I don't know who invented the iPod, but the value of the iPod, the real value of it for me is the way it ignites my inner ZZUB. I've got a bunch of great songs downloaded to it. Songs that are new. Songs that lift my soul. Disney songs for when I need a li'l vacation. Country songs. And songs from way back yonder. That make me feel young again.
When I hop on the eliptical at home, I usually watch TV. I've got a TV opposite the eliptical so I can watch a show while I work out. But because I've got the shortest attention span imaginable, it helps me to watch a show without commercials. Which is why I've got a DVD player there, too. And this also helps explain why you're getting bombarded with West Wing quotes. It's a good show for me to watch while elipticalling. No, it's not a word. But it should be.
But when I'm on the road, as I was this past weekend, obviously, I can't follow my normal drill so I have to find a new way to occupy my mind as I elipticalise. The hotel we were staying at had a really nice fitness room and my first morning there anyway, I had the place to myself. I had my iPhone, my earplugs and a playlist to keep me distracted from the sheer boredom of the eliptical.
I started out with my new favorite song, the Rockafeller Skank. Yeah, that's right. ZZUB's got some Fatboy Slim on his iPhone. The ZZUB's so brotha. I freakin' love that song! In fact, it's my new ringtone. If that song don't make you want to get up and sweat, well nothing will. A few songs into my playlist is Triumph's Magic Power. "I'm young now, I'm wild now, I'm born to be free." You know the song. And if you don't then you were born in the wrong decade.
The machine was facing a set of glass doors which looked out across a fancy, shmancy LA hotel plaza and over the hedges, between some buildings, I could see into the distance.
And into the past.
Running (if we can call it that) on the eliptical, staring through the glass doors, off into the distance, I could see myself back in the summer of the waning days of my early life. Driving home late at night. The windows open. The roof open. The cool, humid night in Ft. Lauderdale. It was the summer of '88 and I was back at home. Working two jobs. Working harder than I'd ever worked before. But loving it just the same. All my friends were home that summer. Indeed, 1988 was the last summer we all came home. Sometime the previous Fall, I'd signed up with Columbia House and ordered 12 tapes for cheap. And because I liked Magic Power, I included Triumph in my order.
Do you remember buying an entire album for one song?
Back when I was 20, I loved driving home. From anywhere. We lived out west of town and the ride home was always a good 15 or 20 minutes. I hated that drive when I was on my way someplace. Hated it when I had to be home by a certain time. But when I was coming home from a date, or hanging with my friends, or even from work. Man, that was sweet. The air. The music.
Back on the eliptical, I was listening to my soundtrack and I could at once see myself in the distance and yet feel it all over again. The gear shift in my hand. The yellow glow of the street lights. The sound the tape deck made when it clicked from one side to the next. My arm on the door, my wrist resting on the top of the wheel. The feel of Ft. Lauderdale at night. On my face. In my hair. On my arm.
I remember liking that time. The loud music and the night air. The freedom of driving on an isolated road. Even at 20, I knew I was living one of the greatest times in my life. I remember feeling young. And knowing I was free.
I'm not saying I want to be 20 again. I'm perfectly content being my age. I guess I'm saying that although I'm 42, I don't think of myself as 42. You know, in my head, I'm still about 21 years old. I'm young, thick of hair and an entire life in front of me. Sometimes when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I'm surprised by the guy I see staring back at me. He's older than I am. Mature lines on his face. His hair is thinner. He's got a touch of grey.
It occurs to me that I get on the danged eliptical to try to keep myself in some semblance of shape. So that maybe when I look at myself in the mirror, I'm not so surprised by the guy I see there. But when I put on my earphones and jack into my iPod, I get to visit a sweet time in my little life. When I was young and had nowhere to go.
So what I'm saying is, not only did I go to LA this past week. I also went back to Ft. Lauderdale.
And I had a really nice time there.