I couldn’t care less about your exercise routine, so why do I think you’ll be interested in mine? Pure arrogance, I guess.

On Friday, I sacrificed my actual workout for a meeting with the weight-room attendant, who rearranged my workout on the computer into three different workouts, to allow for rotating attention to different body parts (something that, now that I’ve typed it out, sounds like it would be illegal in some states) as opposed to one long workout at a time. And breaking it up like that made clear how little I was doing for some muscle groups, so we added some new exercises in, including the leg ab- and adduction machine, which feels like a great way to pull some very delicate muscles. I’ll have to ease into it. But I guess I must be turning into some sort of fitness machine, because I went for a run after this meeting, and, for the first time, my route seemed too short.

I can feel it working.

Feel myself growing more powerful.

Soon my enemies will quail at the mere sound of my heavy stride.

If I had any enemies.

In pet news, dogfighting is on the rise in Baltimore and Zuzu is still digging the wet food. Today we moved on from “beef giblets in gravy” to “ocean fish feast.” Given recent events, I laughed out loud when I read the punchline in Friday’s edition of my favorite currently published comic strip, Get Fuzzy: “Cats never know how good they’ve got it… And yet they know it’s not good enough.”

At 3:17 p.m., my heart began to race and my chest swelled with joy. I had just proved someone wrong, someone who had been the bane of my existence – by leading me to believe that I was wrong – for months. The repercussions should prove interesting, but that’s about all I can say here, except how sweet it is.

I was sitting at the bar in Dizzy Issie’s, one ear on the conversation, one eye on the television. Apparently we will be banning toothpaste imported from China. Dr. Death has been released and strides among us once again (his PR people should tell him to lose the demented grin). The semi-doomed, globe-trotting TB patient hopes he “can be forgiven.” (What travel plans would you make if told you had a disease with only a thirty-percent chance of recovery?) My phone rang. A call from my parents’ house in West Virginia. I figured I’d call back later and so I ignored it, but a second call from the same number a few minutes later struck me as ominous. I ducked outside to answer and heard the following story from my mother, who works the week in Silver Spring but drives to the West Virginia house most weekends, and who had a little adventure on this Friday’s “commute” (as retold in an email she sent me Saturday morning).

Move It Buster (4 OF 8)

From her email:

“I don’t know if it was a turkey vulture, but it was larger than a crow and there are a lot of turkey buzzards around that area.

“I saw them feasting on the shoulder of the divided highway right after Wardensville and stupidly ignored them. Should have moved to the left lane. Suddenly I saw a large wing at the passenger side of the windshield followed by a the sickening sound of impact and glass breaking. It was such a shock but I just kept driving in frozen mobility. I assume there was a dead or badly injured bird on the road behind me. Should I have pulled over? And do what?

“The emptiness of the highway allowed me to look at the damage as I drove on– a concave spider web of shattered glass making an incredibly beautiful pattern in the sunlight. The glass had not been fully penetrated, but shiny particles sprinkled the passenger seat. The question was would the windshield hold–I was smack in the middle of my weekend journey with a hundred miles to go. I stopped briefly at a park to examine the damage more closely and took some pictures. Decisions–call AAA? the Honda Road Service? Keep going? I chose the last option as seeming to be the least complicated.

“So I turned up the Sirius Blue Grass Station and spent the next couple of hours wondering if the whole thing would suddenly collapse or if I would get pulled over for driving an unsafe vehicle especially as I passed through Moorefield and Petersburg. Just 35 miles to go but there were threatening clouds over the Alleghenies and I hoped that it wouldn’t rain. It did of course–a horrendous downpour! I was relieved to find that the rain did not penetrate but I was afraid to turn on the windshield wipers in case the motion would make the whole collapse. I had to pull over because I had no visibility. When the rain did not let up I had to chance turning on the wipers–and (small miracle) they cleaned the drivers side of the windshield and then just flew over the dented part. Pretty sturdy windshield! When I finally pulled into our garage I found that my fingers were still gripping the wheel some time after I had stopped. Definitely time for a drink.

“Monday the glass doctor will come and replace the windshield.

“So was the bird startled and flew into the car by accident? Did it want to attack the black object interrupting its dinner? Who knows. I will certainly be more respectful of birds in the future.”

Buzzard Damage

After the bar we drove to Aaron’s house in Hampden, a few minutes away. Along the way, there were the usual crowds of Hampdenite teenaged boys riding dirt bikes a few sizes too small for them, cretinous and stunted-looking with their knees scissoring up near their ears like grasshopper legs. At Aaron’s house, the conversation turned to sports and I tried to guess which one by listening to the names of the players and teams, but nothing sounded familiar. What sport do the Ducks play? What sport has MVPs? The frequent use of the word “ball” was no help, except in eliminating hockey, but do we even have professional hockey anymore? Kevin picked up a guitar. My attention drifted, my eyes grew heavy. It was nice to get home.

Before bed, I finished the Ian McEwan novel I’d started on the plane on Monday, Enduring Love. All in all, I enjoyed it, but I found myself barely skimming long digressive passages that seemed too transparently designed for the purpose of building tension. An intimation of impending doom at the beginning of a scene, for example, would lead into a long explanation of the state of the historical record concerning the relationship between Wordsworth and Keats, technically related to the characters’ conversation in the moments before said doom, but needlessly and a little preciously detailed, I found. Now that I’m glancing through the medical journal article that inspired the book, reprinted in an appendix at the back, the whole book is starting to feel a little show-offy. I can too clearly picture the author musing, “I wonder if I can flesh out a whole novel from these sparsely narrated facts?” Nowhere near as good as the tight, compressed, claustrophobic little books of his I read during and around my Missoula trip in March, which I recommend much more highly: The Comfort of Strangers, The Cement Garden, and Amsterdam. But the part of Enduring Love you hardly notice, the relationship dynamic that hovers behind the more thriller-like main storyline, is an interesting accomplishment, portraying as it does a very realistic-feeling scenario of a married couple just ceasing to “get” each other, with no clear blame, nothing that either person has obviously done wrong. The world turns, the sun rises and sets, and one day someone just feels differently than he or she used to, and so it goes…

Just before turning in, I accidentally knocked a plastic San Pellegrino bottle off of the top of the fridge. It hit the floor and bounced nearly as high as my waist.

I reconsidered my plan to enjoy a little over ice before bed.

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