Stuff It: Yet Another Embarrassing Bike Story

I am trying desperately, urgently to lose five pounds.  Five evil pounds with their horrid little claws clinging tenaciously to my buttocks.  I have been duking it out with these last five pounds for months.

Months.  Plural.  As in since October.

So there I was in spin class Monday night, ready to throw down with the Flab Five.  I was wearing a shirt and shorts.  Two pairs of shorts, actually.  Nobody in my spin class wears only Spandex shorts and if you’ve ever been the only one in the room in Spandex, you know it’s a less than comfortable feeling.  But I love me some Spandex.  It wicks, not to mention the joy of extra butt padding.  So I ride with double shorts.

Spin class started just fine.  I was killing it.  My legs were speedy quick and I kept cranking up the tension.  I was in the zone.  I am never in the zone.  I could just see skinnier thighs in my future.

And then I felt something funny in my Spandex.

Something lumpy and soft and a teensy bit scratchy.  Something definitely not the slick, slidy polyester goodness of Spandex.

I didn’t know what to do.

There was no way I was getting off my bike and heading to the bathroom to take care of it.  The bathroom is far away and spin class is only 45 minutes long.  I had those last five pounds in my sight and I was not going to miss a single second of spin class.

But there was no way I was reaching down in there in a roomful of people.  Besides who knows what I would have pulled out.  It could have been something as innocuous as a dryer sheet, but knowing my luck, it more likely would have been my most shamefully tattered pair of undies.

So I decided to ignore it, to put my mental game to the test.  I’ve got mental game to spare.  The foreign object was trapped in my Spandex just below my right hip.  I could deal with that.  I’ve ridden with much worse things many a time.

When we stood up to climb, my quads were shredding the hill.  I kept turning the tension knob up higher and higher.  I was owning the zone.

And then the lumpy thing started to inch its way over and down to, uh, um, a more centralized location.

I was already sweating buckets, but I could feel my face flush even deeper.  As I hammered away on the bike, I whispered a prayer of thanks for having pulled on double shorts.  I loosened up the drawstring on the outer pair to disguise the monkey business that was happening in my nether regions.  I fidgeted to try to get the thing to move back over to a less uncomfortable area.  No dice.  Instead it relocated further South.

I looked down and there was a giant bulge where no woman should have a bulge.  If it were possible to die of embarrassment, I’m sure I would have keeled over on the spot.

Several times I nearly worked up the nerve to reach in and pull out whatever it was that was ailing me.  But the thing about spin class is there really isn’t anywhere to put stuff.  I didn’t have a bag or a purse I could nonchalantly drop said object into.  Even if I’d gone on a rescue mission, I would’ve then had to stop pedaling, unclip from my bike and walk to the trash can in the front of the room to deposit whatever treasure I retrieved from the recesses of my shorts.

Absolutely.  No.  Way.

So for the remainder of the class, I tried not to fidget, lest things shift into a more precarious position.  I tell you, never in my life had spin class felt so long.  Whatever was down there had gone from mildly scratchy to just this side of sandpaper.

When the class was over and I was back in the privacy of my own home, I peeled off my shorts and there crumpled up in a sweaty wad was a sock that had been missing since laundry day.

Yep, I’d stuffed my shorts for spin class.

I feel like there are some jokes ripe for the picking here.  Something about sock monkeys or ‘socking it to you’ or something along those lines, but the truth is on Monday night I gained an iota of respect for anyone who can walk around for more than five minutes with a sock in their pants.  My hat is off to them.

Apparently my socks are, too.

Tension & Resolution

One of the thousands of reasons I love riding my bike is that is gives me opportunity for reflection.  Tonight in spin class, I cranked and cranked and cranked the tension knob until my quads were bands of fire.  Then my spin instructor told me to crank it up some more.  Just when I thought my calf muscles would burst, he said, “Good job.  Now take it down.  Way down.”  I cannot adequately express the relief I felt when all the tension was released.  I was so happy I was seeing white.

It’s appropriate that I was reflecting on tension tonight because I was teaching a lesson on that very thing today.  Our focus during writing was how to create tension in fictional pieces.  We talked about pushing the problem to its absolute limit and then providing a satisfying resolution.

As I conferred with students, I was thrilled with their desire to add layers to their conflict.  I was equally pleased with the thought they were giving to word choice and expression.  They wrote with consideration for their audience and it showed.

They were truly crafting stories.  All year long I’ve been cranking up my expectations, impressing upon them the skills and habits of writers.  Lessons on voice, word gathering, developing setting, creating tension, word choice.  It all came together today.    Today my sweet six year olds internalized the most important lesson of all.  They are writers, real writers.  I couldn’t ask for a better resolution.