Posted by Kathy Waller
So I’m sitting at the computer bar at Bookpeople again. I should be revising a short story that drags on and on–I think it will be a good story, when I finish, maybe next year–but I am distractible. I was not distractible in school. But in real life, especially when I’m still in the grips of May mold, I am a Facebook magnet.
I broke away from Facebook in favor of a task I wanted to do–this–but I can’t stop thinking about my immediate surroundings.
Two empty stools away from me sits a Danish journalist named–no, I’ll omit his name. It’s very Danish, though. He’s stationed in New York and is in Texas to research and write about prison reform. I know all this because he’s talking on his cell phone, and he’s only two empty stools away.
I didn’t know Texas is reforming prisons, but I try not to know too much these days. Some would say I’m abdicating responsibility, and I am, but I like low blood pressure numbers, and getting too much news from the mass media or social media–Facebook, especially–drives them up.
See? Distracted by Facebook again.
I’ll move this along.
On Saturday, my friend Elinor and I joined a gym. It’s new in town, and there’s no contract. No contract was the draw. If we bail, we just call up and say, Cancel, no doctor’s note required, and our husbands don’t have to go down and threaten to beat up a personal trainer to get us free. (I’m pretty sure my husband would say, If you want anybody beaten up, you’ll have to do it yourself.)
Anyway, we signed up. I had my free session with a personal trainer on Monday. He put me through some tests and I flunked. I knew I would flunk.
Here I’ll sidetrack to say that ever since my first stress test, eons ago, I’ve made it a point to go the distance. When the cardiologist doing an echocardiogram said he’d like me to stay on the treadmill for twenty minutes, if I could, I thought, Just you watch. I wasn’t in great shape then, and I thought I was going to fly apart at the joints, but I walked for twenty minutes, right up until he and the technician pulled me off the treadmill and dragged me to a gurney across the room.
It’s a matter of pride. If they’d told me I would have to lie there and hold my breath for a minute or two or three–it felt like eon–I might have let pride off the hook and stopped early. But if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have gotten my head pats. I love it when doctors give me head pats.
Anyway, I wasn’t surprised at flunking the trainer’s tests, because, for various reasons, several of them justified, I’ve spent most of the past five years sitting down. And I won’t deny that I like sitting down. Sitting down is the best thing I do.
But sitting down means losing muscle mass, which leads to loss of balance, which leads to falling. I’ve known this forever, and I’ve thought about it a lot lately, but not enough to take action. I’ve fallen several times. I’m a pretty good faller: My fourth-grade teacher, who, we students thought, knew everything, told us we would be less likely to break bones if we relaxed when we fell. In the past three weeks, I’ve demonstrated she was correct. I wrote about the most amusing fall, the one when my suitcase attacked me in the Washington, D.C. Metro car, at Austin Mystery Writers.
The fall pertinent to this post, however, happened on Tuesday, the day before I was to show up at the gym to work on building muscle mass (funny thing, the personal trainer agreed with me about that). In the BookPeople parking lot, lost in the world of fiction, I stepped off a curb into a vacant parking space and suddenly flew. But not far. It would have been a soft landing if I hadn’t come down on my left knee. And if the space had been cushioned by more than an oil slick.
Anyway, the knee didn’t hurt much, so I went to an appointment and then went home and ate dinner and then sat down. And when I stood up to go to bed, a stabbing pain told me I should have iced the joint. Icing late isn’t the most effective treatment. Still, the next day, after I’d spent an hour hobbling around like Walter Brennan, I had only a hint of a limp.
Anyway, I was in no condition to tempt fate.
So tomorrow will be my first workout at the new gym.
And I cannot help wishing I’d done it yesterday.
Anyway, the Danish journalist has gone. But his jacket still hangs across the back of the stool. What to do, what to do. I could take it home for safekeeping, then call BookPeople and leave my phone number, and then, when he called, I could tell him to meet me at some exotic venue, where I would return it to him. An assignation, as it were.
Come with me to the Kasbah.
Googling is just filled with serendipity. Checking it for spelling, I found Austin’s Kasbah Hookah Lounge and Bar. My words could never describe it properly, so I’ll quote from the website:
“Hookah flavor of the night at the Kasbah Hookah Lounge & Bar is GOOD TIMES which is a mixture of citrus fruits (i.e. oranges, lemons, cherries, etc.) with hint of mint….yummy!!! Come join us and the “smoking caterpillar” for some “good times” with some great people, great music, and of course deliciously prepared hookahs. Don’t forget about our “pineapple party bowls” and UNLIMITED HOOKAH. NBA playoffs on all the TV’s. We’re open until 2 am and hope to see you here tonight. See you in the cloudz!”
I’ve wanted to watch someone smoke a hookah since I was seven, the first time I read Alice in Wonderland. But the Austin Kasbah doesn’t appear to be appropriate for an assignation, with the NBA playoffs and all. Anyway, I’ve never had an assignation, I wouldn’t know how to have an assignation, and I’m absolutely certain my husband wouldn’t like me to have an assignation.
In case anyone is wondering, I’ll ask a doctor to verify my diagnosis this week.
Kathy Waller blogs at To Write Is to Write Is to Write (http://kathywaller1.com) and at Austin Mystery Writers (http://austinmysterywriters.com). Two of her stories will appear in the anthology Murder on Wheels, soon to be published by Wildside Press.