posted on Jun, 29 2015 @ 12:51 PM
Greetings brothers and sisters, fellow members, and lurkers.
These are dark times to live in for a great deal of reasons, as we here at ATS are all too aware, more aware than most, one might say.
However, there are certain things, upon which a human being may rely in life. Our ability (if not our willingness) to learn from our mistakes, both
personally, and more broadly, our ability to logically discern the truth of a matter from physical findings, or our capacity to make and use tools to
improve our effectiveness at our chosen labours. We all possess bows comprised of many strings, and many of these involve our ability to wield,
manipulate, and operate inanimate objects in order to acheive a given end. Whether that end is to make a cup of tea, or pin something in place with a
screw or nail, we are comprehensively experienced at these things, some more than others of course, but as a general rule, we have this stuff down.
But sometimes a human being encounters an inanimate object, which far from helping one achieve an end, actually hinders ones progress in one manner
or another. Even rarer still though, is an inanimate object which makes one question the very physical boundaries of ones mortal construction. It is
just such a situation, which I would like to describe here.
On the afternoon of Sunday just past, the 28th of June 2015, I had just such an encounter. I had been informed by my sons mother, that he had been a
shiftless, lazy bugger all week, not to mention playing up something rotten. So I thought that it would be wise to take him to a local park for some
exercise and fresh air. And so, to the park we went, the sun occasionally peeking out to lay its thermonuclear gaze upon us in ernest as we strolled
toward it. Upon arrival, we strode around the outer limits of the criket pitch, so as not to ruin the neatly mown surface within its boundaries, and
continued on toward the fitness park.
For those who are not familiar with the term, I should explain that a fitness park is an area of a public park, given over to various pieces of
equipment, which use the resistance provided by ones own bodyweight as a counter to ones body strength, allowing one to use this opposition in order
to build ones fitness. Many of them seek to emulate the function of the sort of kit you would find in an indoor gym, except without the ability to
increase the weight against which one is working.
One such bit of gear is formed of a chair, which is mounted on a pole, which travels from the chair, to a hinge mechanism, from which issues a second
pole, initially at a right angle to the chair mount, which goes up, bends over the chair, and splits in two, before dropping down to shoulder level of
anyone sitting in the chair. The aim of this bit of gear, is that anyone sitting in the chair can grasp the handles at the end of the over arcing
split arm, and push them away from their body, which lifts the chair, and thereby the bodywieght of the user. This exercise is supposed to help one
develop ones arms and chest.
The equipment I am talking about, was the one which I could use, with the greatest possible feild of view of my son, and since keeping him in my
eyeline is essential when we are out and about, I selected it based on that ideal positioning. It also happened to be helpful to me that this was the
item with the best vantage point, because I have somewhat of a thickish ribcage, and arms which appear to belong to someone with a much smaller chest
cavity. That being said, I am by no means obese, just a regular sized fellow really, just proportionally strange. And so, I thought to myself as I
made ready to sit down at the machine, this would be ideal for me.
It was only when my bottom was hovering over the seat, that I hit a snag. You see, my shoulders did not fit between the overhanging handles, and I
became temporarily wedged in place. Now, as I have mentioned, I am not an obese man, nor am I overly muscular. I am five feet and ten or eleven inches
tall. I have a forty four inch chest, yes, but as I explained above, my arms are pretty inconsiderable in terms of size. The end result is that
although I am far from skinny, I am not outside the average size for an adult British male. And yet here, in a public park in my home town, is a piece
of workout gear, which appears not to be made for a man of my construction.
If you have never been in a scenario like this, then to make you aware of the effect this had on my ego, I must take a moment to describe my initial
reaction to the sensation of being wedged between these handles. I was at once concerned that I had somehow vastly underestimated the expansive effect
of my yearly ale allowance, and impressed at the same moment that my arms and chest were wedged, as I manipulated my triceps muscles to free myself
from my impromptu incarceration. It was very disconcerting. I was fairly sure that I knew my physical parameters, and I did not expect to be caught in
such an intimate embrace by this glorified bit of moving furniture. And yet there I was, caught up in a steel hug.
When I had freed myself, and actually managed to take a seat on the chair provided, I had time to take stock of the situation as my son giggled at me
from his chosen workout gear. The assortment of equipment in the fitness park, is provided courtesy of a collaboration between the local council, and
the sports clothing manufacturer, Adidas. Given that, one has to assume that it is part of the government drive to keep Britain fit, an effort which
is much needed of course. This would suggest that all the gear there has been made so that ANYONE can use it, save of course for those simply too
young and small, or at the highest ends of the weight register. For more than a moment, an inanimate object made me feel like I was six times my size,
and that was a very, very strange experience.
Of course, once I actually took my seat, and began to use the equipment, I could immediately see the use of it, as I felt a pleasing warmth in my
chest and arms after a short while, and attained a decent rythmn for my movements. When I was done with that, and a few other bits and bobs around the
fitness park, I actually felt quite good about everything, the increased blood flow to a few neglected areas of my anatomy chasing away some aches,
and creating a few others here and there. This is something positive I have taken away from this unsettling experience.
But I fear it will be some time before I forget that inanimate objects have the ability to make us question the simplest things about ourselves,
even down to things like what actual size we are.