Like Betty Butterfield, I was out there looking for a church. Unlike Betty Butterfield, I found one.
Now, before you get all excited for me, let me perpetuate a stereotype: Straight people go to church while Gay people go to gym. That's not generally true, though it did make a good line in a movie you probably have not seen. Some straight people also go to the gym, if the ogling I see going on is any indication, and I'm here to tell you that some gay people go to church. I don't know why.
I was made to attend church when I lived at home lest I burn in hell for want of a Mother's love, and very little would please my mother more than for me to show up one Sunday and go to church with her, but it won't be happening, at least anytime soon, not so much because she wouldn't remember it, but because to this day, I loathe religion and the activities therein, aside from a peculiar interest in odd ceremonies.
With all that said, some 12 years ago, She Who Must Not Be Named decided that we could not longer afford the $20 a month for me to visit a local gym and stay sane on the StairMaster. Concurrently, the overseer at the gym would not accept a six-month membership even if my mother did give me the money. So I hit the streets to run, developed plantar faciitis, a nasty form of tendinitis, stopped running, became fat, and then old.
Besides, I could dig holes in the yard, move shrubbery about, and call it sufficient exercise, or so I heard almost daily.
The ensuing physical degradation took me from a mindset of one who could walk as far as was necessary to the fat and bitter old queen you've come to know and, in my dreams, love, if not in the coming then in the going. Many feel goods arose in the interim.
Two years ago, I gave up one feel good for another. Last January, I sought to drop the second feel good. Of course, a third feel good had to be found, and I took up stepping on puppies. Well, not really, but it makes a good story. Actually, I started walking. A lot. Enough to develop injuries, injuries that at one point left me sitting in a patch of blooming iris with fractured metatarsals wondering how I was going to get home. I keep waiting to see that security tape of a bitter old queen sitting in tears by the sidewalk bemoaning the fates to no one in particular.
Through the first six months, I changed shoes some four times daily to confuse the tendinitis. In June, Zappos with two pair of ASICS came to my rescue, though running remained forbidden. Then came heat of a very hot summer. It was glorious. Of course, hoofing through the world is a bit like trouble when the weather's bad, and with winter coming, I worried that I'd stop, fatten up, and adopt another feel good.
After some review, I adopted instead a gym about a mile from where I live. Lots of aerobic machinery. A decent amount of weight lifting equipment that I ignore. And most important, a fee that I could afford. And so towards Thanksgiving, I signed up.
I had forgotten how could it felt to sweat into oblivion. Folks, we were made to move, and move a lot. For me, the hour on the tread mill or bike is a moving meditation or, perhaps as often, the time to read the paper. Or listen to music. Or catch up on the news. Or otherwise mentally process the accumulated information of the day.
Some would correctly suggest that this is another feel good, and it probably is, though I suppose it's healthier than the previous. I do know it's made one gal far happier, and she doesn't even know it, that being the gal who studied her one research methodology class very well, but only gleaned the knowledge, not the wisdom therein. Why is she happier? Because I started each of our days together with a four-mile jaunt on a tread mill watching Angel, and I finished the day with another four miles watching Law And Order.
It was that or chase her with a stick.
So at the risk of being sacrilegious, I have joined a church here after 12 years of walking in the wilderness. There's a small monthly tithe and a minor yearly love offering. It's money, a very little money, well spent, especially a year into a state tax on smokes that makes us look like those northern states. And Canada.
And then it snowed. And did so in December. Go figure.