than four occasions now) have been greeted with “I’m sorry sir, we’re closed, but if you consult your almanac, the position of the stars and the speaking clock you’d discover its really much better to come back some other time.”

As a rule, they’re open ‘till seven at night. It’s just that I always arrive during an exception, it seems. And today was no exception to the rule that a Doug who tries to hit the pool at five will meet not water, but polite English indifference.

So I cycled back home again, went to the supermarket, bought 1.25 of sandwich ham and drew out my five pounds.

It takes at least twenty minutes to cycle through peak-hour traffic to Wolfson College for yoga at 6 pm on a Tuesday. After the supermarket stop-off I was close for time.

I struggled with might and main, I veered around roundabouts signalling with gay abandon and laughing devil-may-care into the grills of Range Rovers. I cackled with the superiority of a cyclist skirting the stationary lines of cars backed up twenty deep at lights. I nodded sagely to the cows by the cycle path.

I arrived, panting, to find myself on time and my yoga venue full of “Open University” exam equipment. To wit, desks and papers and “Silence! And Begone! Exams Progresseth!” kind of signs.

Consulting the Porters (as is done in times of crisis) I found yoga had been set back an hour. What does one do to kill such an hour?

One goes and watches “Friends” at the flat of … um … mates … who live in Grange Road. One has tea and Easter eggs and chats and stays to watch the news, slowly abandoning all thought of exercise.

Other than cycling home through the gathering mists.

Damn the locals. They were right. It has got cold and windy again.

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