As I huffed and puffed away on the eliptical machine, Rigo helpfully adjusted the intensity up or down, seemingly sheerly according to his whim. When I was in a slower cycle, he’d ask questions like, “Do you drink as much water as you should?” (probably not), “Do you drink a lot of coffee?” (yep, and then some) and when I answered, he’d respond ominously, “I could tell.” I haven’t been to church in quite a few months, but apparently I’ve found another place to make me feel guilty: the gym.
I tend to go a good job at the gym when there’s someone there to tell me what to do, whether it’s a trainer, my sister, or my dad (on my own I read the New Yorker while lazily pedaling), so when we got to the bicep machine, I did my very best, despite feeling like my arms might fall off. The real problem, which I didn’t want to admit to fit and serious Rigo, is that my arms are some kind of sore from Wii tennis. I felt Rigo wouldn’t approve of the fact that the only actual exercise I’ve been getting for a while has been from a videogame. (But man, is it fun! Grouchypants and I have been playing just about nonstop since he got it last Sunday. And the little Miis remind me, comfortingly, of the little Fisher Price toys I had growing up.)
But I’ve been freed from the shackles of work and children at least until July, when summer school starts. I’ve got a few out-of-town plans this summer – to Hawaii to visit petit, home to Pittsburgh for the wedding of a very good high school friend, hopefully a weekend at the beach – but I’m also hoping to spend a bit more time here on the interweb. I read so many interesting things on so many blogs – but I almost never comment, and my writing here has been sparse, at best. (I’d like to say I’ve been spending my time educating our future, but mostly I’ve been on the couch, although sometimes grading while drinking beer.)
Ah yes, while I’m talking about the couch – did you watch the season finale of The Office? And if so did you DIE when Jim returned from New York to finally ask Pam out, having been wooed by her yogurt-lid medal and handwritten note of encouragement? Now I predict that season 4 will begin with their date being interrupted by Karen, rightegously angry, because HELLO, Jim left her in New York. I was on a date once that ended with the words, “Oh, shit, that’s my girlfriend” as we got out of the car to go inside his apartment, and let me tell you, ladies, it was not fun, just skanky and unnerving.
But here’s what’s more interesting to me about the season finale – is Jan being punished for something? What happened to her character? During Michael’s disastrous interview with corporate it’s revealed that the job he’s interviewing for is Jan’s – she’s being fired. And not for poor performance of the branches she supervises, or any other ostensibly reasonable rationale, but because under that steely, efficient exterior, she’s apparently a total nutjob, of the most lamentably stereotypical kind. For the past two years, she’s apparently been smoking in her office, taking excessive vacations, and during the time she has been spending at work, doing nothing but (this is my favorite) online shopping! Is she also stuffing chocolate down her throat and calling her mother for dating advice? Are we in a Cathy comic? I find it hard to believe that the tough, no-nonsense woman who said to Michael “please step away from me” when he attempted to “lay some ground rules” about their relationship when they were at the conference has actually been a total wacko the whole time. (Not that this picture of the real-life Melora Hardin strengthens my argument.)
But, before you aruge that her relationship with Michael a sign of underlying instability, I suggest you think about your own dating history. I think it’s perfectly reasonable, and almost a requirement, to feel lonely and date someone who’s entirely beneath you or just wrong for you. I had at least a year in college where every guy I came across fit that description. The most memorable one ended in a bar with said dude’s jaw wired shut after he’d had a particularly nasty drunken fall. And yes, we were in a bar, and he was still drinking heavily. When asked what he would do if he had to throw up, he scrawled on the notepad he was carrying, “Swallow it?” Seriously. In any event, the whole Jan’s actually a nutcase smacks of “behind every successful woman there’s a crazy bitch” thinking, and I don’t buy it. Although I think her weeping proclamation that she’ll just move in with Michael, wear stretchy pants, and await his return from work at 5.15 is fairly genius. I tried it on Grouchypants but he was having none.
Okay, interweb, I end with three questions (one for each of the three of you who read this):
1) Suggestions for summer reading? I’ve got my own list going, and several books coming to me soon via the hold request at the library, but I’m looking especially for suggestions of poets and writing about poetry. I’ve just finished reading Robert Hass’ Twentieth Century Pleasures and loved it, though I found the near-total absence of woman poets immensely troubling. I also started reading The World is Flat yesterday for a class I’m taking this summer, and I’m finding myself annoyed by something in Thomas Friedman’s tone and/or vaguely chatty writing style. Also perhaps the implication that the western world just outsource all the work you don’t have to be very smart to do to India, China, etc, so those of us in America can get down to some serious innovating with our serious American brains. Do you have thoughts about the book? (And I realize I may be misinterpreting his argument, since I’ve just started the book.)
2) Have you seen any good movies lately? Grouchypants and some work friends and I had free tickets to see Knocked Up last night; I went only because it was free, but I ended up having a great time. I’ve read interesting reviews on both Salon and Slate – Slate’s Dana Stevens has some insightful words about the movie’s depiction of women, which I think are spot-on.
3) Is “live every week like it’s shark week” a far more popular search than I would have imagined, or is someone consistently finding this site that way? Almost every day someone’s searched that phrase and ended up here.
My couch is calling. See you again soon.