Thursday, November 08, 2018

The Unknown Nemesis

[Sorry, I was going to do costume count today, but it's going to be on Monday now.]

I found out today that I have a nemesis at the YMCA.

I've seen this guy once before. He's about 6'4", 240+, big guy. Balding. Big tattoo on the left bicep. He always uses the elliptical machines in the row in front of where I ride the stationary bike.

Now, I will freely admit that he doesn't fit into the traditional mold of a nemesis. He's not trying to kill me, or kidnap me, or take me to his secret lair.

He does, however, clear his throat. Kind of a throat clearing half cough.

Every five seconds. Into perpetuity.

It's the sound of a desperate man's last attempt to reach that handhold on the ledge before he's swept off the mountain.

Oh, and yes, it's loud. So, so loud.

Today, I was working out, not paying attention to much of anything, and suddenly, there it is. I look up and he's right in front of me. Like a true nemesis, appearing out of nowhere.

I've still got fifteen minutes to ride, too, to hit my distance goal (a really shitty goal compared to ten years ago, but it's still a goal). But if I listen to this guy channel Boris Becker and a tuberculosis patient, I may lose my mind, and what good will goals do me then?

I consider all this, and then I do the only logical thing possible: I crank up the resistance on the bike, so high that I may be approaching the speed of a rocket sled. And I hit 100 RPMs at that resistance, because I'm going to get to my goal, but I'm going to do it before I lose my mind.

I'm really starting to sweat after about a minute, because this has gone from a leisurely, book-reading ride to political revolution intensity, and I will not be denied my freedom.

I start to shout "Viva la revolution!" at my nemesis, but all I can really see is his ass. This is how some revolutions end, probably, but not this one. I ride and ride and ride and look down at the distance readout.

And suddenly, I'm free.

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