Guess what? I’m doing something right now that doesn’t make me want to fling poop at whoever walks by. It’s been a crazy week my friends, and if another day had passed without me posting, I would have gone completely “ape-sh*t”. This time thankfully, as you can see from the picture above it was only from the neck up. I promised myself that this weekend my top priority was to write. I need writing in my life just as much as I need air at this point. I hate it when real life gets in the way of my writing. Anyway, now that this week is finally behind me, let’s talk about the inspiration for this entry. Allow me to give you another glimpse of Earth to Ash which is brought to you by our good friend… STRESS!
Stress is something I’m very acquainted with. We all experience some form of stress in our lives, you can’t really avoid it. Some of us can deal with easily, some others…not so much. Me? Well, a lot of time I feel like it’s just as attached to me as my own shadow. I deal with my stress a couple of ways. Majority of the time I react, face it on head on and deal with it. Other times though, I implode. Yeah, there are moments where I retreat within myself and it takes specific things sometimes to shake me out of that horrible fog as I call it. Life has its challenges and stress is just another example of those challenges. Another thing we need to keep in check. When the peaks dip into those valleys, it’s best to have a few things up your sleeve to combat it. For example, right now I’m listening to coffee table jazz. Something I use all the time for not only de-stressing, but also for inspiration. It helps me escape into a world where negativity doesn’t exist. I have others too, like walking, running, there’s biking. I also read, use meditation apps, and play video games. You’d be surprised what shooting a horde of zombies can do for a rough commute home in the dead of a Canadian winter in bumper to bumper traffic in waist high snow. That’s something to come down from. Finally, second only to writing and one of the best ways I feel anyone can fight back against stress, is going to the gym. Or, fitness in general really. With a bunch of weights, some cardio machines, and an hour or so to yourself, stress shouldn’t stand a chance. Although, that theory of mine did fail me yesterday which had me scratching me head.
Let me tell you about how the lines between stress and the gym got blurred for me in a moment that is classic Ash. As I said, work was nuts this week and Friday couldn’t come fast enough. So, as soon as the clock hit 4:30 yesterday, I went straight to the gym. I pretty much fast-walked the whole way and the only thing on my mind was if there was an exercise that I wasn’t planning on doing and then, maybe if I will run for seventeen hours. Told you it was a day. OK, I make it to the gym, and take myself through the motions of getting dressed and ready. My head is still full of webs as I reach for, and strap on the old fitness watch. Great! Ash, you forgot to sync the watch with the new phone, no biggie. OK, headphones, tap Bluetooth because again, that too needed to be synced to the new phone. Wait for pairing… for pairing… for pairing… for… SUCCESS!! Like, can I not get to working out please?
Finally, I made it out of the lockers and on the gym floor completely zoned out to the world around me. I zipped back and forth visiting each set of weights and/or machines slowly leaving my horrible day behind me. All that was going through my mind were rep counts and if the extremely abnormally sweaty guy working out was wiping down the equipment he was using. After a few exercises, I start to feel great, the stress was melting off of me. My day looked look it had finally turned around for me. See, once again, the gym saves the day. Completely zapped and nothing left to workout, I look to the clock and decide to pack it in. It’s true, and I will always say it. Physical fitness is therapy. Not only for the body, but also the mind. Where was I? Right, with my workout at an end, I proceed toward the change-room feeling pretty darn good. I do a quick scan of the lockers and see a silver lock with a blue bottom, mine. I gently slip the key out of my pocket and slide it into the keyhole. I get about a key-groove in, when something felt off… it was the wrong lock!
Yup, my lock was in the exact same place except a row over. Thanks life. I spent the next five minutes trying to wiggle, pluck, pull, and rip the key loose. All before someone showed up and thought I was hijacking their locker. That’s not a good feeling when someone taps you on the shoulder in a fit of rage with his towel hanging on with only a two-finger pinch. Especially, if it was the “hairy communal change-room hair dryer drying his crotch guy”. It’s like seeing a yeti. You can’t believe what your seeing when you see it, and when it’s all over, you’re not really sure you did because no one would believe you. My eyes actually burnt the first time I witnessed it, I have never looked at one of those tiny hair dryers the same again.
Anyway, after dying on my sword and realizing the key was a lost cause, I finally went to the front desk for help. I was met by an very bored looking employee folding towels, that exuded a look of ‘I’m off in and half hour, please don’t ask me anything’. I said excuse me and kindly asked the young lady for some bolt cutters. Trust me, it’s a common occurrence at a gym and because of idiots like me. Almost in slow motion she flinches, looks at me and politely replies telling me the cutters were broken. Really? I further explained the fact that you have two members now without access to their belongings and one who is about to internally explode in absolute frustration. Her reaction? She shrugs her shoulders and in a barely audible voice replies “yeah…but…” And, returns to the folding. Let’s remember folks, I’m here at this gym to de-stress, now I was starting to feel myself relapse. As fumed as Bruce Banner at the green eyes stage, I head back to the locker where I find a nearly naked man standing before the locker wondering why there was a key already hanging out of his lock. I tap on his shoulder and begin to apologize profusely for my stupidity where the guy says no problem and gives me the all good. Oh, and it wasn’t the “hairy communal change-room hair dryer drying his crotch guy” after all.
Then, it struck me. As I was giving the key another round of plucks, pinches, wiggles, and jerks. I remembered the young lady at the front desk saying that there were bolt cutters, only they were broken. I begged the guy for a little more patience and immediately ran back to the front desk. As I’m approaching, I see another employee walking towards me. By now, my stress has started to creep back. Out of desperation I ask this new young lady if I could see the broken cutters after filling her in on my issue and the employee of the month at the front desk. She was immediately accommodating and told me to wait by the back room door for a quick sec. As the back door swung open, I happened to notice a random bolt sitting on the shelf. She passes me the cutters, and coincidentally enough, it was missing a single bolt. Grabbing onto that ounce of luck, I take the cutters and the random bolt and sprint to the change-room. I think 15 minutes had passed and I could now tell the guy was getting little ‘K, dude, I’m naked here’. Stress was now coursing through my body like it was blood, heart beats were like headache bombs. I grab a hold of the cutters, jam the random loose bolt into the missing spot managing to macgyvered it enough to allow myself to get the cutters to grip and cut. It took everything I had left in me after that crazy long workout, but with a bunch of grunts, groans, and some other colourful choice of words… I DID IT! I snipped the lock and the pinch-towel guy was finally reunited with the rest of his clothes. YES!!! One last apology and it was on to door number two. Now it was my locks turn as my key was still jammed in the first lock.
The cutters still jimmied and holding up, I went to the other row where I took a second and to stare at the bane of my existence. I told myself there was no way that lock was not coming off, no matter what I had to do. Another 5 minutes pass and just like the time before, CRACK! Arms as red as beets and my poop face veins slowly sinking back into my head, I broke the second lock. I was in, to free my belongings from the purgatory the front desk towel folder was condemning them to be. I quickly got dressed and b-lined it for the vehicle before I was able to lose them. Because, you know… life.
That little tiny moment of my life yesterday is something that in the grand scheme of things is pretty normal. All sorts of those things can happen to anybody and do, all the time. Only, when you actually go through those experiences, it feels like you’re all alone. Like it’s the world against us when really it’s not. It’s just a bad day, a bad hour, a rotten moment. We have a bunch of great ones too, but they rarely get the attention the bad stuff does. When I chat with others, it easy to see that I am not alone either. I’m not the only person who has the rug pulled out from under him from time to time. It happens to the best of us. Whether it’s work, school, relationships, and so on and so forth, we all get our share of stressors. The only difference is how each of us handle those stressful times. How we steer the ship to weather those storms will determine our next fine day. Basically, surround yourself with whatever makes you happy as life does not come with a manual, but there are things we can pick up along the way to help us survive it.