Get thee to a gym

Writing and reading - Mo Fanning

Writing and reading - Mo FanningSo this month, I joined a new gym.

And as anyone who’s ever allowed themselves to stray into such a place will know, it isn’t anywhere near as simple as just marching up to a desk, handing over an exorbitant joining fee, then high-tailing it, never to return while each month your bank account haemorrhages money. If it was that simple, we’d all be doing it.

No, first you have to sit around and take in the atmosphere while you wait for an appointment with a membership consultant.

Our girl was called Jeanny – pleasant enough, stick thin and a bit smug, but she didn’t have that empty-eyed way about her so often found in these kinds of places. I was sure she’d have no aversion to cramming three walnuts whips into her mouth (that’s if they had such things in Amsterdam) and swilling them down with a bottle of cheap white wine.

She did though have this annoying habit of falling back on stock phrases, twice she promised to ‘sweat your ass off’, conjuring up unpleasant mental images.

The big question

We were handed questionnaires.

Most of it was basic stuff – name, address, phone number and (worryingly) next of kin – but then there were a few nosier questions at the end. When did you last do any structured exercise? How long have you thought about having the self discipline to do some? All my adult life’ I wrote … and then some. It was working, I already felt the shame.

‘Why have you not done something about the state of your body sooner?’ Too lazy/find the idea of riding bikes clamped to the floor a bit surreal/would rather eat crisps and drink beer. I was surprised to find ‘procrastination’ as an option and readily ticked it. As Julia Roberts said in that film where she played a whore, ‘Big mistake. Huge.’

Didn’t Jeanny keep coming back to it, drawing circles round the word, singling it out as the reason I was sat in front of her. She wanted me to see this as some kind of revelation, when I’ve known since the day I could speak that it is the one thing at which I excel. I’m supremely good at procrastination.

So back to writing. Already this morning, I’ve paid household bills, looked up flight prices, written two letters and read almost every website currently online. There’s a nice clean document open on my desktop, word count 65,657. Maybe a cup of tea or something and then I’ll crack on.

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