I woke up at 4:50 AM and in an unexplainable burst of ambition, decided to go to the gym before going to IHOP. Actually, I think I know what motivated me. Thanks to a friend, we had carryout from here last night, and tonight we have plans to go here. Couple this with the fact that I have added a few poorly placed pounds, and I figured I'd better hit the treadmill.
By 5 AM I was headed out the door. We are ninety seconds away to the gym if you hit the green lights. It can also be done in ninety seconds if you run the red lights, albeit with significantly more drama. I parked and approached the building around 5:05, only to discover that they open at 5:30. Oddly enough, though, there were a half dozen elderly folks waiting to get in. "Don't worry," they assured me, "She'll let us in a few minutes early."
Think about this. They're regulars, and they regularly come twenty five minutes before the posted time to open, because she'll let us in a few minutes early. That is a picture of tenacity. Or something. So there I stood, surrounded by what the gym refers to as "Active Seniors". My boys say I could park in one of the "Active Seniors" reserved spots, if I only were active.
About 5:10 AM, a police man approached from around the corner, eyes wide open and gun drawn. Yes, this is the second time I've seen the business end of a Kansas City policeman's firearm in the last few months. It seems the alarm had gone off. He seemed a little disapointed to find only me, the Golden Girls and Pa Grape.
The Active Seniors were right. The worker had mercy on us and let us in about 5:15. I went straight for the treadmill and satisfied my daily intake of information by listening to the iPod while reading the subtitles on a History Channel biography about Teddy Roosevelt. When I first glanced at the monitor, it displayed only a landscape scene - no text - yet I recognized the topography as North Dakota. Sixty thousand square miles and twenty years later I can recognize it in a heart beat, at 5:20 AM, surrounded by Active Seniors on an automated walkway to nowhere.
The day has officially begun.