Don’t Call Me Gym!
Friday just gone l had to attend a medical assessment for my injured neck and shoulder. No one told me it was a full medical assessment to update their existing records.
So thinking l was there for my neck and shoulder, imagine my surprise at the first question ..
“So, you have Asperger’s syndrome then?”
“Yes, but what has that got to do with my neck or my shoulder?”
“Just asking. How do you feel about that?”
“How do l feel about what? The question or that l am on the spectrum with my Asperger’s?”
“Not a great deal, l have gotten used to it.”
“You were diagnosed when you were 44, when did you first know you were on the spectrum?”
“When l was 44.”
“Right, of course, no suspicions prior to then?”
“What suspicions l was on the spectrum? Well when l was younger l knew l was quirky, but Asperger’s as a term wasn’t floating around at that point. I was considered hyperactive and ‘different’.”
“Mm, ok, and you also have bipolar?”
“Yes, diagnosed when l was 42.”
“How do you feel about that?”
“Well what’s to feel? If you ask me a specific question, perhaps l can answer you more efficiently maybe?”
“Just general questions.”
“Fine ..? Somewhat bewildered, as to why these are being asked again when l am here about my neck and shoulder?”
“Your depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide attempts would you say they were tied in with either your Asperger’s and your bipolar? And how about your stomach problems?”
“For goodness sake, yes of course, stress and anxiety walk hand in bloody hand with both of those things – they are almost married. Am l bothered by them 11 and 13 years after diagnosis? No, l am used to them and happy with them in my life. It’s about balance, we all seek balance. I am more balanced since diagnosis. Because now l know why l am the way l am. I do eat a healthier diet now by the way, again balance.”
“Are you right handed or left handed, and is the damage to your arm in the right or the left?”
“Seriously? You don’t have it written in that file that the injury is in my right arm, and the pinched nerve is in my neck? You seem to have everything else there except my inside leg measurement? I am right handed.”
“Yes of course that would make sense, being right handed, the damage would be in your predominate side.”
“Well l am not ambidextrous, so yes.”
“How sporty are? Do you take part in a lot of exercise , have you ever done gym?”
Well l just looked at her in some incredulous disbelief, but as l did so l suddenly thought back to various times over the years about that question …
“So what sports do you like Rory?” Asked the PE teacher on my first day in the Gym at school. “What did you play in Australia?”
“Well l played a lot of hockey, baseball, swimming, running sports, jumping as in long jump and hurdles, cross country, high jump, the ol’ hop skip jump.” I answered honestly.
“Mm, didn’t hear cricket or football in that line up, did you not play any Aussie rules?” Mr Jenkins asked.
“Not really my thing in truth, mostly as said ‘running, or field training and athletics and hockey, not much soccer at all.”
“It’s called football here.” Jenkins sniped.“We don’t tend to have a lot of the running side to things, bit of cross country and softball. Same as the baseball.”
“Not really Sir, baseball is baseball, softball is softball. Soccer may well be ‘football’, but it’s still soccer in my eyes, and Australian football is more like your rugby, as in proper football, and not gentle rugby Sir. I didn’t play it as l didn’t like it and l was awarded the choice. I became a Hockey captain for my school at 11 and held it till l left Australia, in 77, as in last year Sir.”
“Right, l see you’re going to be trouble!”
“Well you are rather good at archery Rory, must be said, l think you have a deadeye, to hit the target that many times. I hear you like canoeing, do that in the scouts don’t you?” Asked Mr Wright, the new PE Teacher, and Jenkins was fired for being ‘ansy’ and a bit of a know it all bully.
“Yes Sir, next to running and cross country and hiking as in walking Sir, love a good walk l do.”
“Very good, well, apart from cross country, we don’t have a lot of running here as you know, maybe it needs to be introduced?”
“I am still somewhat surprised we have no track events here Sir. Too hyperfocussed on this gentle rugby thing l think.”
“It’s called football Rory! Have you thought about signing up for the cricket team?”
“No Sir, not in a million Sundays would l ever host that thought.”
“Why not?” Mr Wright asked.
“Well it’s somewhat boring Sir, surely you as an intelligent man can see that?”
“Well what about signing up for the rugby?”
“Why on earth would l do that? If l had wanted to play Rugby in England sir, l would have played that silly bloody game in Australia called Aussie Rules!!”
“When was the last time you did any kind of running Rory?” Dr Wander asked me.
“Well l do a bit of cross country, but not quality running, not any more.” I answered.
“Well, this knee of yours needs a bit of build up work, l suggest doing some jogging. Let’s start with five miles ok? Come back and see me in a couple of weeks, and if that has not helped, l suggest weights.”
The next day, l leaped out of bed, and did five miles out through woodlands, up down hills, into gullies, and turned around and did five miles back in, got home showered went to college felt brilliant! The day after that l couldn’t move and the Doc had to come out.
“Why on earth did you do ten miles?? Who does that, what about moderation and regulation?” He demanded of me as l lay in bed feeling like l was dying! “Did you jog or run?”
“Both and you said five miles!” I answered somewhat put out!
“Five miles a week, not five miles each way – you have to build yourself up!”
“Ah, that certainly makes more sense admittedly, ooops!”
“You are going to like this in here Rory, get fit, listen to the music, some right pretty girls in here as well, great for chatting!!” Eddy was well into this whole exercise ‘gym’ thing, l could tell and he made no attempts to hide any of it. There he was in his tight fitting lycra shorts and nipple free singlet just as tight across his six pack, and l was thinking the closest l have been to a six pack is when l go into the off licence for some wine!
I stood there in my way too baggy shorts, uneven socks, scuffed and dirty trainers and overly baggy tee shirt watching him as he was talking and ‘pumping the iron’, with his sweat bandana in bright pink , because the ‘chicks’ liked bright pink as it showed the femine side to you and pondering on what on earth l was doing here in the first place? Why on earth did l even listen to him?
“I am fit Eddy, l don’t need a six or even a ten pack. I am constantly moving, l walk everywhere, l don’t take the tubes. I am a smoker, and still my lung capacity is fine. I eat a healthy diet and l hit the clubs most night from 11pm till 6am and l literally dance the night away. Plus there are a lot of calories to be burnt off with sex you know. Trust me when l say l am healthy!”
Over the pulsating beat in that London gymnasium l could hear a series of grunts from the fellas who were pumping it, or maybe they made the noises for fun. Way too much vibrant lycra, headbands and bandanas galore, chuffy socks and glistening people all nodding their heads like those dogs that used to be in the rear windows of cars.
“I never stop moving Eddy, in fact right now is the slowest l have been all week!” I answered, feeling slightly intimidated by the sheer brutal bulginess of muscle power and testosterone that seemed to be seeping out of every machine! The place had enough bikes to host its own cycling tour, and from there once more all l could hear was a continuous whirring!
I didn’t stay long!
“I am thinking of joining a gym.” Her indoors said, “I need more exercise!”
“What in addition to the horseriding, you need more?”
“Well it’s okay for you, you work non stop with animals, every day you are doing more exercise across a wide range of muscle. But l need to burn off some of this extra poundage! Will you come?”
“No, l don’t have the time to in truth, l work 18 hours a day and fit in horseriding and stable cleaning, so you are right, l do more muscle work than most!”
“I was thinking of going to the gym and getting some exercise in, fancy coming along?” My employer asked.
“When do l have the time? I work with horses all day every day and at the end of most days my limbs and muscles ache, meaning l am working muscles l didn’t know l even had! How about this, you try it!”
She laughed as was her way, “Don’t be silly that’s what l pay you for!”
“Who needs gym, when you are gardening and digging three tonne of compost weekly?”
“Mr Matier? Did you hear the question, you seemed to drift off for a moment. “How sporty are? Do you take part in a lot of exercise , have you ever done gym?”
“Sorry. Done Jim, l don’t think l know any Jims in truth, so no, l have never done gym. As to how sporty l am and how much exercise l am currently doing? I walk my dog, once or twice a day for 30-45 minutes a time. I have a pinched nerve in my neck and a collapsed shoulder in my right arm which is my prime arm. Sadly, l don’t do that much exercise at present, why do you suggest l should? I am in pain these days from the time l wake up to the time l go to bed. Walking is about the best l can hope to achieve.” I answered realising my humour had been lost on her.
“Oh yes of course, your arm, l forgot about that!” She answered, “So l am guessing that you are not that sporty currently then?”
“No, not really!” I answered, “It’s somewhat difficult as l am sure you can imagine?”
“Yes of course, anyway, l think that just about wraps things up here Mr Matier. Thank you for your time.” She said ushering me out of her office.
I suppose looking back, l used to be much sportier that l am now, and if not sportier, l used to do a lot lot more, even as little as five months ago. However how about you, how sporty are you, do you use a gym?