I don't know about you but I'm sick of this fucking blog. Have you read the last few entries? I mean, seriously, come on! It's all doom and gloom isn't it? There is nothing to entertain, which was the original aim when I started writing this moronic, manic monotony. I got up, I felt bad, I had a crash and felt several degrees worse, I'm actually clinically depressed blah blah blah. So what if I am? There's plenty of people come up with quality writing while in the midst of an 'episode'. So they're all more talented than me too, but try and get into the spirit will you?
So I'm going to try to write something more cheerful and all I have to go on are the events of today. The trouble is it's just a normal Wednesday. A Wednesday at work when it has been my turn to cover reception for the afternoon. What humour could possibly come from any of that? Well none, actually, and anyway it is a strict rule never to write about work just as it is a strict rule never to write about taking heroine or sleeping with girls on the game. I can only vaguely refer to work (see above example regarding reception) otherwise it just gets too complex and dangerous, like trying to tell your girlfriend that you don't like her new hairstyle. Just don't do it.
So what else have I done today? Well I have been to the gym. Around a month ago I decided to take advantage of an offer for LJMU staff (ooh, careful......) which allows me to visit the gym half price. For £13 a month I can get unlimited access to the myriad of pain-giving machinery that lies within the walls of Lifestyles on Victoria Street. What else am I going to spend £13 a month on anyway, other than heroine and girls on the game? Exactly. I had to have an induction at which a strangely small young man called Dave (why is everyone called Dave?) took me through the hows, the whys and the do-you-mind-if-I-dont's of a training regime. Dave's not a great advert for Lifestyles in terms of his own physique. All of the other instructors are either muscly men or girly girls with impossibly small arses. If I had a psychiatrist (which I desperately need, no doubt) he or she might reasonably ask why, if I had to point out anything about the girls it would be the smallness of their arses. Anyway, Dave is different, Dave represents the man on the street and in a way that works. When you meet Dave you instantly feel better about the fact that your last workout prior to joining the gym was when you moodily threw basketballs at (literally at) a basket on the night you decided to give up playing basketball five years ago. Well that's how exercise ended for me anyway. Raising your heart rate by looking at girly girls with impossiby small arses doesn't count.
The best (or worst depending on which way you look at it) thing about Lifestyles is the arm bike, or the Top-XT as they pretentiously refer to it. Basically it's like an exercise bike for people like me who just can't find it in them to get their legs to move. You operate it by rotating your arms in a forward motion, a bit like doggy paddle only with your fists closed because you're holding on to a handle. Two handles, to be precise. I do 10 minutes on this and the level of resistance goes up and down every two and a half minutes. Dave did tell me exactly why this would benefit me at the induction and I bought into every word. What he didn't tell me is that after three minutes I'd be breathing like Anakin after his fiery dust-up with Obi-Wan. But you can't stop. If you stop it becomes 10 times more difficult to get the thing moving again and you're entering a whole new world of pain. I learned this the hard way, naturally.
In terms of weights machines there is nothing really that can be done in a wheelchair, particularly one which doesn't have brakes. Which is most wheelchairs. Taxi drivers, bus drivers and train guards are regularly aghast when I roll in to position on their particular mode of transport and inform that I don't have any brakes. If I'm feeling sexist and partuclarly lacking in wit I will tell them that brakes are for girls, but the real reason I don't have them is that I have experienced the near self-harming agony that is trapping one's fingers in said brakes on too many occasions. Frankly, they just get in the way and I would much rather take my chances that I will roll down the bus aisle and out of the emergency exit onto the St.Helens Linkway than put my fingers anywhere near those contraptions ever again. My legs don't work, I really need my hands and fingers. So, back to the weights machines.
Unfortunately for the less mobile than me it is necessary to transfer from my wheelchair on to the seat to use the chest press, shoulder press, pec-deck and vertical something or other. What is more, if you are small like me you have to raise the adjustable seat to it's highest possible point in order to get your body in the right position for the exercise to work properly. On more than one occasion I have failed to lock the seat properly and have found myself suddenly, sharply and without warning slumping down two feet towards the ground mid-lift. Every time a disabled person has a minorly dangerous episode of this nature the able bodied general public react as if we have just been pushed parachute-less out of a helicopter. It doesn't matter how many times you explain that you are ok and that your arse hasn't actually left the seat, able bodied people will never fail to be mortified by this kind of thing. Many of them compound this by trying to help in some way, like the train driver who saw me pull up on to my back wheels to prepare to roll down the ramp to leave the train, didn't like the look of what I was doing (although I do it almost every day) and decided it might be a good idea to try and instead pull me down the ramp by my shoulders from in front of me. I nearly died. Note to all able-bodied people: If I am not bleeding and all my limbs remain attached, don't try to fucking help me, ok?
All the machines at Lifestyles are operated with a key which contains all the information about your training programme and allows you to access training results at the end of the session. I'm still trying to persuade Dave that it would be useful if he could programme my key to let me know how far I have travelled on the arm-bike (sorry, Top-XT) each session, but he just keeps repeating that if I want the resistance altering I just need to tell him. Thanks. It's all a bit of a pity because the training results have 'neat' little diagrams showing a Tour De France map and the Statue Of Liberty which are a half-way interesting way of showing you how you have done that day. If only Dave could be arsed to tell me what the rest of it all means, strength index, performance index, all of that crap. He steadfastly refuses but to be fair he has got his hands full making sure I don't hurt myself. Though he didn't apply that logic to the last female customer I saw enduring one of his inductions. I don't know what he had said to her but she was genuinely in tears. Poor girl, the gym hurts.
On the way home I was approached by a youth dressed as a clown. I say youth because his mask and clown suit made it difficult to tell how old he was but surely nobody over the age of 12 would engage in such shenannigans just because the date happens to be within a week of October 31. His mission to scare the living shit out of me failed only because I saw him coming from hundreds of yards away around the corner. By the time he got close enough to growl at me and thrust his mock dagger (I know?) in my direction the whole thing was about as scary as Andrew Flintoff in a tent. What was of more concern was the distinct smell of dog turd which prevailed throughout the journey back from the train station and the brief conversation I had with a friend about his gambling problems. I arrived home to find that the last number calling my home phone was my home phone number, and during the writing of this entry the phone rang again, and again it was my home number which apparently called. I'm so glad I pay BT so much for their excellent service.
Just another Wednesday, then.