At about 4.45 this morning I discover a new definition of Purest Hell. More specifically, it's like four kinds of hell at once.
Hell #1 – DREAM HELL
When I wake, my brain is clinging to the dying embers of a bad dream. The dream is an unfortunate Entertainment Tonight Special: Who's The Boss – Where Are They Now? Alyssa Millano is sitting on Tony Danza's lap with her hands up his housekeeper's apron, pashing him madly, while the horrified blonde mother and the dorky son are screaming, "YOU CAN'T DO THAT! HE'S YOUR FATHER! IT DOESN'T MATTER THAT IT WAS JUST ON TELEVISION!"
Hell #2 – GYM HELL
When I wake, and realise I was dreaming about Who's The bloody Boss, for goodness sake, I sit bolt upright very suddenly. This is when my body screams in protest. The Morning After Gym pain had kicked in. That's the funny thing about the gym, while you there you can fling yourself around and get gloriously sweaty and say "I Am INVINCIBLE!". You are da bomb. It's not until the next day you realise what you really are is da big unfit lump of unfitness.
Tuesday night, I was in one of my all-conquering moods when this sleek, toned, ponytailed goddess comes in. Let's call her Ponytail Bitch (PB). She is wearing an Outfit™. Anyone who goes to the gym in an Outfit™ is a Bitch in my book, because this means they are of superior fitness and coordination to me. And one only invests money in a proper coordinating Outfit™ if one thinks one is spectacular-looking and a supreme temple of fitness. So unless you wear Target trackies and ratty t-shirt circa 1987, I most likely Hate You™.
So there she is, PB, fanging along on the crosstrainer machine with her Outfit™ and her pristine ponytail swishing back and forth so smugly. After forty minutes of precise sweating, she sashays over to the weights section where I am picking my undies out of my butt and contemplating the universe.
This girl is about half my height and about as wide as a pencil, but she could bench press Afghanistan. She hops on the machine that I was just contemplating hopping on, and sticks the pin on some impossibly high setting. She tosses her hair back and starts pumping away as if it's a box of feathers.
"You smug, athletic little bitch," I fume silently.
She finishes and hops off the machine with a flick of the ponytail, and nods to me, as if to say, "Yes, dumpy mortal, you have my permission to use this equipment now."
So on I hop, completely forgetting to change the setting back to Weakling. With a Monica Seles-esque "oooomph!" I realise my mistake.
But! I would not give PB the satisfaction of stopping and admitting my lack of strength. So I continue my set, and discover that I am perhaps not such a weakling after all! I am really doing this! Adrenaline is coursing through my veins! My braincells are humming, "You Are INVINCIBLE!"
I am a supastar. I fly through the other machines on her supastar settings. I can tell she is surprised. I saunter all the way home and tell my sister before I collapse into bed, "I am invi-fucking-INCIBLE!"
Yesterday morning there was a wee twinge here and there, nothing to hold me back. Then last night was Fitball class, a jolly hour of bouncing around on a giant rubber ball, rolling and lifting and squatting and contorting, it's a great laugh and not too crippling. INVINCIBLE!
But pain is a funny thing, it doesn't always grab you at first, it swims around in your body, gathering momentum, building armies and forming strategic alliances, until POUNCE! You wake up and every muscle is screaming. I try to roll over but my legs are uncooperative. I try to sit up but my back says, "Nah, sorry." I can see PB and her nasty little ponytail mocking me, "INVINCIBLE? I don't think so!"
Hell #3 – WOMB HELL
When I wake, I discover that there is some sort of International Drummer's Convention taking place inside my womb. Or so it feels. My skin feels stretched taut like a big bass drum and I am being assaulted by dozens of those heavy hammers…. BOOM BOOM DA DA BOOM BOOM DA DA BOOM BOOM! Over and over and over.
"SHUT UP!" I yell at my stomach. "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SHUT UP!" It does not shut up.
Hell #4 – MARIAH HELL
When I wake, my fading dream has a soundtrack. My dreams always have soundtracks and they're always the crap $2.99 in the bargain bin kind of soundtracks. This one is a medley of Mariah Carey songs, worse still, it's limited to the excruciatingly high bits, the bits where she's not singing any words, just driving her voice higher and higher with that annoying EEEII EIII EIII EIII sound, until glass shatters, milk turns sour, passers-by spontaneously combust.
I pound my head on the bed to try and drive her voice away. Soon enough the dream falls out of my brain but the Voice of Evil remains. So there I lay, my stomach being gnawed by pirahanas, my muscles whining, Mariah screeching. I manage to extract myself from the bed, crawl out of my room and onto the landing, make my way down the stairs by sliding on my butt, one step at a time. Finally I sprawl out on the coolness of the kitchen floor, face smushed up against the lino, moaning like a harpooned sea lion.
And then, a few hours later, I come to my senses. I find some Nurofen, I eat my brekkie, I rush to work, and I am a new woman. What did I tell you? INVINCIBLE.