All the roads in this part of North Carolina seem to have at least three identifying numbers. Tonight I was simultaneously on the 15, the 501 and 85. A road can be marked both South Alston and East 55. Rt 147, which must be some sort of ringroad, is everywhere. It is very confusing for someone new in town and was a particular problem this evening because Durham was in the grip of a thunderstorm and the rain was the worst I’ve ever seen. I was looking for East 54 (a very different thing from East 55, which I passed several times) and was on the road so long and so pointlessly that I became convinced I was to meet my end on this stormy night, the victim of a lightning strike, a tailspin or a sinkhole, “Poor thing” you would have said at one of the many fundraisers needed to give me a decent send off (the funeral money has been spent on fat camp) “She tried but she was never meant to be thin”
It was a traumatic end to a day otherwise filled with quite good news. Dr Eisenson congratulated me on having a heart, lungs and other vital organs in much better nick than I deserve. He passed me as fit for exercise and gave me a green dot to add to my name badge. I am so competitive that I beamed with pleasure–before remembering that I don’t like exercise.
Exercise seems to have changed though since I last tried it. Now, they have step machines where you can sit as you work both your arms and your legs. I did it for 20 minutes-100 calories. The treadmill has a little emergency button you can clip to your t-shirt so that if you stumble, the machine will stop as you fall. “”I’m a clumsy person and I fall of things a lot –my balance is terrible” I told the good doctor ” We have a class that can help you with that” he said. The absence of jeering (“what are you–drunk?”) yelling ( “stand on your two feet and get moving”) or pity (“perhaps you’d better just sit this one out”) came as a welcome surprise.
I swam 36 lengths in a pool open to the sunny outdoors and planned my menus for the rest of the week. I attended a behavioral health class. ” Willpower should only be relied upon only by those who don’t have skills and tools” said the instructor “It’s all you have left when your plan A and back-up plans fail. Smart people work out how to take the stress out of the job at hand, and recalibrate the plan when they hit a problem. We are here to help you come up with a plan that works for you and which you can stick to without having to steel yourself–a plan you can adapt when you need to and get back to again and again” Willpower is for dummies. I like that.