I have never read Dante’s Inferno, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that this quote is from that text.
Yes today, once more and again, I ventured into the inferno known as the Kaiser Gym. This time I had the good sense to allow the still “Jack be nimble” seniors to rush past me to straddle wheeled chairs to begin their laps around the room. It is almost like Go Karts at Golden Age Fields.
As I worked my way through the traffic on my crutches, the keeper of my fate points a bony finger toward the devil recliner bike I could not get to rotate on Monday. As I painfully straddle the demon, trying to get the gatekeeper’s attention, the woman next to me glances over at me, gives me a benevolent smile and joins me in trying to get his attention as she continues her groan-free pedal revolutions on the same kind of behemoth as the one I glumly sit astride.
When all the other golden girls and guys have been assisted, the gatekeeper makes his way to me.
Trying not to cry, I say, “I couldn’t get this bike to rotate on Monday.”
I do my best not to reveal any tremor in my voice but my mind is having a tore up from the floor up temper tantrum.
“How did I get here!” (Apologies to Deborah Cox)
Soon and very soon, I sit atop an upright bike. I am the fourth rider in the row, surrounded by white haired spinners and as everyone else pedals their 100 revolutions, I complete my almost one, back and forth, almost one, back and forth.
I am moved to two other stations for more revolutionary torture before I straddle the wheeled chair for my laps on the now cleared floor. The nice lady that was next to me on the recliner bike is now on another station and as I catch her eye, she gives me another benevolent smile. I can almost hear her say in a southern accent,” Bless her heart.”
I determinedly continue to hum the praise song I began at the fourth station, but my hip is not fooled. It knows it is in pain and refuses to join the chorus, ignoring the pleas of my mind to just relax and let it go.
By the time I get to the rack (the table where the devilish minions “stretch” you), the room is clear. Everyone is gone now, except me. As it was in the beginning, so it is in the end. Even the gatekeeper is gone.
My recalcitrant hip will have nothing to do with stretching today so the minion has mercy on me and my groans (she heard my cries, and pitied every groan) and ends the torture with instructions on how I can torture myself at home!
I wobble my way out the door, bag of ice in hand. Two women are seated in the waiting area. They silently watch me as I crutch my way across the floor. I wonder if they are waiting for the next session of torture.
Abandon hope . . .
I return next Thursday.