We hit a pipe of Sour Diesel inside my friend Kevin’s steamy one-bedroom apartment and called Lynn, his new personal trainer.
The Green Door Fitness gym is a hole in the wall with a big tractor tire out front on the sidewalk that I suspected was for new-age workouts and also sufficed as a form of free advertisement. The A/C had gone out. On the wall, above the water fountain and beneath the modishly exposed piping, was a signboard with a Thomas Jefferson quote: “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Kevin read the sign aloud as though he was really saying: This place is out of our league.
Lynn, who I don’t believe knew we were stoned, showed us to a locker. She was a tanned, middle-aged Southerner with sinewy muscles — intermittently she spoke over the sound of her beeping wristwatch. Behind us, a sweaty couple carved from petrified wood had moved from yoga mats to weight sets. The woman flicked at her partner’s arm band. “We will never reach our ten thousand steps!”
The air was ripe with an energized anxiety — the molecules which lick up fat — turning average men and women into Renaissance sculptures.
In the ceiling-to-floor mirrors, Kevin and I caught each other’s glances, unsure what to do with our arms, as Lynn set us up for circuit training. “I kind of feel like a trapped squirrel,” I whispered. Kevin chewed his nails, yawned, half-stretched and then, catching one last reflection of himself in the mirror, stopped and said, “Do squirrels pant, or do they sweat?”
Lynn interrupted before I could theorize and showed us to the middle of the gym, where we would do three sets of pull-ups, push-ups and ski-jumps, each for a minute and all in row. This was not going to be an issue. I am tall and limber. My girlfriend has always said: A man of great physique. The gym intimidation factor mellowed into my high and nothing seemed serious. I remember thinking how my pre-med friend told me we are the only specie that jogs.
The first circuit was difficult, and it wasn’t until the third set of our circuit that I felt alarms going off in my stomach. Nothing quite ruins a high like a pang of nausea. Kevin commented on my pale cheeks. Lynn smiled and clapped as though the sound could bring color to my face. It helped to close my eyes.
In between pull-ups and ski-jumps I found my safe place.
The high allowed my mind to wander into small flashes of the past. When my girlfriend and I are stoned we like to think of ourselves as animals. Once she told me she was a migrating Canada goose. We were on our deck. It was nighttime. The moon was out and the smell of rain clung to Capitol Hill. There’s so much pressure on the geese at the front, the wind, the ability to stay focused and on course. “Even if you are tired,” she had said, “pretend you are not.”
Lynn led Kevin and me through a few more circuits. We bounced up and down, held ropes, rolled and pushed through endless sit-ups. Lynn told us when to move on and when to stay put. She worked as a sort of coach, but in my stoned and overworked-coma, I felt something motherly from her. A charm that forced me to try my best. Her claps, her corrections and the way she touched my shoulders as a reminder to maintain my posture, enabled me to feel a comfort in the dissociation between my head and stomach. If I’d thrown up, I thought, I may not even have to clean it up.
After an hour, the workout ended. Kevin and I drank water from the fountain. So tired, we wiped our sweat away with the same white towel.
We said our goodbyes to Lynn and began the short walk to Kevin’s apartment. “I think,” Kevin said, “if we did that three days a week, we could make something of ourselves.”
Really, that’s a thing?
Cannabis-infused coffee. Machine-rolled marijuana cigarettes. Joint-peddling vending machines. A THC-infused, ladies-only lube. A food truck selling only infused edibles. The massage of your life, via a marijuana-infused lotion. Yes, really, these are all real things.