Let’s talk about something I don’t usually have the chance to talk much about, and that’s good old-fashioned wrasslin’ (or wrestling, if you want to be more precise). Since I was young, I’ve been into the professional entertainment phenomenon that is wrasslin’, even though I don’t keep up with it nearly as much nowadays. The problem is, there’s so much programming going on nowadays that it’s impossible to keep up with completely unless you make it your full-time job. As a result, you have to pick and choose what to watch or commit yourself to. Every day of the week, for at least a few hours each block, there’s some show on television or the Network that you can watch. It’d be ridiculous to have to sit down and watch everything.
It all started when I was a kid. I remember getting a Rey Mysterio action figure for one of my birthdays, and I thought he was the coolest looking dude in the world. With his question mark shirt and his gleaming, shiny pants, it’s no wonder I was fascinated by his style. It also happened because of my dad; it’s one of the things that he’s left me with, and that’s an interest in professional wrasslin’. My dad still boasts about seeing Wrestlemania 3 in a movie theater when he was a kid.
Then, when I was in college, I found myself in a group of online friends that still watch the shows together, and I kind of gravitated towards them because of it. I became interested in new wrestlers of the new generation, and so did my friends, so we shared those interests and high-stakes moments with each other. Nothing is better than sharing hobbies with others; it provides the immediate, instant gratification of companionship that makes hobbies so enjoyable.
No, I never learned how to ride a bike. I failed at pretty much every attempt, and after repeated failures and my father’s growing impatience with me, I resigned myself from ever learning how to ride. It made my childhood feel a bit like I’m missing out on something, because as an adult, it is a bit embarrassing to ask someone to teach me to ride a bike. Like folding laundry, driving a car, and washing dishes, it is assumed you know how to do this by the time you reach 18, in preparation for college. I felt like I had missed out in some small way.
But here I am, riding a bike right now, as I type this blog on my phone. The catch (there’s always a catch with these things) is that I’m pedaling on a sitting bike at the gym. The reason for this blog is to discuss my fascination with the sitting bike, and how it has enabled me to conduct a few important activities in conjunction with exercising. All of these activities make exercising more fun and engaging. For example, I have even more time to write blogs because I can combine my gym time with my writing time. I don’t feel dizzy writing while peddling, nor do I feel distracted or ashamed while surrounded by other, more hard-working gym members around me. They see me sitting on my phone, probably assuming I’m playing a game or texting a friend, when in reality I am in the process of writing a post on my personal blog.
Being on the bike also allows me to read, a DiMartino family tradition. I remember seeing my mom at home on the elliptical, one hand holding onto the machine arm while the other hand held up a book, probably a romance novel or something involving Outlander. To me, this initially seemed like a difficult task, reading at the gym, given the fact that I have a hard time concentrating on and devoting myself to more than two tasks at a time. But after trying it myself, and a little bit of practice here and there, I can say that reading at the gym is one of my absolute favorite activities. It keeps the pace going without interruption, the only end is when I decide to stop pedaling or the timer on the machine. It gives me motivation to keep going, to push further and further into the chapters. One more chapter, one more page, one more line! Although I’m at the gym right now, I plan on reading more later to make up for the fact that I am spending my time writing rather than doing my usual reading. I blazed through all 300 or so pages of The Last Wish because I had time to read at the gym. My next book, Kitchen Confidential, will also have the same benefit going for it.
When I was younger, midnight was a hazard. A horror. So, midnight? What made midnight so frightening as a child?
Was it the tales of Bloody Mary, ghosts, and spectral beings which confounded me? Probably. I remember hearing from a kid in 4th grade that if you look into a mirror, say “Bloody Mary” three times quick, and close your eyes, you’ll reopen those eyes to see the “actual” bloody Mary in the mirror, standing behind you. That was enough to get my imagination running wild. And the worst part about the Bloody Mary story? It could only happen between midnight and two a.m. So, during the hours I had already feared from other stories. 4th grade was a rough time. The haunting tales of midnight mysteries had no positive effect on my upbringing – that’s for sure. If anything, I feel scarred more than learned.
I’m fairly gullible. My willingness to trust others – to accept their stories as factual – has not disappeared with time; in fact, I place more trust in others now than I had as a child, I think. I trust my friends deeply. I trust my family even more. And I trust myself to stay true to myself. Cliches, but with a great deal of truth in them. Or maybe not. Like I said, I’m fairly gullible.
Midnight is the symbol of my childhood insecurities. As a gullible child, who apologized for every small mistake, mishap, or harm I may have brought someone else, I was emotionally weak, and grew up in an imaginary ideal land where everyone was trustworthy and no one’s out to bring you pain and strife. Midnight is like the image of Bloody Mary. I tried to stay so far away from it years ago, but I find myself strangely attracted to the free blackness of night.
What a change of scenery the night happens to be! It promotes and stimulates the creativity I have difficulty evoking through daylight. Midnight evinces messages of freedom. Possibility. And thus, the stubbornly dreamy optimism I held years ago returns.
Maybe that’s why midnight is so bizarre to me.
Remember the woods in our backyard?
It always scared us, then and again
When our dreamy, exploring minds
Craved fantasy and wonder.
I can’t imagine a yard without life
Breath, Wind, Sun, Space abound
Childhood creativity impossible
Without room to grow
Spaces to fill with predictions
Amass the ideas into a collective
And share with the world with a
Yell, scream, shout from the voiceless.
I loved childhood when life was
Sunlight is overrated
Bury it, bury it deep below
Into a small cardboard box
Of childhood memories
Not a kid anymore, not now
It’s time for change
Stubborn satisfaction flew away
Bury the light, bury the light
The spot behind the swing-set
Is nice and dry, aching for you
To feed it the rain, the sun
And your enlightened
Dreams of yesteryear in a box.