Sunday, February 03, 2008

It's all "good."

I am sure many people have thought of this while treadmilling or stairstepping at the gym: "Here I am exerting myself, burning calories, moving objects (i.e. rubber-covered foot platforms) 'round and 'round in the material world; why can't my efforts be used to supplement energy sources like oil, coal, water power or nuclear power? If not for the benefit of others, then at least for the benefit of myself!"

Well, this just doesn't seem to be a huge concern or interest. Here's a company looking for ideas, but if anyone's submitted any, there's no evidence. I did find plans for a bicycle-powered washing machine that I would construct IMMEDIATELY if my "utility room" weren't so danged small.

I expend too much energy at the gym. It's part of my mental health program, but that's of little concern to most people. Lately I've been listening to English literature lectures on a used iPod. I can only do this for about half an hour, because my concentration tends to dissolve after that. One of the great things about aerobic activity, for me, is that my concentration DOES dissolve, and I tend not to care because I'm doing something "good" anyway. And yet, I could do something equally mindless and "good" by staying home and strenuously cleaning something. What's the diff?

The difference is repetition. I think I'm a closet autistic. I enjoy repetitive motion way too much. I find it soothing and redemptive. Although I am not completely lulled. I enjoy spewing some attention on the way my legs or feet or hips feel; on whether or not I'm having to exert more effort than the day before; and on what could possibly have affected that. My bad day at work? My not-so-healthy breakfast? My waking up several times the night before to let the cats in and out? My own body has become an endless source of fascination now that it's on the verge of becoming eccentric in its operation (intermittently dysfunctional). I am a baby-boomer, after all.

But, back to the ENERGY issue. Why is there not readily-available, battery-charging home exercise equipment? And more pertinent, why is there not this kind of equipment in public gymnasiums? Couldn't the gyms offer a menu of charitable causes for which their patrons could productively and directly ellipticize or stairstep? I would love to exert myself for utilities payments for the elderly; after all, I might be one soon.

And so the gym continues to be an invitation to iPod-enhanced solipsism, either via Teaching Company lectures or what passes for music these days (I can only imagine, not having downloaded any). But temporary (and possibly therapeutic) retreat into a world of one's own is NOT incompatible with generating energy as a by-product! I see fraternity/sorority energyraisers! I see tax deductions! I see measuring one's daily exercise "achievement" in terms of what one has done for the energy crisis, especially one's OWN energy crisis (on whatever level that can be interpreted).

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