"What are you doing?"
It was a fair question. The Italian was simply going about his day, probably hunting down his elusive iPod or glasses, when he came upon me lying on the floor in my bedroom. My back was pressed down on the carpet while my legs were as straight up the wall as possible, my right leg signicantly more bent than my left.
"I'm stretching out my hamstring," I told him.
He nodded and stared at me for several seconds before asking "Why?"
The honest answer, of course, is I'm getting to the age when simple things -- like crossing your foot under your butt and sitting on it for longer than ten minutes at a time -- can throw your back out for the rest of the week. In this instance, I was coping with the effects of having neglected to stretch either before or after my morning walk on the treadmill, which is what I told him.
"Oh," he said, and wandered away to continue with his life.
After swimming at the pool yesterday, my right shoulder was recovering from the shooting pain that followed the not-too-smart activity of flipping the kids out of their tubes. The boys weren't too bad, but Our Daughter is a full-fledged young adult. Why I thought I could flip her like she was still a 50-pound eight-year-old, I'll never know.
I was stretching my arm in several various poses that seemed to make the shoulder feel better when I noticed the Italian behind me.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
I explained to him how certain simple activities -- like lowering and raising the track of the foldable treadmill -- can cause more discomfort than an hour spent running at full speed on the darned thing. I explained how under certain circumstances, merely pulling a shirt over your head and twisting your arm in just that wrong way can send pins and needles shooting down to your fingertips and make you see stars.
"Oh," he said. I'm pretty sure was shaking his head when he walked away that time. It probably didn't help that I wasn't wearing a shirt.
Then today, while working in my office, I accidentally closed the desk drawer on my finger. I let out a little "ow" and gripped the tip of the pinched finger in my other hand. The Italian came over to see what my minor commotion was all about. He glanced down at my finger and then up at my grimacing face.
"What is it now?" he asked in a slightly disgusted tone.
It's going to be a long summer...
© 2011 Mark Feggeler