Wish You Were Here: Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First — It Comes with the Gym Membership

cabin oxygen mask drop from the cabin ceiling

I don’t enjoy flying.

So I guess it’s a good thing I have neither the time nor the money to travel anywhere other than in my car around Wilton, which, given the current cost of gas, might do as much damage as a flight to Disney. This was in fact the destination of our last airline excursion (seven years ago) and despite throwing up an expired, somewhat stale tuna fish sandwich all over that tiny little closet they call a bathroom, I truthfully don’t remember much … about the flight anyway.

It was pretty uneventful as far as rides in the sky go. You know … take a seat, buckle up, try not to think about your life flashing before you all while silently cursing yourself for not popping that second Xanax prior to the whole, “Make way for the lifeboats, mask up first, mama” spiel.

In fairness, I’ve never been good at this — not the Xanax popping, that I’ve got down — but the oxygenation prioritization business. Because when it comes to looking out for number one, let’s just say I’m usually on standby, watching all the other planes take off, wishing I’d married a pilot. (Not really).

So it’s mostly fitting, I guess, that I’m gasping for air now, wishing I had just kept my stupid mouth shut and not complained very loudly to anyone who might listen (i.e. my poor husband) that sequestering myself in the shower, singing “Me and Bobby McGee” while scrubbing down six months (I’m being generous here) of soap scum doesn’t exactly qualify as “me” time.

The problem is, I’m not sure exactly what constitutes self-care anymore, for me at least … aside from that second Xanax maybe or third glass of wine. But I’m relatively sure it doesn’t involve weights or rope or perspiration.

It’s been six minutes. On the dot. Believe me, I’m counting down the minutes and wishing I’d opted for a manicure or latte or something other than trying to adjust the seat on this recumbent bike in the dark at the Comstock workout room because the lights keep going out and I’m not really sure how to use the treadmill.

There are these things that happen right around Thanksgiving every year. They’re called ‘school calendar half-days.’ Every November they occur and every year I’m as blindsided as the sight of my thighs in a full-length mirror. Half days, like toys with blinking lights and repetitive noises along with assembly-required items and Barbie doll shoes, were made to torture parents. Period.

This, in part, is the reason I’m sweating in places I shouldn’t be sweating, looking for ways to distract myself and hoping against all odds that no one I know will walk in and witness my interpretation of an elliptical.

My time exercising is meant to be relaxing, rejuvenating, rewarding. I get it. If only the anticipation of even less available self-preservation time weren’t already leaving me with a dull headache, binge eating something highly caloric and rich in preservatives (yes, while on the elliptical) in sheer preparation for half-days on Nov. 18, 19, 22, and 23, — and, oh look … no school on the 24th either and then Thanksgiving and before you know it, it’ll be Winter Break and … (breathe)

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I love spending time with them. I just sometimes wish I could spend time with myself, alone, on a deserted beach with no exercise equipment or blinking light toys or someone asking me the square root of something that looks like a circle.

Despite all of this, I know that if I don’t just bite the bullet and sign up for a one-month gym membership, which in fairness is like the cost of two lattes, I will have nowhere to physically escape to, other than the shower. And while feeling good is (usually) good enough for me, I’m kinda tired of being at war with my thighs, my ass … generally everything south of my neck.

Call me selfish. Call it preemptive. Call NBC News because I’m going to the gym to hide from my children. Take a seat, and buckle up, we’re all out of Xanax.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.