Violence must be my theme this week.
While I’ve only been in one real fight in my life – with Darrell Cabbel when I was sixteen – I’ve had to suppress these urges.
I kicked his ass.
But that’s another story for another time.
Right now, we’re talking about why I’m plotting on taking out one of my colleagues.
Several months ago, when I started working at Usablenet, one of my team members, Rodney Cummins and I, started going to the gym down the block from the office.
Two or three times a week, we made it our business to get money.
For my urban vernacular challenged, get money = work out vigorously.
And get money we did.
Religiously, each week we’d get money.
We got so much money together, that our co-workers nicknamed us Chukummins.
Chukumba + Cummins.
I know, they’re juvenile.
The Red Barron, another one of our colleagues invited Rodney to spin class, also at the gym, and he went.
The Red Barron = a red-headed Irishman.
I mocked them mercilessly for going to an obviously sad excuse for money getting.
He came back from that class, bitching and moaning about how hard it was.
But remarking about what a great workout he got that day.
The Red Barron?
I found the whole thing ludicrous.
The next time we went to get money, I had Rodney take me to the spin class.
So I could get my spin on.
And debunk the myth that spin class was in any way comparable to the money we were getting on the man side of the gym.
That day, there was no class being offered, but I decided to just jump on a bike and see what it was like.
I had Rodney play instructor and simulate a few minutes of the class.
He ran through a short warm-up of pedaling with slight resistance, before ratcheting it up.
“Pedal seated for a four count.”
“Now up for a four count.”
“Back down for a four count.”
“And up again for a four count.”
This is spin?
This ain’t shit!
Spin is for sissies, I thought.
Until he said, “now hold it for another four count.”
By this point, I was quite used to the simple rhythm we had going.
And I was totally ready for my “now sit 3-2-1.”
I needed to sit.
But when he told me I had that four count to go, I felt the burn in my thighs.
I started to sweat.
Mind you, we had been spinning for less than a minute.
My mind raced frantically.
Hold it for another four count.
Right then, I decided that spin was the devil and promptly dismounted from the bike.
Nearly pitching myself over the handle bars in the process.
Spin bikes don’t coast and have no brakes.
The only way to stop is by gradually decreasing your rate of pedaling.
No one told me.
So not only were my thighs burning, but I nearly died too.
Curses flowed from my mouth like I was possessed by Beezlebub.
I cursed him like he stole from me.
Like he violated my mother.
Like the soulless bastard he was.
Eventually, as feeling returned to my thighs, and the burning subsided, I felt less hatred towards him.
And as time passed, so did my memory of that unfortunate 60 seconds of spin.
Until today, that is.
You see, for months, he and the Red Barron have been attending spin.
The running joke is the invitation they extend to me each time they go.
Knowing I’ll decline.
Rodney is cursed afresh with each invitation.
But today, another one of my coworkers was going with them.
And – against my better judgment – I was compelled to attend.
Pride is a motherfucker!
Despite the single digit temperatures in NY today, I was sweating on the (not long enough) walk from our office down the block to the gym.
Fear gripped me as I entered the spin class and took my assigned bike.
No. 20 mocked me as I sat upon it, strapping my feet into its toe harnesses.
As the class started, my hatred of Rodney renewed.
The whole time, mind you, he was clapping and uttering ‘motivational’ catch-phrases at me.
If I had a machete handy, a headless torso would have been pedaling astride me, instead of this bloody happy fool.
But no machete was handy.
All I had was Rihanna to get me through.
And my unwavering desire to save face in front of my colleagues.
So I pedaled.
Sweating like a slave.
Cursing Rodney with each new hill – or sprint – or eight count.
45 minutes later (and only having almost pitched myself over the handle bars of my bike twice) I emerged.
Broken, but unbowed.
I will never attend spin class again.
And if they ever find the headless torso of a Black man in gym clothes near the New York Health & Racquetball club…