Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Hazards of Reading

Here is why I’m not playing in my beloved Wednesday Tennis Clinic this morning.

Last night, I was lying in bed, minding my own business, reading my Kindle, and decided it would be a good idea to flex my leg muscles as tight as they could be. I did this for a few reasons.

One is, I had taken a particularly rough spin class in the morning and whenever we are “climbing hills” the instructor is always quick to point out how we are building muscle, up there, at the top of the leg. That it isn’t just rampant sadism on his part, these hills, it’s actually a torture that he throws in for our benefit. I don’t have muscular legs – I never have – and so last night, out of the blue, I decided to see whether my sadistic spin instructor was speaking the truth.

The other reason is that I don’t like reading on a Kindle, and no matter how good the book is – and this book I’m reading (To The End of The Land by David Grossman) is very good – I find little ways to distract myself, because deep down I hate the fact that what I’m holding in my hands is an awkward, confounding piece of electronic gadgetry and not a nice, refined, tree-wasting paperback. Flexing my leg muscles – the upper muscles, tightening my right thigh as much as I can, then pounding on it with my fist – that’s exactly the type of small distraction that keeps me from finishing my book in time for my book group meeting.

I don’t recall that musculature being tight or compromised during the day, but it must have been. Why else then would a few flexes and pounds result in the type of throbbing ache that prevents me from falling quickly to sleep?

A little after midnight, my leg ached so badly I had to get up and take some Advil, and hobble downstairs to get the icepack. After that I was able to sleep, but when I woke up this morning that whole area was tight and unmoving. I considered the possibility of playing tennis anyway – something I would have tried to do in the past – but my experience has shown me that doing so only makes this kind of thing worse. So I quickly resigned myself to a tennis-free day – perhaps a tennis free week – and, overall, I have to say I’m taking it quite well.

The silver lining here could have been that my muscle flexing antics produced thighs of steel. That my oft-jiggly legs were so toned and tight that I actually hurt my fist in pounding.

Or that I set aside my cheapskate tendencies and, despite having paid for my Kindle version of Grossman’s amazing novel, I go out and buy the book (which is only available in hardcover right now, dang!) so I can actually enjoy it.

But, more likely, it’s that I’m going to get to see my beloved Dr. H before the week is through.

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