Monday, April 14, 2014

You Deserve Nothing

You're sensing a pattern, aren't you?

I blog about once a month (if that) and lately I've been blogging about fitness.

Because it beats the hell out of blogging about vulnerability, being a good person, or DC culture.

But... DC culture is fitness culture.

After years of going to different gyms and finally finding the Greatest Gym Ever, floating around to different classes until I found a rhythm that made sense, I've learned a lot about how obsessed people are with fitness here.

In fact... there are a LOT of similarities between fitness culture in DC and religious culture in The South.

Shall we?

In The South, the lady you meet at the gas pump (and yes you will talk to the lady at the gas pump) will not ask you if you go to church but where you go to church.

In DC, the people you meet at happy hour (and yes you will go to happy hour) will not ask you if you go to a gym but what gym you're a member of....

And just as with church in The South, your answer will say A LOT about you.

This isn't a perfect science, but there are really only about four kinds of people:
"I'm Episcopalian" = "I love yoga... no, you don't understand—I LOVE yoga." 
"I'm Church of Christ but I was raised Baptist" = "I might seem harmless, but in about 5 minutes I'm going to evangelically convert you from Boot Camp to Crossfit." 
"I'm Catholic but I really only go on Christmas and Easter" = "I go to Dance Trance on the weekends and will never understand why I don't have a hot body." 
"I'm Methodist" = "I'm addicted to spin—a great workout, great results... but if they switch up the playlist too much I get really upset."
Episcopalians and Catholics look the same on the surface—they're both wearing lululemon and have the glow of a person unconcerned about eternal hellfire or knee injuries. The Church of Christ folks and Baptists will always be warm and friendly no matter what your workout is—as long as you're active, that's all that matters!—but on the inside they know they're right and maybe one day they'll pull that Methodist off the spin bike and make her do an amrap of burpees and thrusters until she sees the light (and passes out in it).

And within all subsets when Episcopalians meet fellow Episcopalians, when Catholics meet Catholics, and especially when Baptists meet Baptists they will all announce what church (or gym or box) they belong to with the same mix of pride and smugness.

Do you want to know how many times I have had this conversation?
"I go to DC Crossfit."  
"Oh. Cool. I go to Balance." 
"Oh... Cool."
Tell me I'm wrong.

Okay maybe this is all coming out as a disaster—my brain is completely fried from tonight's workout.

Which, of course, I'm going to talk about because I'm doing Crossfit and the first rule of Crossfit is NEVER SHUT UP about Crossfit.

Like I said, evangelical.

Tonight I was talking to one of the trainers about my form and asked how much weight I should use and she asked "well what was your weight last time?" and I confessed, with horror, that I didn't know—because I didn't write it down.

And it was in that moment this whole disaster of a blog post came to mind. Because in that moment I was 12 years-old in Sunday school telling Mrs. Crabtree that I hadn't brought my Old Testament homework to church.


Unrelated: I'm reading a novel called You Deserve Nothing. I saw it in the bookstore and I thought it would be some sort of commentary on our entitlement culture or how we, as humans, deserve nothing... but instead it's a really poignant and beautifully written piece of fiction I'm becoming obsessed with. There is nothing more disappointing than picking up a novel you think will be amazing and then rolling your eyes at poor turns of phrase or, worse, bad dialogue. This is not disappointing.