The nothingness of the gym . . . (episode 63)

image by 'gameanna'

image by ‘gameanna’

May 10 1999

3A Hyde Park Terrace

Dear Mum

Thank you for your last two missives – especially the last one – which was hilarious! Bunny certainly sounds imaginative . . . And as for the other matter, I don’t think you are the sort of woman ever to get – never mind succumb to – any form of malignancy! How did it all go at the scanning centre anyway?

I myself have been trying to deal with a combination of mental torpor, mental torture, and – indeed – hope.

The torpor has derived from my attempts to use the local gym – euphemistically named ‘Paradise Sweats.’ This private premises charges a quite exorbitant sum for access to its aerobic step machines (with pedals); treadmills, rowing simulators and the like. I have gazed around me, clad in my Hawaiian cotton shorts and black vest, only to see some tens of more competent, not to mention more enthusiastic, individuals pounding away. I just don’t get it Mum. What is the point? There is no end product at the end of it – nothing created at all – only an unending vista of greyness, plastic, and metal. It feels, to me, like the ultimate void. I would infinitely prefer to be seated, as I am now, in the wood and leather surrounds of a Knightsbridge coffee shop – supping upon a cappuccino.

I shouldn’t actually still be calling you ‘Mum,’ Mum. My Decree Absolute came through last week, finally – and utterly – severing my legal connection to your son, Austen. I have not physically seen this unspeakable individual since my return from Cuba (some four months ago). However, I have been in receipt of roughly weekly anonymous telephone calls on a phone so old that virtually no-one else uses it. I think this may be said Austen and, initially, I was quite troubled by them but – as the months go on – I just sigh and wonder at the point . . . I suppose – as someone who likes to have it ‘My Way or No Way’ – he could be irked that I managed to retain ownership of the house (and possession of my money)! Or, indeed, he could be attempting to convey that his sexual congress with the ‘cute stenographer’ is still continuing. But who cares Mum. It is she who is shackled to this albatross and not me! Not me, any more.

I am generally walking about feeling considerably more light of heart than I remember feeling for years. I even have plans to attend a Notting Hill ‘Flower Arrangers’ Club’ and am already accumulating stiff foam bases, jugs, vases, and wire. I am a little diffident about my skills in this arena I must say. Suppose I am only able to mount a fallen little daisy on its mount? And feel unable to choose an appropriate leafy backdrop . . .

Love as ever Mum



One thought on “The nothingness of the gym . . . (episode 63)

  1. josna

    Hooray! Harriet’s back in action–and in fine form. Her description of the gym is priceless. “. . . only an unending vista of greyness, plastic, and metal. It feels, to me, like the ultimate void.”


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